Annabel Anderson is one of the fastest SUP racers in the world. The New Zealander had an amazing 2012, winning pretty much every race she entered; not only against other women but often against the guys as well.
Besides dominating the Stand Up World Series (including a triump over most of France’s top men), by far the biggest result of Annabel’s year was the 2012 Battle of the Paddle in California. Annabel Anderson absolutely dominated the 2012 BoP, mirroring Danny Ching’s performance by winning both the Elite Race and the Distance Race. The tenacious Kiwi overcame injuries, crazy travel schedules and the previously undisputed Battle Queen to win both races by very convincing margins.
Now that 2012 has come to a close, Annabel has had time to reflect on a stellar year that saw her rise to the top of the SUP racing world, giving SUPracer.com an exclusive highlight reel of her year. Training, travelling, surfing, sailing, and of course, racing on her Stand Up Paddle board all around the world… In her own words, this is Annabel Anderson’s 2012.
Annabel Anderson’s 2012 Highlights
Click any image below to start the awesome full-screen slideshow
2012: Twelve months ago I was asking myself what I really wanted to achieve in the year ahead. Sitting at home in Lake Wanaka looking out across the lake at the mountains I searched for the answers. The only answer that came, was that I was going to have to *commit* whole heartedly to bring those dreams to reality. This is the shot for me that sums up *commit*. No turning back, boots & all…..I’d leave Bali with some permanent reminders, you can call them the scars of *commitment*.
FEBRUARY: NZ is home to some of the most stunning scenery you will find anywhere in the world. I was lucky enough to spend a few days exploring and shooting in the mountains & fjords of South Westland. The images have since gone around the world, spreading beauty of NZ far and wide.
MARCH: I jokingly refer to Auckland’s 16 week State Beach Series as the ‘Tuesday Night World Champs’. Close to 100 on the start line for a 3k course every week. There’s carnage at ever turn, jostling for position, they’ll put us out in any weather – it’s racing Kiwi style and it’s like the last weekend of September on Doheny State Beach every week. Battle training anyone?
MARCH: Getting ready for the start of the New Zealand’s King of the Harbour race, a 25k downwind event from Waiheke Island back to the Auckland City. Little did I know that a couple of hours later, I was starting to pave the way for the results of the year ahead.
MARCH: The half way mark of the King of the Harbour passing Rangitoto Island behind me. I was starting to open up a small gap on the men by this stage and taking a different line. The hours of time I had spent on this stretch of water were starting to play in my favor.
MARCH: For 10 years, the Volvo Ocean Race had bypassed NZ, opting to stopover in other parts of the world. 2012 would see the fleet arrive in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour to festival & fanfare. For one week, the City of Sails showcased it’s maritime heritage to the world. Being a part of the PUMA SUP Experience was a marriage of both my loves of ocean sports.
MARCH: NZ is home to some famous lefts. Here’s one of them in the far north, Super Tubes, Ahipara.
APRIL: A sprint for the line with NZ Men’s Champ (and NZ Young Sailor of the Year) Markus Hansen. It’s always a game of cat & mouse, this race I got the luck of the waves.
APRIL: The NZ SUP Championships combined the King of the Harbour 25km downwind race on Day 1 followed by round robin knockout beach racing at Takapuna Beach in 20knot onshore breezes on Day 2. Over the course of the weekend, I’d go onto beat the boys I’d been chasing all season and sign off on the kiwi summer.
APRIL: Post race media interviews following my overall win at Auckland’s King of the Harbour.
MAY: Hanging out Sanur-style after some fun waves on the reef with the Surf Haven Bali & Rip Curl Surf School crews.
MAY: Getting to and from the beach Bali-style was almost as much fun as the waves.
MAY: I got plenty of strange looks from the local Balinese, but the unorthodox training location paid off. It set up the foundation for one of my most memorable events of the year – my win at the Stand Up World Series in Oleron France a couple of weeks later.
MAY: Reef Surfing in Sanur, Bali made for some fun training.
MAY: Bali was close to training paradise.
MAY: A chance opportunity to head to Bali saw wave after perfect wave in warm water as the temps started to cool down under in NZ. It was the wave time I was hankering for….and Indonesia delivered.
