The Iberdrola Bilbao World SUP Challenge is always a smash hit on the SUP racing calendar and this year was no exception. This was the 7th stop of on the EuroTour’s ‘Summer of SUP’ with an awesome race on Saturday with Starboard Dream Team riders once again delivering exceptional results as hundreds of amateurs and kids also took to the water in a record-setting event (of almost 300 paddlers).
Michael Booth’s incredible solo performance was the talk of the weekend ~ the Aussie powerhouse played his signature hand to break away from the lead pack, but this year he did it significantly earlier than ever before leaving chase pack (with the biggest names in SUP racing) who were simply not able to respond, leaving them to fight it out for second place. Booth won the 12km elite race in a super fast time of 1:01:17 to collect the 2,500 EUR cash purse. After being on Tour for some weeks now, Boothy seems like he is going from strength to strength ~ here is the SUP-star’s recount of Saturday’s high stakes racing;
“I honestly couldn’t be happier with the way the European season has gone so far. Another win in Bilbao and my forth win on the Euro Tour this year makes it a very special year for me. Coming into Bilbao I was definitely mentally drained from all the racing, but physically it was the best I’d felt all tour so far. Flying in for the event there was a lot of fresh, powerful and strong guys joining the tour, which added to the challenge for me. On the start line I was cautious not to have a bad start and make the mistake I made last year. I decent start and utilised the guys around me to the first can and I came out of it in second. Here I felt a few of the guys had pushed very hard and exhausted themselves in the process so, with a bit of luck, a bit of backwash and a lot of effort I attacked and I broke. It was a long way on my own but with the combination of a shortened course and the belief in myself I was able to hold off an extremely strong pack of athletes.
The atmosphere at the event was impeccable. The city of Bilbao was holding what I believe is the ‘white night’ which is something that the town really comes out for… ’til all hours of the morning! During the race the banks of the river were lined with droves of spectators and I believe its the most watched SUP race by the general public that I’ve been a part of. After the event the festivities started and it was a great night had by all. Big thanks to everyone who put on these showcase events!
The Starboard Sprint 14 x 21.5 is my favourite board, its fast, stable, and its really proven itself in all conditions now. I feel extremely comfortable on it and I’m so lucky to be part of a brand who puts so much time and effort into their race boards as it really gives us elite riders the edge over the competition!”
– Michael Booth
Back to back wins at the @bilbaoworldsupchallenge and my 4th win in a row on the @eurotoursup! I saw an opportunity early on and it was honestly one of my hardest wins yet. Congrats to @lincolndews in 2nd and @_mofreitas In 3rd! I could feel you and the pack breathing down my neck the whole race and the line couldn’t come soon enough. I’m so lucky to have a great support team and thanks to everyone for all the encouragement and support. To my sponsors I hope I’m doing you proud! Time for a rest, some beers and some pintxos ?
Also worth noting was the incredible hard work from that of fellow Starboard Dream Team rider Daniel Hasulyo (Hungary) who pulled the lead pack early on with that an intensity that saw the lead pack start to stretch out quite significantly. Bruno Hasulyo’s (Hungary) valiant performance saw him finish in a solid 8th position and put him on the podium as well.
“Bilbao was a real World Class Show! I personally love to race in rivers and believe that events and locations like this are truly encouraging the growth of the sport and the transformation to mass participation in sport.
The water arena of Bilbao, with the iconic Guggenheim Museum in the background, is one of the most spectacular places one can be fortunate to race boasting one of the biggest international athlete turnouts of the season, made the 2018 edition of the Iberdrola Bilbao World SUP Challenge an unforgettable experience for me.”
