The 2018 Air France Paddle Festival certainly delivered, with the first stop of The Paddle League World Tour producing a rollercoaster of excitement and drama as big names fell, young kids rose up and the blazing hot Tahitian sun made things extraordinarily difficult for every single competitor.
In the women’s race, we witnessed mighty performances from Sonni Hoensheid (Germany), Yuka Sato (Japan) and Fiona Wylde (USA) to earn Team Starboard a clean sweep of the 24km elite podium positions.
The men’s race was an intense battle with so many twists and turns which made it exciting for a spectator and a story. Tituoan Puyo and Lincoln Dews were the early leaders, setting the pace for the opening kilometres. It wasn’t long until Australian powerhouse Michael Booth surged to the front of the pack and establish a commanding lead over the rest of the field of roughly 250m or 55 seconds. It looked certain it was now a race for second place and that was when things started to get really interesting in the chase pack with the Tahitian ‘Young Guns’ Lorenzo Bennet (22) and Keoni Sulpice (Junior) up at the front of the chase pack showing the likes of Steevie, Rete and Goerge how the new kids on the block do it.
And then there was some more drama… Watch the Live Stream replay by The Paddle League
Download the full 2018 2018 Air France Paddle Festival results here.
Photo Credits: Georgia Schofield for Starboard SUP