MAY: Long board and SUP paradise. Another perfectly formed Canngu left hander to start the day.
MAY: Warm water, perfect waves. Every day. Bali 2013 anyone?
JUNE: A last minute decision to head to Oleron, France for the Stand Up World Series saw my 6 minute victory over the men hit the headlines of the French newspapers. ‘Disbelief’ was about the only word I could think of to describe the race after coming straight off a 30 hour journey to get there.
JUNE: Oleron, France… limbering up with my game face on.
JUNE: A free day before the Chicago round of the Stand Up World Series saw me head north to Milwaukee to cheer on some fellow kiwi sailors….and get on the water to sail out and watch the start.
AUGUST: The beauty of SUP is the places that it takes you. Countless sunsets as the sun fades into the horizon, ready to rise on the other side of the world. Here’s a special moment saying good bye to another magic day on Oahu, Hawaii.
AUGUST: An often asked question is what I do for training or how I train. Traveling for many months of the year means the need to get creative to get the job done. Yoga has played a major part of my life ever since I broke my leg badly at 17. It still is and it’s something I can do almost anywhere I go.
AUGUST: New York, New York. Two years in a row of chasing Rob Rojas to the finish. An amazing event, a great cause and still what I would call the toughest event on the calendar. Extreme conditions confronted the starters in 2012 and it was an incredible sight to witness the true heroes of the event – the warriors of the water who were out there for close to 8 hours battling rapids, wind and against the tide finish and collapse in the arms of their families and supporters. There are no personal escort boats, you have to carry everything with you, the heat and humidity is pounding. It’s a test of mental fortitude and it’s on par, if not harder than Molokai. I’m sure a lot of finishers from 2012 will more than agree.
AUGUST: NYC SEA Paddle and it’s another reunion with ‘da Action man’. Brian Talma, it’s always a pleasure to catch up.
AUGUST: One of my favourite events of the past two years has been the NYC SEA Paddle , the 26.5 mile race around Manhattan Island at the height of summer. One of the most amazing things about this event is the magical white cocktail after party. A celebration of the funds raised and the incredible weekend warriors who challenge themselves to complete the event. For the uninitiated, this is one of the toughest events you will ever do, period. A true marathon, carrying all your personal provisions, navigating the Hudson & East Rivers as well as the rapids of Hell’s Gate. It’s a bucket list event and an event that has connected me to an amazing kiwi running the finest SUP shop on the East Coast, Kim Beaumont of the Downunder Surf Shop in Connecticut.
AUGUST: Paddle For Humanity in Washington DC with the Infinity lads. Always a good time when Dave & Slater are around to spar with.
AUGUST: Following the amazing Waterman’s Paddle for Humanity event in the heart of America’s political capital, I was lucky enough to hang around for a couple of extra days. A chance sighting of a boat making the most of the upper reaches of the Potomac River on a hot summer’s day was too good to be true while out training. A wave, a hola and all of a sudden I’m back doing one of my childhood passions, tearing it up on a slalom ski.
SEPTEMBER: The Stand Up World Series would redefine what it meant to be an event director. The common theme for the World Series was that there would always be some form of ‘extreme’ weather to challenge the athletes as Mother Nature laid down the best she had to offer. Cocoa Beach, Fl would prove no different. The biggest swell in 44 years would greet us and half the field would not make it out to the start line. It was touch and go, and at a couple of points I thought I would be one of the casualties. I made it, minus a visor and some sunglasses (offers for an optics sponsor are still out ;)….I’d make top 10 and in the words of Slater Trout ‘I was scared to come back in’ or Connor Baxter’s comment of ‘Victory at Sea’, it was another day on the ocean (8′ plus sets optional…). Words of advice for 2013…..be prepared.
SEPTEMBER: To be nominated for the SUP The Mag SUP Awards was a privilege. To make the final 5 as a non-American was a stake in the ground for the ‘outsiders’ of what has truly become a global sport and a little bit of what is to come.
