And that’s a wrap! The first ever ICF SUP World Championships are complete, and what an awesome few days of racing it’s been. You can relive all the action with full replays of the daily live streams (you can also re-watch every race on the SUP Racer Facebook page). → READ MORE
Connor Baxter has cemented his name as the greatest of all time after claiming sprint gold on day two of the ICF Worlds in a record time of 0:46.38.
Connor held off Italian ace Claudio Nika, Brazilian favourite Arthur Santacreu and half a dozen impressive darkhorses from the canoe world to win the world title in what is surely the fastest time ever recorded over 200 metres. → READ MORE
In brief: Aussie powerhouse Michael Booth has proven yet again he’s the strongest distance paddler on the planet by claiming an historic gold medal on day one of the ICF Worlds in China. Boothy was just a little too good for Bruno and Daniel Hasulyo who stuck with the world champ right until the final kilometre before settling for silver and bronze.
The women’s marathon became a two-horse race after Sonni Honschei and Olivia Piana broke free from Fiona Wylde and Susak Molinero after the first of three 6km laps. Sonni showed why she’s considered the strongest woman on the water by leading for almost the entire second half of the race before powering clear to win by a minute. → READ MORE
Welcome to China.
There’s been a lot of buzz around the ICF Worlds for a variety of reasons. So after arriving in Qingdao yesterday, and in the face of seemingly-insurmountable jetlag, I’m going to try to share my “first impressions” of this event, talk about what I got wrong in my earlier posts, plus tell you when and where you can watch the live stream that I’ll be hosting with Kelly Margetts.
My first impression is fairly simple: The inaugural ICF SUP World Championships are legit. This is shaping up to be a big event with a huge crew working behind-the-scenes to make it run smoothly. We’re still 48 hours from the first race, so we’ll reserve final judgement until after the weekend, but so far so good. → READ MORE
The “Danish Viking” Casper Steinfath has defended his Red Bull Heavy Water title in San Francisco today after surviving what is surely the gnarliest and most chaotic race the sport has ever seen.
The event certainly lived up to its name as the small but highly-elite band of competitors battled stiff headwind, strong ocean currents and 6-8ft waves. But the biggest obstacle was the fog, which rolled in mid-race and reduced visibility at the Ocean Beach finish line to virtually zero.
The athletes couldn’t even see the beach when they were turning the first outside buoy, nervously paddling like “gorillas in the mist” through one of the heaviest surf breaks in California. → READ MORE
Remember that whole political saga surrounding the fight to get SUP into the Olympics? The one between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and International Canoe Federation (ICF) over who has “control” of Olympic paddleboarding?
The one I referred to last year as the selfish parents debate — a story that even made the New York Times (as well as some great April Fool’s joke material).
Paddletics. → READ MORE
Seems like it’s the month for paddletics.
First I posted about the ISA’s last-minute decision to host a World Championship in El Salvador next month, a move that left many paddlers scratching their heads. Then just last week it was revealed that several top athletes would be competing at the inaugural ICF Worlds in China. Oh and the whole political shit-fight apparently had its day in court in Switzerland recently.
Now we get to hear some unfiltered views from a couple of the top athletes about the whole idea of paddleboarding in the Olympics and which federation would best serve the sport. Connor Baxter and Zane Schweitzer chatted with Mike Jucker from Stand Up Magazin on Maui recently. Mike has been pushing this debate forward better than just about anyone, and he always tries to get an unbiased look at what’s happening.
The entire video is well worth a watch but if you want the quick summary: The paddlers think both federations need to lift their game.
In brief: The big-wave
destruction derby race known as ‘Red Bull Heavy Water’ has been called on for this Friday, October 18 after conditions were deemed gnarly enough to run what is arguably the most extreme event in the sport.
A few dozen bold paddlers will take to the waters off San Francisco’s Ocean Beach for an event that is part-race, part-battle for survival in a quest for a share of the $75k prize purse.
Such a record-level of prize money is sure to attract plenty of top talent, led by defending champ Casper Steinfath and for the first time also including female paddlers after last year’s “Paddle for Equality” protest.
The race is set for 10am Friday California time so look for updates and results on Friday afternoon.
As soon as the International Canoe Federation (ICF) announced it would be hosting a SUP World Championship in China this year, the messages started hitting my inbox.
“Who’s going?” “You reckon everyone will support it?” “Is such and such racing?” “Should I go?”
While running a successful SUP race involves far more than simply attracting a few big names, it certainly is one of the easier metrics to gauge interest in an event–especially when that event is billed as a “world championship.”
With the inaugural ICF Worlds just 10 days away (Oct 25-27), we can finally start to answer that question. As of last week, entries for the ICF SUP World Championships stood at 122 athletes from 35 nations. → READ MORE
While many of us got misty-eyed and nostalgic over the BOP anniversary last week, some might have been left wondering whether or not the SUP scene was still alive in Southern California. While there are still a string of local events, we haven’t heard much out of Dana Point — the “spiritual home” of the sport since 2008 — after the BOP’s successor the Pacific Paddle Games was put on ice earlier this year.
But Dana Point ain’t done yet, and neither are many of the original paddlers that helped light the flame over a decade ago. → READ MORE