Starboard’s Dream Team riders earned a triple gold this past weekend at the APP World Tour’s SUP Paris Crossing, the biggest mass participation SUP event in the world which took place in conjunction with the Nautic Paris Boat Show. In the Long Distance race, we witnessed Fiona Wylde out paddle her competitors to take the Women’s 1st podium, while teammate Michael Booth outsprinted Lincoln Dews after a titanic battle to cross the finish line in first place for the Men’s title. Connor Baxter also brought home a Gold with his win in the exhilarating Sprints event, which took place at the spectator-friendly indoor pool arena whin the main Hall.
“Paddling through Paris on the Seine was one of the most fun racing experiences I’ve had! The race started at O-dark thirty and it wasn’t fully light until about 4km into the race. That, combined with the fact there were 933 entrants, made the most energized, exciting race atmosphere. It was a race for everybody who paddles, from pros to families on SUP Squatches dressed up at astronauts.
I had an early lead because I used every bump available to me from the choppy water bouncing off of the walls of the river. The course started at the National Library of France, did a lap around Notre Dame island and finished just passed the Eiffel Tower, pretty incredible if you ask me!
Seychelle and April closed the gap on me, and not too long after Lina did too. The four of us rotated through the draft train, pulling when we needed to, sitting back when it wasn’t your turn. About 2km out we began to spread out. It was a little confusing to know exactly where the finish was because of a river full of green (jersey colour of the paddlers), but I kept my eyes open. The girls hadn’t started to surge yet, but I knew we were close. About a kilometre and a half to go, the tempo picked up. I actually dropped back to third behind Seychelle and Lina. I was side drafting tail wash when I decided it was time to put the hammer down and go! I hadn’t won a race on the APP yet this year, gotten a few seconds and thirds, but not a first. I wanted to win this race. I started pushing as hard as I could. I got even with Seychelle, then even with Lina then pushed past them. I found another gear and made a gap in front of them. It wasn’t by much, but a board length and a half was all I needed. The sprint was about a kilometre long, my legs were cramping in the last 100 meters my vision not clear anymore, but I wanted to push myself to a higher level to make sure I clearly had the win. I did, and I crossed the line about 5 seconds ahead of Seychelle and 10 seconds ahead of Lina.
I’m a bit overwhelmed with how well this season has gone, but I couldn’t be happier!! Thank you so much to my sponsors, friends and family for the support!
I’m almost done competing for the year. Right now I fly to the Canary Islands for the last app sup surfing world tour event. I’m sitting #2 on the rankings, but it’s going to be a tight battle between myself and close friend/teammate Shakira Westdorp. I’ll be working my hardest to surf my best! And before all of that starts on Wednesday, finals for university.”
Photo: John Carter (@jc_windsurf)