APP Tour India Paddle Festival

The APP Tour ventured out to new horizons this past weekend. The India SUP Festival kicked off at the Sasihithlu Beach in Mangalore India. It was great to see that some internationally known athletes made their way to this rather remote destination as far as SUP is concerned. This is what it takes to pioneer a new region and the APP did just that by partnering up with the organizers of this event. While the competition portion could be neglected it was important for some of the SUP Starts to be present and show case their abilities to a new audience.

India is practically surrounded by water but they are not know to be much of water sport athletes. Maybe this event was able to set a spark in the local community of Mangalore to participate in more water sports and who knows maybe in a few years we will see a flurishing SUP community in India’s coastal regions.

This is the press release from the APP:

India has opened its arms to Stand Up Paddling and Mangalore has proven itself as a World Class destination

While it is relatively a brand new territory for the sport, thanks to the work that the Swami Surf Foundation and Mantra Surf School have done through their mentorship program and community initiatives, India has set itself up for phenomenal growth over the coming years both in terms of the growth of the sport locally, but also the development of World Class talent from right here in India.

The diversity of conditions and natural environment that is so ideally suited to all aspects of the sport, the youth are already showing great potential, something that was clearly demonstrated by the Juniors race on day 1. The performance by the likes of Shekar Patchai and Manikandan M in the Men’s Open race amidst a selection of the World’s Best also clearly illustrates their potential on the global stage.

Mangalore provides the perfect venue for the APP’s first step in India with the APP sanctioned India Paddle Festival 

The India Paddle Festival is the first step for international Stand Up Paddling in the region and Sasihithlu Beach provided the absolutely perfect venue to showcase the sport. A magical mix of Ocean and River conditions provided the ideal test for a selection of the World’s Best making it out for this special event and an ideal forerunner to the 2024 APP World Tour season that will be announced later this month.

Day 1 saw distance racing take center stage with a qualifier heat followed by finals format for the Men and a single final for the Women. The technical distance race consisted of a beach start heading out through the surf and then back in through the river mouth for a section up the river before heading back out. 

The final leg saw athletes punching through the surf, round to the top of the course to wrap with an in and out through the surf to the finish. A dramatic course that provided the most comprehensive and well rounded set of challenges for the athletes, from navigating open ocean, surf, river currents and flat water to come out on top.

It was a dramatic day of action and a spectacular finish to what is an historic moment for the sport here in India as we start an exciting new journey of development in India.

Antonio Morillo starts as he means to continue here in Mangalore with an impressive opening day performance

Antonio Morillo from Spain arrived here in Mangalore looking focused and ready to take on the world. Analyzing all aspects of the course, when it came to the final he was ready. After a great start, he bided his time through 2/3rds of the course, trading off the lead with Hungary’s Daniel Hasulyo until they came back to the river mouth to enter back into the Ocean. He took his moment to break away here and never looked back.

However, the win was not without its challenges, as Christian Andersen from Denmark who was riding on a new inflatable board from NSP was able to close the gap coming into the surfriding section of the course, and was just meters behind Antonio coming into the finish. An amazing performance by the young Danish talent and perhaps a sign of things to come with performance progression in inflatable boards. Right behind the top two was Fernando Perez Serra from Spain, who was right with Christian until the first beach turn, where a slight stumble in the shore-break allowed Christian to break away. Daniel Hasulyo from Hungary rounded out the Top 4.

A spectacular race, a dramatic finish and a great start to international stand up paddle racing here in India, as well as marking the arrival of a new wave of talent on a local level, as Shekar Patchai, the current Indian Champion finished in 5th, with Mangalore local and Mantra Surf School ambassador Manikandan M finishing in 7th.

  1. Antonio Morillo (ESP): 00:56:58Christian Andersen (DK): 00:57:00Fernando Perez Serra (ESP): 00:57:27Daniel Hasulyo (HUN): 00:59:10

    Shekar Patchai (IND): 01:01:06

Espe Barreras from Spain puts on another dominant performance in Mangalore to take victory on Day 1

Espe Barreras is looking faster, more finely tuned and focused than ever as she prepares for the 2024 season. The India Paddle Festival is serving as a great warm up to the season as she joined the Men for the opening qualifier heats and still went on to dominate in the Women’s Final. 

After a great start, she never looked back, as she marveled at the beauty of the venue and the unique nature of the course. With every kind of condition to contend with through the race, the course provided a test of endurance, surf riding, open water paddling, river paddling and navigating complicated current flows that were permanently changing with the tidal flow coming out of the rivermouth.

She navigated the course with finesse and took the convincing win. However, a big congratulations to Irin Neegree from Thailand who was taking on a whole new set of conditions from what she is used to in Thailand and managing it with professionalism and foucs. Likewise, the youngster from Italy, but now resident in Spain, Bianca Toncelli showed great promise in this international race in India. 

Behind her and rounding out the top 4 was Su Jeong Lim, who accelerated through the flat water sections, but was learning fast in the challenging ocean conditions, coupled with the relatively extreme heat compared to her home in Korea. A great performance from this promising talent who will be looking forward to the Busan SUP Open this year that will take place from the 4th – 6th October this year, a place that she now calls home, committed to improving in the more open ocean conditions compared to Seoul where she comes from.

  1. Esperanza Barreras (ESP): 00:59:37
  2. Irin Neegree (THAI): 01:05:23
  3. Bianca Toncelli (ITA): 01:08:20
  4. Su Jeong Lim (KOR): 01:12:06
  5. Monika P (IND): 01:37:34