It was a great season opener in Spain but on the African continent. From the first time ever we had a EURO TOUR in the Spanish enclave across the strait of Gibraltar. Looking at the results it was very clear that this was a Spanish affair. The 2023 SUP Season opened with a bang for the “Spanish Armada” or “Tormenta Espagnol” like Matieu from Total SUP called it in 2021 at the ICF SUP Worlds in Hungary. But… yes but, there was one Junior who tamed the Spanish storm: It was Donato Freens from the Netherlands. We saw the writing on the wall last year when Donato started to make a strong mark in the SUP Racing World. Now he opened the 2023 season with a bang.
The win did not come easy as his father Paco Freens told us. It was Aaron Sanchez and Christian Andersen who pulled away. Christian was in a big lead of about 10 – 15 board length. On the last leg, about 2 – 3km before the finish Donato put down the hammer and caught up with the leaders. He overtook the leaders but had to deal with some boat wake and at the end it came down to a sprint finish between Aaron and Donato in which Donato then had the upper hand by 2 seconds. Christian Andersen crosses the finish line 20 seconds behind and in fourth came in rookie to the EURO TOUR Blue Ewer with over half a minute behind.
This win marks a big moment in the early career of a great and upcoming talent in SUP racing. We had to reach out real quick to team Freens to get a quick statement from Donato:
Hi Donato, congratulations to your win. Tell us real quick how that all was:
The race went pretty well, even though these types of races are not particularly my bread and butter. The competitors put up a very good fight, and the Spaniards had picked up the pace very early at the beginning, which I had managed to hold on to. After the downwind, I positioned myself in 3rd place. The last turn to the beach was where I really accelerated and had taken the lead towards the sprint finish with Aaron Sanchez.
How do you feel about your first big win?
I’m very stoked about my win! My very first EURO TOUR win. It was a very challenging race with difficult conditions. It was a highly competitive field with many local and international riders whom have an ocean as their back yard and to be able to level with them as a person who is not necessarily known as a ocean paddler is something I can be proud of.
I’m very grateful for this opportunity that my parents have given me.
What races are you going next?
This month, I will be competing in Sevilla upcoming week, the World Cup Festival in Alicante.
Thank you very much Donato, enjoy your awesome moment.
On the ladies side it was once again Esperanza Barreras who showed clear dominance. Her and Duna Gordillo were head to had for the first part of the race but as the final results show: Espe had the stamina to go all they way while Duna fell apart at some point coming in over a minute behind Espe.
Women Top 10
- Espe Barreras (ESP) – 1:13:10
- Duna Gordillo (ESP) – 1:14:46
- Alba Frey (ESP) – 1:16:34
- Laura Quetglas (ESP) – 1:19:32
- Sonia Caimari (ESP) – 1:20:37
- Alexia Soto (ESP) – 1:20:44
- Susanne Lier (BRD) -1:21:24
- Ainhoa Rivas (ESP) – 1:21:54
- Aida Nepola (ESP) – 1:23:54
- Ginnie Bets (UK) – 1:24:24
Men Top 10
- Donato Freens (NL) – 1:08:12
- Aaron Sanchez Quetglas (ESP) – 1:08:14
- Cristian Andersen (DK) – 1:08:34
- Blue Ewer (UK) – 1:09:02
- Bruno Hasulyo (HUN) – 1:09:10
- Ivan de Frutos (ESP) – 1:09:25
- Rafa Sirvent (ESP) – 1:09:38
- Fernando Perez (ESP) – 1:09:59
- Augusto Garcia (ESP) – 1:10:09
- Bodie Von Almen (USA) – 1:10:19