Some final words about the Sunset Beach Pro need to come from the kick ass women who stole the show. Starboard’s team line up for this historic event, Izzi Gomez, Fiona Wylde and Shakira Westdorp, taking home 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively turned the event on it’s ear as the women’s performances rivaled, if not matched, the intensity of the men’s. World class waves were caught, dominated and scored. In the end, Starboard’s leading ladies took home the podium, leaving little room for error and revitalizing the paradigm between men and women in the world of stand up paddle surfing. Let’s take a look what the gals have to say about their win(s) at Sunset.
Commanding Performances all around: Izzi Comes out on TOP
Despite her competitor’s commanding performances, Izzi Gomez managed to hold onto her championship title. This young competitor from Florida has been leading in the women’s sup surf World Tours for years. 2017 marks her attempt at winning her 4th consecutive World Title and from the looks of her performance at the Sunset Beach Pro AM last week, she will be tough to beat. Izzi’s win at Sunset didn’t come easily. She had to claw her way through the repechage rounds in order to make it into the Final Event where her competition was right on her heels, eager to give this top competitor a run for her title.
“It was so exciting to compete at Sunset this year! The women have really stepped up their game.” — Izzi Gomez
In it’s first year, the APP World Tour produced a world class event for the women out at Sunset Beach. The APP World Tour was proud to witness it’s leading ladies not only take to the water in double overhead surf at Sunset, but to see them put on a show to remember. This event day made a huge statement as to just how far the women’s side of the sport has come over the past four years.
“It’s nice to see all that hard work pay off with the privilege of being able to perform in world class waves alongside the men. It was such a gift to surf Sunset with only three other girls in the water.” – Izzi
Looking to the Future of Stand Up Surfing
One thing is for sure, although Izzi is in top form and is still holding the reins for multiple world titles, her teammates are some of the most fierce and talented competitors imaginable, which only adds to the sweetness of her ultimate victory at Sunset Beach. Izzi’s gratitude is boundless for the support she receives, as she states.
“Thanks to Starboard, Red Bull and GoPro for providing me with the opportunity to follow my dreams! I can’t wait to watch the future of the sport unfold with this new APP World Tour in place and the possibility of the Olympics on the horizon.”
Fiona Wylde: A Young Tiger at the Heels of her Teammate
“All of this wouldn’t be possible without the support of Starboard. Their constant innovation and their support of both my surfing and racing endeavors helps me get to where I am today! Thank you again, and again.” – Fiona Wylde
Starboard’s Fiona Wylde steps into 2017 and shows the world she is on top and one of the most well rounded stand up paddle athletes in the world. Finishing 2nd at the Sunset Beach Pro in a heated battle with teammate Izzi, Fiona’s tenacity and ferocity of performance make her a leading contender for the World Title as well. Her fearlessness in the overhead surf, her calculated attack in the Sunset line up put her within inches of the win. In the Final round she drew 2nd place by a score of only 0.16 points behind leader Gomez. That’s close enough to be in striking distance!
Solid Sized Waves and Incredible Competition
“There were plenty of lay days throughout the contest but when the Finals day came around, a rising swell hit Oahu and we were fortunate enough to surf clean, solid-sized waves with a light offshore wind. I had a ton of fun in the Final! My goal was to catch a bunch of waves and be proud in the way I surfed. I did that and I’m really proud to come in second!” – Fiona
Last year, in 2016, Fiona took home the World Title in stand up paddle racing and came in second for surfing. We can be sure that the title run in 2017 is going to be all-time epic between these two contenders as we watch Izzi and Fiona line up at the start line at the Maui Pro AM to begin next weekend on March 10th. Fiona looks forward eagerly as she says,
“I’m already looking forward to next year, but in the meantime, the first race is right around the corner with the APP races kicking off here in Maui!”
Shakira is Coming
Shakira Westdorp approached every heat in the Sunset Beach Pro with maximum power and commitment. She made her presence felt throughout the early rounds to propel herself into the finals where her focus and determination could be seen and felt by all. She navigated a tricky line up and was able to place some solid scores on her waves although, in the end, it was not yet enough to match the output of both Fiona and Izzi. One thing is for sure, however, and that is that Starboard’s Shakira Westdorp is coming. Her fierce desire for a World Title was felt by her competitors and she continues to be a Starboard athlete to watch and a dangerous draw in any heat. We hope she makes it because that intense desire to win is so palpable and inspiring. Keep it coming, Shakira!
Final Comments from innovator and Starboard designer Svein Rasmussen
Standup Journal online was able to catch up with Starboard‘s Chief Innovator and design master, Svein Rasmussen to gather this thoughts on his Dream Team especially the female side of the competition. Svein was only to happy to take a few moments and extol the virtues of these women both on the water and in the line up of life. He is clearly proud of the team they have created at Starboard SUP.
“Yes, our girls are great.” – Svein Rasmussen
“To see the performance levels of Izzi, Fiona and Shakira at Sunset is inspiring to everyone. I am so proud of our Dream Team girls that, not only are they the best on the water, but with each holding such wonderful personalities. I hope that through them we can spread the stoke of paddle boarding even further. For the longevity of paddleboarding, female participation is key and it’s all looking great at the moment. Some countries have more girls than boys out paddling!”
Stay tuned for MORE insider viewpoints and powerful action as the Maui Pro AM kicks off next Friday, March 10-12th on the island. You can watch the competition LIVE at Standup Journal.com or on the APP World Tour website at www.appworldtour.com . Buckle UP and get ready to see this sport rise to it’s next level.