The ‘kagu’ is a bird native to the islands of New Caledonia. Known as cagou in French and nicknamed the “ghost of the forest” due to its ash-white coat, it has become the symbol of the island’s sporting teams who often compete under the banner of ‘Les Cagous’ (“The Kagus”). It’s a somewhat ironic mascot though — the cagou is almost flightless, yet three of the island’s athletes have reached such great heights.
On a chilly Saturday in the French region of Creuse, on an artificial lake more than 200km from the nearest ocean, the New Caledonian trio of Noïc Garioud, Titouan Puyo and Clement Colmas finished 1, 2 and 3 at the French Distance Championships. The race was held 17,000 kilometres away from the postcard-perfect lagoon that surrounds the main island of New Caledonia (which is an overseas “collective territory” of France), but Les Cagous looked right at home on the water. → READ MORE
While much of the paddling world is still on event lockdown, Europe has been tentatively returning to the water over the past two months. We saw the 11-City Tour in almost all its glory last week, and every weekend there are race photos popping up on Instagram. But it seems the French have been more dedicated than most.
The Alpine Lakes Tour (home of the famous GlaGla Race) resumed two months ago and held another event in mid-August, before the country’s west coast saw four-straight weeks of solid racing that culminated with a classic hit-out in the surf on the weekend. The endless summer in France will continue on to the Fort Boyard Challenge next week followed by the Alpine Lakes hosting the flat-water French Championships on Lake Annecy (same spot as GlaGla) in October, the Corsica Paddle Trophy the week after that, a final Alpine event in November, and then, tentatively, the Paris Crossing in December. → READ MORE
Want to hear a scary statistic? The average age on the men’s podium in yesterday’s 12 Towers downwind event was 16 years, 4 months.
That’s an age when most kids are still a year away from graduating high school. An age when you’re not even supposed to drink, let alone win an international ocean race. This stat is all the more extraordinary given a) the mature level of talent that finished behind the top three, and b) that ocean racing requires endurance and experience — two things that often come with age.
But despite technically being classified as “boys,” Noic Garioud, Ty Judson and Shuri “Shrimpy” Araki paddled like men at this year’s 12 Towers Ocean Festival. Noic is just 17 years of age. Shrimpy is only 13. For some context: fourth-place James “Jimmy” Casey seems positively ancient at 28. → READ MORE
Noic “Chicken” Garioud and Karla Gilbert have claimed the 12 Towers ocean race in Australia today, with more than 150 paddlers enjoying a firing downwind run along Queensland’s famed Gold Coast to cap off a big weekend at Australia’s premiere paddling event.
Nobody got near Noic. The New Caledonian was in a league of his own. It was a masterclass. A clinic. A dominant performance from a 17-year-old athlete who shows maturity well beyond his years both on and off the water. Noic was reading the bumps so well that he probably took fewer paddle strokes than anyone else in the race. → READ MORE
Full replay of today’s big ocean downwind race in Australia, the “12 Towers”. Conditions were almost perfect with firing winds and beautiful downwind bumps for the approximately 13km course along Queensland’s Gold Coast.
(video not loading? watch the replay direct on Facebook)
New Caledonia’s 17-year-old superstar Noïc Garioud dropped by the Paddlecast studio for a chat while on holidays in Australia. We talked travel, training and why he stubbornly REFUSED to try stand up paddling in the early days. Plus: What it’s like to compete against guys like Boothy and Titou.
Noïc has quickly established himself as one of the best downwind paddlers on the planet, and last year he had some breakout performances on flat water to cement his position in the top tier of the sport — he ended 2019 as the world number one ranked junior. The Sunova team rider has a long career ahead of him and a wise head on his young shoulders.
I really enjoyed chatting with Noïc, and I’m looking forward to watching him and the downwind crew in action at the 12 Towers Ocean Festival from 6-8 March here on the Gold Coast of Australia (I’ll be livestreaming the whole weekend on The Paddle League). Follow @noicgarioud on Insta to keep up with his adventures.
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Listen above or click through to watch… → READ MORE
Connor Baxter and Fiona Wylde have made it a clean sweep for Team Starboard at the Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, Oregon today.
Fiona, the three-time defending champ, was once again unstoppable as her home course turned on the downwind conditions. Fiona’s fourth-straight DD crown cemented her reputation as not only the Queen of Hood River but also one of the most-talented bump-riders in the sport.
Click through for the full results… → READ MORE
Good morning, here’s the latest from the SUP world. → READ MORE
We sure had some fun at the Sunova dealer meeting in southern Thailand last month!
Is this the future of SUP racing? Hmm… 🤔
In brief: Sonni Honscheid has continued her unbeaten streak in season 2018 to five events after claiming the Kerama Blue Cup on Japan’s Zamami Island. Sonni was too strong yet again, however yesterday’s win wasn’t as dominant as her previous four after home nation hero Yuka Sato gave the German some serious competition.
Seychelle hung on against a fast-finishing Lina Augaitis to claim third step on the podium, while number two seed Fiona Wylde faded late to finish fifth. → READ MORE
There must be something in the water in New Caledonia.
The small, semi-autonomous Pacific island nation with a population of just 278000 (98.85% smaller than Australia’s) took home an incredible four of the top five men’s spots in yesterday’s Down Under Double Downwinder.
Inspired by their pioneering superstar Titouan Puyo, a new generation of New Caledonian paddlers are emerging on the international stage with under-18s Noic Garioud and Clement Colmas continuing their meteoric rises. → READ MORE
Titouan Puyo showed he’s still the king of New Caledonia, but there are no shortage of heirs apparent after the tiny Pacific island nation blew away the Aussies at the SUPs Down Under event on Queensland’s Gold Coast today.
New Caledonia took four of the top five spots in the men’s race, with Titou being joined by Noic Garioud (3rd), Clement Colmas (4th) and the new downwind dark horse (or “le cheval noir”) Ben Riviere. Only runner-up Lincoln Dews managed to get in between the “Cagous” and salvage some pride for the home team, while Angie Jackson took out the women’s ahead of her ONE team mate Kate Baker. → READ MORE
James “Jimmy” Casey has shown once again why he’s considered a world-class open ocean paddler, taking out ‘The Doctor’ race in Western Australia in record time today ahead of Jake Jensen and Michael Booth.
Jimmy’s victory adds to his impressive run of results in Hawaii earlier this season, where he scored victories at OluKai and Maliko plus a podium finish at M2M. The Sunova team rider didn’t have it all his own way today though — he hit the beach just a minute clear of Jake, while Michael Booth was close all day to finish just another two minutes adrift.
All three of the boys finished under the magic two hour barrier. → READ MORE
The tiny Pacific island of New Caledonia has another stand up star, with 15-year-old sensation Noic Garioud becoming French Downwind Champion after claiming the 14′ national titles last weekend–an event where his mentor and fellow New Caledonian Titouan Puyo was the defending champion.
Noic finished ahead of New Cal compatriot and another name-to-watch Clément Colmas at the double downwind-style event held in the north-western region of Crozon, while the continental Frenchies were left to battle it out for the minor placings. → READ MORE
Jake Jensen has taken out the 6th Annual 12 Towers Ocean Race this afternoon, defeating Titouan Puyo, Michael Booth and Beau O’Brian in firing downwind conditions on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Paddling for the new ‘ONE’ race team, Jake stormed home to finish almost a minute clear of Titou (NSP), while Starboard teammates Boothy and Beau were locked in a near photo finish for third. The big surprise came from 14-year-old New Caledonian Noic Garioud, who out-shined several seasoned veterans to finish top five. → READ MORE