Behind the Rankings: The ‘King’ and ‘Queen of Europe’ – who are the best European paddlers *in* Europe? 🤔

 

Who were the best-performing European paddlers in Europe during season 2019?

Given that Europe is now the epicentre of our sport, and considering it produces about half of the world’s best athletes, I thought it might be fun and interesting to analyse which Euro paddlers ranked highest at their “home” events.

So I’ve taken the World Rankings, trimmed all the non-European athletes and races, and come up with a new leaderboard to determine the “King” and “Queen of Europe”.

Note: This is a one-off, specialty leaderboard for now, but if there’s enough interest I’ll keep it running all year. And either way, there’s so much data in the SUP Racer World Rankings system that I’ll definitely make this kind of thing a regular feature — “Behind the Rankings” perhaps we can call it — studying the stats and finding hidden stories behind the numbers. The “FiveThirtyEight” of SUP 😉

Criteria for the European Rankings differs to the World Rankings:

#1: only events within Europe are counted
#2: only athletes from Europe are included
#3: every result counts (not just “Best 5”)

The first two are obvious but #3 was added to reward the paddlers who are dedicated to Europe. The athletes that race regularly at home but perhaps don’t get the opportunity to compete at the majors in Asia and America. I feel they should be rewarded for their commitment, and the best way to do that is count every result.

The SUP Racer World Rankings included 41 European events in 2019 from the various tours and federations (17 events promoted by The Euro Tour, 13 from The Paddle League plus the APP in London and a handful of national titles and independent events). That number will probably double in 2020 as we add a few new Regional Paddle Leagues and more national titles to the rankings system.

Note: Tahitian events Tahitian athletes – who hold French passports – aren’t included because they’re so geographically distant (and I mean this out of respect — i.e. Tahiti is culturally independent from Europe despite being part of France). The two New Caledonian island athletes (Titou and Noic) are in a similar position but they were included in this list only because they actively represent Team France.

 


 

KING OF EUROPE

Titouan Puyo is the King of Europe.

In an announcement that will shock absolutely nobody, Titou was best-performing European athlete in Europe in 2019. The Frenchman (“New Caledonian” but he competes for France and spends half his year there) scored a combined 374 points from 8 races.

Titou has long been seen as the number one in Europe though he has plenty of competition these days especially from his compatriots. The humble, silky-smooth champion is probably the best paddler never to have been ranked number one in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing if Titou can find that extra half a percent and challenge Boothy for the top spot this year, but until then he at least sits atop the “Europeans in Europe” leaderboard.

(Though in case you’re wondering: Boothy still would have been number one even in Europe; Ty Judson at #6 and Vinni at #10 were the best of the rest of the foreigners in Europe.)

Despite being above Titou on the world rankings, Bruno drops to number three when we condense the season into a single continent. Bruno picked up a lot of points in China, and despite winning the biggest race of the year in Europe (Bilbao) he couldn’t hold off the French on this specialty leaderboard.

The big Euro movers are Tom Auber and Ludovic Teulade — two guys who I think got under-ranked on the SUP Racer World Rankings. Tom jumps 14 places above his world ranking to #2 in Europe, while Ludo is +13 at #4. These guys were the two most-regular competitors, which certainly helps on a specialty leaderboard that counts all results, but they also both deserve a top five ranking after showing time and again that they’re world-class competitors.

Tom Auber was leading the 2019 GlaGla Race – the first big event of the season – before Ludovic Teulade (far right) surged and claimed victory

The French duo are joined in the top 10 by compatriots Arthur Arutkin, Martin Vitry and Noic Garioud. Incredibly, France holds five of the top six spots to cement their reputation as the powerhouse of European paddling.

Long-time Euro contender Leo Nika jumps from outside the world’s top 20 to inside Europe’s top 10 after a big season at home. Italy holds three of the top 10 spots, meaning Bruno (Hungary) is the only non-French, non-Italian paddler to make the top 10.

The junior chargers Noic Garioud, Christian “Polar Bear” Andersen and Marius Auber (the younger brother of Tom) all cracked the top 15 despite not even being old enough to celebrate a race win with a beer (at least not in Australia or America; Europe is fortunately a little more relaxed).

I really feel we’re on the cusp of a new generation starting to flex their muscles in our sport, and I’m pretty sure the European lads will be leading the way.