– Daniel Hasulyo
?Feels good to have finished 5th on the podium ? at the 5th Stop of the @paddleleague World Series and 7th Stop of the 2018 @eurotoursup @bilbaoworldsupchallenge Event ? and what a great race! Terrific International field, over 250 paddlers at the line, incredible organization ? a real life time experience! Well Done @brunohasulyo (8th) #SUPBROz on the Podium ✌️? @georgiasphoto #podium #worldseries #5th #bilbao #iberdrola #guggenheim #guggenheimmuseum #sup #racing #lifetimeexperience #pro #livethetikilife #standuppaddle #starboardsup #compressport #podchocolate #paulandshark #followtheshark #sepa
The elite women started 2 minutes after the elite men and proved to be a far more hotly contested and much more exciting race. After the first turn, the women broke up into two packs with the lead pack consisting of Olivia Piana, Fiona Wylde, Seychelle and Amandine Chazot, who constantly challenged each other. Japan’s Yuka Sato lead the charge of the chase pack, never letting the race leaders out of sight. Fiona put in an exceptional performance to finish in 3rd after Olivia and Seychelle and maintain her podium streak. Teammate Yuka Sato finished just outside in 4th position for her first ever Bilbao World SUP Challenge race. Rounding out the top ten women’s podium we had Laura Quetglas (Spain) in a solid 6th position with Starboard teammate Amandine Chazot (France) in 7th spot. Fiona Wylde recaps her account of this year’s event;
“Yesterday’s race was incredibly exciting! It was one of the most competitive, fast pace women’s races I’ve ever been in. There were so many strong women, all pushing really hard.
As we were in a narrow river with 270 paddlers, it was actually incredibly bumpy! I️ opted for the 2018 Sprint 14 x 21.5 and felt very comfortable on this racing machine.
I️ was in top four going into the first buoy and came out in top 3, from there it was back and forth between the top four for the next 5km. Olivia, Seychelle, and myself, dropped Amandine just over half way point leaving the three of us paddling side by side, drafting, and keeping up a very fast pace. At the last buoy, still with 3km to go, I️ tried to make a move to surge up and come around fast. It would have worked, but I got pushed to the outside and separation was made. From there, the full sprint started. Olivia was able to close the gap and pass Seychelle, and I️ closed the gap on both of them, but they still had ten meters on me when we came to the finish.
It was a really exciting event with excellent media coverage and it was an incredible spectacle to have so many paddlers in the river at the same time.
I️ am really happy with the way that I️ paddled in this race. I️ learned lots and I️ am really motivated for next weekend’s second of the The Paddle League’s “Triple Crown of Majors” for the Hossegor Paddle Games.
Thank you so much for everything! So happy to be part of the awesome Starboard Team!”
– Fiona Wylde
@paddleleague World Tour & on the podium!! ?? So happy with this 3rd in @bilbaoworldsupchallenge! It’s my fourth time placing third this season, but honestly, this one felt the best! The race was incredibly fast, and one of the most competitive races I’ve been in! It was basically a 14km Sprint ? Congrats to everyone who raced! Thank you to all of my sponsors who support me all over the world, and to @eurotoursup & @paddleleague for an incredible event!! ⚡️ @starboardsup @dakine @blackprojectsup @dexcom ?: @georgiasphoto ?
Thanks to Iberdrola and BWATERS for making the 6th annual Bilbao World SUP Challenge possible. This one won’t be forgotten any time soon…
2018 Bilbao World SUP Challenge Elite Men’s Results:
1st: Michael Booth 1:01:17 (Australia; Starboard)
2nd: Lincoln Dews 1:01:50 (Australia; DEEP/QB)
3rd: Mo Freitas 1:01:52 (Hawaii; Rogue)
4th: Titouan Puyo 1:01:54 (France; NSP/QB)
5th: Daniel Hasulyo 1:01:55 (Hungary; Starboard)
6th: Noic Garioud 1:01:56 (New Caledonia; Sunova)
7th: Martin Vitry 1:01:56 (France; SIC)
8th: Bruno Hasulyo 1:01:58 (Hungary; Starboard)
9th: Arthur Arutkin 1:02:00 (France; Fanatic)
10th: Tom Auber 1:02:05 (France; Fanatic)
2018 Bilbao World SUP Challenge Elite Women’s Results:
1st: Olivia Piana 1:13:27 (France; 425)
2nd: Seychelle 1:13:29 (USA; SIC)
3rd: Fiona Wylde 1:13:41 (USA; Starboard)
4th: Yuka Sato 1:14:13 (Japan; Starboard)
5th: Kate Baker 1:14:40 (Australia; ONE)
6th: Laura Quetglas 1:15:31 (Spain; Starboard)
7th: Amandine Chazot 1:16:00 (France; Starboard)
8th: Angie Jackson 1:17:32 (Australia; ONE)
9th: Susak Molinero 1:18:12 (Spain; RRD)
10th: Caterina Stenta 1:18:48 (Italy; RRD)
The full list of results will be published shortly.
Head over to The Paddle Leagues Facebook page for the full event album
Picture Credits: The Paddle League/ Georgia Schofield