SEPTEMBER: A year ago it had been a dream. In 2012 it became reality. I’d won the Battle of the Paddle. Against the odds, a torn MCL, broken ribs and the fastest women in the world, I was able to execute my race plan to perfection and come out with the ultimate result. The hours, the preparation, the sacrifices and the pain had all of a sudden paid off.
SEPTEMBER: Battle of the Paddle – flag in hand. Likely the best moment of 2012.
SEPTEMBER: Handed the NZ flag as I ran up the chute to the finish on Doheny State Beach was a special moment. All of a sudden, NZ was on the international SUP map.
SEPTEMBER: My journeys connect and bring me in touch with many incredible people. One such family are the Smiths from Hermosa Beach, Ca. Home of Tarsan’s SUP Shop & my Cali family. Never short on stories, never short on laughs, spreading some spirit, stoke & aloha to all. It’s chicken soup for the soul whenever you’re there.
OCTOBER: Stand Up World Series Finals, Turtle Bay and smarts & technicality came into play. Lucking out on waves from out the back meant having to pick the treacherous inside line beside the rocks. I’d watch the waves for hours and it came in handy when it mattered.
OCTOBER: As my US campaign was coming to an end, there was one final hurdle to negotiate, the Stand Up World Series Finals at Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaii. It would be the toughest event of 2012 at the end of a long stretch of competition. As the stops of Namotu, Oleron, Chicago, Turtle Bay and Cocoa Beach culminated in Finals at Turtle Bay a windless distance race and the residue of the first winter swells would provide the ultimate test. The World Series would set the bench mark for what athletes would be expected to do and helped put the sport of SUP racing on the international sporting map reaching millions of people across many countries in the process. To be crowned World Champion alongside wonder kid of the water Kai Lenny, the icing on the cake.
OCTOBER: Auckland’s America’s Cup heritage has had a major come back with Emirates Team NZ and Luna Rossa both basing and building their AC72 motherships in town. I was lucky enough to coincide a week back in Auckland with the launch of Luna Rossa’s AC72. The metallic shiny hulls will no doubt blind some of the opposition and I’m sure the Auckland City Council will have to reallocate some fiscal budgets to match the fire works put on by the Italians. Seeing these boats out on the water while I’ve been out on the harbour day in, day out has been a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. Bring on San Francisco Bay. The world is in for a show.
OCTOBER: As the New Zealand Herald put it ‘our latest World Champion on the water’ and a moment for the sport of SUP to be lit up in lights alongside the mainstream.
NOVEMBER: Rockyman Rio, a celebration of all that Rio de Janeiro has to offer. 20 teams, 5 international invitationals, 6 sports, multiple world champions & Olympians in the mix and you have 11 hours of sport and adventure at its best. Go Revista Outside Magazine – thank you so much for the opportunity.
NOVEMBER: Rockyman Rio and even the briefing is done with a translation. If not one of the most epic sporting events I have ever been a part of.
NOVEMBER: Rockyman Rio and while the SUP section may have been short, it was fast and furious and on the same stretch of water that will be the venue for the rowing, kayaking and open water swim disciplines of the 2016 Rio Olympics. With a pontoon dismount, it required a rather technical dismount for the sprint up the blue carpet.
NOVEMBER: It’s summer time in NZ and you’ve got to love it when a shop gets inventive with their modes of transport to get people on the water. Welcome to the SUP Centre Tuktuk. Seats 7….including boards. It’s all about the journey, not the destination right?
DECEMBER: This incredible image of Graeme Murray shot early morning at Matapouri on Northland’s Tutukaka Coast would go on to grace the cover of Adventure Magazine as well as feature in several magazine spreads.
DECEMBER: Summer time in Auckland is synonymous with sailing. Any chance to get out and play on the water is a good one, especially on one of the many multihulls that is turning Auckland into the multihull capital of the world at present. Flying 20 foot off the water hooning down the harbour in a stiff sea breeze. It’s city living at its finest and yes, it’s all about playing on your doorstep.
DECEMBER: I’ve had the privilege of writing for many magazines over the past two years. Here was a chance to showcase the many faces of SUP to the uninitiated.
DECEMBER: The Christmas edition of Adventure Mag and an amazing cover to celebrate an incredible year.