Only two guys actually slid down the leaderboard when comparing the World and European Rankings. Daniel Hasulyo is an easy one to explain — he’s based in Thailand and mainly raced in Asia in 2019, while Casper Steinfath hardly raced at all and picked up a lot of his points in Japan and the USA.

Ten different nations were represented in the “Euro Top 40” despite the dominance of the French (15/40) including Oleksii Sidenko from Ukraine in 39th position (+44 against his world ranking). Scroll down for a “Battle of Europe” nations leaderboard.
 
KING OF EUROPE: TOP 40
+/- is the difference between world and European ranking

#+/-AthleteTotalRacesNationDivision
1+3Titouan Puyo374.258FranceOpen
2+14Tom Auber343.4115FranceOpen
3-Bruno Hasulyo311.169HungaryOpen
4+13Ludovic Teulade294.9214FranceOpen
5+1Arthur Arutkin256.269FranceOpen
6+9Martin Vitry238.3811FranceOpen
7+4Claudio Nika176.3810ItalyOpen
8+14Leonard Nika157.268ItalyOpen
9+4Noic Garioud153.807FranceJunior
10+21Paolo Marconi149.4611ItalyOpen
11+30Boris Jinveresse143.4513FranceOpen
12+12Christian Andersen106.288DenmarkJunior
13+25Giordano Bruno Capparella99.017ItalyOpen
14+35Marius Auber87.499FranceJunior
15+21Normen Weber86.227GermanyOpen
16+26Martino Rogai78.316ItalyOpen
17+47Jeremy Teulade76.308FranceOpen
18-8Casper Steinfath75.633DenmarkOpen
19+43Samuel Carbillet74.689FranceOpen
20+15Martin Letourneur70.275FranceOpen
21+27Federico Esposito67.535ItalyOpen
22-10Daniel Hasulyo67.083HungaryOpen
23+20Joep van Bakel63.205NetherlandsOpen
24+30Kjell de Bruyn55.237BelgiumOpen
25+51Ricardo Haverschmidt47.979NetherlandsOpen
26+29Olivier Darrieumerlou47.609FranceMaster
27+34Nikos Syrigos47.022GreeceOpen
28+23Rafael Sirvent46.605SpainOpen
29+29Pablo Ania45.884SpainOpen
30+14Quique Hurtado45.604SpainOpen
31+43Davide Ionico45.066ItalyOpen
32+67Tomasso Pampinella42.938ItalyOpen
33+55Olivier Comazzi40.876FranceMaster
34+48Joseph Gueguen40.354FranceOpen
35+18Filippo Mercuriali35.013ItalyOpen
36+35Ole Schwarz32.474GermanyOpen
37+48Riccardo Rossi28.673ItalyJunior
38+57Miquel Roigé25.493SpainOpen
39+44Oleksii Sidenko25.473UkraineOpen
40+33Bart de Zwart25.002NetherlandsMaster

 


 

QUEEN OF EUROPE

Olivia Piana is the number one paddler everywhere (credit: @georgiasphoto/@paddleleague)

No surprises here: Olivia Piana is the Queen of the world and Europe. The Frenchwoman, who’s based in Portugal, claimed a string of victories including a win at the biggest race of the year (Bilbao). A lot of her points did come from the ICF Worlds in China, which are obviously excluded from this leaderboard, but her 2019 dominance was so deep that she still had 10 big European results for a combined total of 443 points.

But perhaps the biggest star of this one-off “European SUP Rankings” is Susak Molinero, who goes +4 all the way up to #2 following a big season at home. The Spaniard, who’s based in Italy, competed more than anyone else on this list (12x European appearances) and had better results than just about anyone else as well, regularly hitting the podium in what was a break-out season for the ever-smiling workhorse.

Amandine continues to rack up the points with seemingly-minimal effort. She doesn’t stand out like some of her peers, but Amandine is one of the most under-rated talents in the sport.

And once again, France dominated. Frenchwomen held three of the top spots courtesy of Olivia, Amandine and #5 Melanie Lafenetre. Fanny Tessier sits #7 just for good measure.

Susak Molinero’s big season earned her the title of European #2 (via @susakk)

But one of the brightest prospects sits at #4, Caterina Stenta. The Italian professional windsurfer decided midway through 2019 that she wanted to be a professional stand up paddler instead. If she sticks to that plan, I expect her to rise up into the top 10 on the world rankings in 2020 (she currently sits 14th).

The only woman to slide is world number four Sonni Honscheid, who picked up a big haul of points in China where she won the ICF marathon gold medal.

