2016 ISA World Championships in Fiji
In a day of heated competition and epic glides, the ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championships awarded their 1st Gold Medals of the event today in Fiji. In the Men’s Technical SUP Final, Casper Steinfath of Denmark created a dynamic finish in the sprint to the end of the course. Steinfaith, whose renown in the SUP world has earned him the title of ISA vice-president, caught the magic bullet by finding a glide on a wave that carried him past Kai Lenny (Silver medal), and Arthur Arutkin (Bronze) to come in first and win his 3rd consecutive Gold medal.
“I’ve done a lot of racing in my life and I’ve learned one thing, which is to never give up because you never know what the ocean is going to throw at you,” remarked Steinfath. Staying with the pack as his energy flagged and staying positive in this case created a golden opportunity for Steinfath who couldn’t believe no one else saw the wave or took advantage of it. “That wave just let me fly across the finish line and finish in first place. It felt like I was paddling so fast that my board was going to levitate,” he said.
Australia earned two Gold Medals in the both the Men’s and Women’s Paddleboard Technical races when Ozzie’s Matt Poole and Harriet Brown each won their respective Finals. Brown was a last minute replacement for injured teammate, 15-time ISA Gold Medalist Jordan Mercer but her strength and strategy put her way out in front from the start and she never looked back. New Zealand’s Danielle McKenzie earned the Silver medal and France’s Flora Manciet took home the Bronze.
“Australia has come out hungrier than ever to take back the Gold medal,” exclaimed Poole after came in 1st for the Men’s Paddleboard Technical Final. Fellow Australian Lachie Lansdown also put on an impressive performance when, in the last lap he was able to overtake Scott Cowdry of New Zealand and win the Silver. Cowdry finished well ahead of former Gold medalist, Jack Bark and was able to take home the Bronze medal.
In an exciting upset in the Women’s SUP Technical Final, New Zealand’s Penelope Armstrong surprised everybody, including herself, to win the Gold medal. “The race today was awesome,” said Armstrong of beating out former Gold medal winner, Candice Appleby and France’s Olivia Piana. “These girls are my heroes, so racing against them is one thing, but beating them is huge.” Piana placed second overall (Silver) and Appleby finished third (Bronze) to wrap up the Women’s SUP Technical Final event.
“What an amazing day of historic racing at Cloudbreak” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “The first Gold Medalists of the event and the first SUP World Champions ever crowned in Fiji made this a truly special day”.
Stay tuned for more SUP and paddleboard racing in the distance races on Thursday and Friday this week and make time to watch the SUP Surfing finals this Saturday as the swell hits the Fijian islands in what is sure to be an epic event!