ISA SUP World Championships Tech Race

Today was the long anticipated start of the SUP Races in France. The opening made the men Tech. Races with 2 staked semifinals of each 21 athletes. The race was held as a traditional Beach / Surf race and the conditions were very challenging. The waves were in the head high range as the swell arrived in the 13 – 14 second period range. The set up reminded fans of the Battle of the Paddle days.

There were many favorites in the first semi final, such as Shuri Araki, Titouan Puyo, Michael Booth, Christian Andersen and Itzel Delgado. It was then Shrimpy who won this heat with a big margin of over 33 seconds over Titouan Puyo.

The second semi final was not as staked with big names as the first one. Seeing Rai Taguchi leading over Noic Garioud was a bit of a surprise, particularly with 24 seconds. The Japanese are clearly dominating the Tech. Races in France. Is this a telltale sign for a possible double podium in the finals?

The one person that was clearly missing was Connor Baxter, the world champion from last year did not join Team USA this year. The reasons, we can only speculate, but with a family travel expenses are not cheap and with the lack of price money seasoned paddlers are starting to make sound financial decision.

Ladies Tech. Race

In the first semi final french favorite Melanie Lafenetre took the first place with a lead 11.64 second lead over Alba Frey. After that the gap was rather big, but that is what can happen in surf racing. Looking at the finalists here it is hard to make a perdition but Cecilia Pampinella remains a favorite despite her lag of almost 2 minutes.

In the second semi final another favorite took first place. Esperanza Barreras won with 13.73 seconds ahead of Iona Rivet. The black horse in this heat how ever was Tarryn King the seasoned paddle girl from South Africa.

Conclusion first day

As far as the format goes the comments on social media are clear: A 45 minute Tech. Race is too long. We did have this conversation last year already and it seems the ISA is sticking to their guns not listening to the community. A Tech. Race should not be longer than 15 minutes. Three rounds of 1.5km / ca. 1 mile is just simply too long and starts to get boring real quick. We don’ need draft trains in a Tech. Race.

Surf vs. Flat

We did have this conversation as well last year. Surf races are exciting to watch and frequent lead changes are great for spectators. Sadly is shuts out local favorites like Normen Weber for example. Normen is the undisputed Connor Baxter of Germany but a format like this does not allow him to shine. Would this have been a flat water race Normen would have been easily in the final.

This discussion is still not over:


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