Seven junior women make the list and that number would have doubled if I’d gone down to 60th instead of stopping at 40. Spain is clearly leading the way in girls’ paddling, while Italy, France, Germany and the Czech Republic are all represented.

Foreign women were slightly less dominant in Europe than men — Fiona Wylde (#2), Seychelle (#8) and Yuka Sato (#17) would have been the best of the “outsiders” if I’d included non-Europeans on this specialty leaderboard.
 
QUEEN OF EUROPE: TOP 40
+/- is the difference between world and European ranking

#+/-AthleteTotalRacesNationDivision
1-Olivia Piana443.6810FranceOpen
2+4Susak Molinero361.8012SpainOpen
3+5Amandine Chazot322.9811FranceOpen
4+10Caterina Stenta248.9510ItalyOpen
5+14Melanie Lafenetre217.3410FranceOpen
6+1Espe Barreras199.507SpainOpen
7+13Fanny Tessier164.629FranceOpen
8+10Petronella van Malsen161.619NetherlandsOpen
9-5Sonni Hönscheid152.883GermanyOpen
10+3Laura Quetglas147.854SpainOpen
11+12Tanja Ecker124.718GermanyOpen
12+12Siri Schubert99.777SwitzerlandMaster
13+17Chiara Nordio85.745ItalyOpen
14+38Iva Dundová83.019CzechOpen
15+12Susanne Lier74.803GermanyOpen
16+21Ella Oesterholt70.714NetherlandsOpen
17+25Sheila Sirvent69.996SpainJunior
18+46Agathe Rodier63.017FranceOpen
19+30Noelani Sach62.734GermanyOpen
20+34Dori Báthori57.833HungaryOpen
21+13Laura dal Pont57.724ItalyJunior
22+37Linda Schwaiger55.484AustriaOpen
23+12Kristýna Babiánková53.315CzechJunior
24+41Marie Dautruche49.003FranceMaster
25+23Anaïs Guyomarch48.564FranceJunior
26+41Marie-Elphège Julienne46.954FranceMaster
27+50Lidvina Champendal-Stragiotti40.585SwitzerlandOpen
28+50Virginie Samson40.505FranceMaster
29+50Nuria Hurtado40.454SpainJunior
30+50Sara Oddera40.445ItalyOpen
31+9Konstantina Kontarini40.001GreeceOpen
32+49Barbara Grollimund39.795FranceOpen
33+49Emmanuelle Marcon39.545FranceOpen
34+21Duna Gordillo34.853SpainJunior
35+22Angela Fernandes34.112PortugalOpen
36+16Ginnie Betts32.903UKOpen
37+29Krisztina Zur32.501HungaryOpen
38+1Sandrine Berthe29.446FranceOpen
39+7Hannah Leni Krah21.882GermanyJunior
40+1Marie Buchanan20.001UKMaster

 


 

THE BATTLE OF EUROPE

#NationPointsAthletesAvg.
1France3747.4327138.79
2Italy1312.451493.75
3Spain1018.0010101.80
4Germany555.67779.38
5Hungary468.564117.14
6Netherlands368.48573.70
7Denmark181.91290.96
8Switzerland140.34270.17
9Czech136.32268.16
10Greece87.02243.51
11Austria55.48155.48
12UK52.90226.45
13Belgium55.23155.23
14Portugal34.11134.11
15Ukraine25.47125.47

 
Who were the top nations in Europe?

It won’t surprise you to reveal that France was a mile (or a kilometre) ahead. The Frenchies house five of the top six men and four of the top seven women. Ever since the good old days of Eric Terrien flying the flag, France has always been the paddling powerhouse of Europe and will likely hold top spot for years to come as Titou et al mature and the younger generation emerges.

But what’s really interesting is to watch the battle for second between Spain and Italy. The Italian guys roll deeper but the Spanish women are stronger. It’s a virtual tie at the moment.

I would have liked to analyse some of the smaller nations (the “minnows”) but I only decided to throw in a “Battle of Europe” nations leaderboard after I’d finished the leaderboards above, which only show the top 40 men and women. That’s a little unfair to the smaller nations who have several paddlers ranking down the order.

If I make the “European SUP Rankings” more than just a one-off feature (what do you think?) then I’ll figure out a way to add all European paddlers and all their European results (but that would be about 3000 paddlers by my estimate, so no promises…).

Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look “Behind the Rankings” — the next special feature will be the “B-Team World Rankings” where I analyse what would happen if each athlete could enter themselves twice 😉