SUP World Tech Champions crowned at ISA Worlds

Starboard Christian Anderson Connor Baxter Daniel Hasulyo ISA Worlds China
Firing on all pistons, the Men's Technical Final was an intense battle of speed and skill. Photo by: ISA Worlds
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Hungary’s Hasulyo and USA’s Appleby take top honors in ISA competition; Australians earn gold, again; USA Juniors sweep events; USA’s Baxter and Appleby qualify for Pan Am Games.

SUP World Tech Champions Crowned at ISA Worlds

No one on the water held anything back on Wednesday at the 2018 International Surfing Association (ISA) World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Wanning, Hainan Province, China. Spectators were treated to close competition in each heat as paddlers eagerly launched into calm water conditions under largely overcast skies.

Competing in mid-70s air temperatures in a large lagoon fed by the warm South China Sea, standup paddle legends Daniel Hasulyo and Candice Appleby claimed the SUP Technical Race Gold Medals in Day Six of ISA competition.

Daniel Hasulyo Tech champion ISA World Championship SUP
Daniel Hasulyo says, “There’s no better feeling” than his win here in China with his family & friends present. Photo by: Pablo Jimenez / ISA Worlds

After the day’s racing, ISA President Fernando Aguerre said, “The Technical Races were profiled to be some of the best ever, and they did not disappoint. The world’s best showed excellent skill in this dynamic course and displayed their talent on the highest stage in the sport.”

Sprint Competitions to Start Friday in Shenzou Peninsula, China

The next racing, the Sprint Competition, is scheduled to start at 1 pm. local time Friday (midnight tonight, US Eastern time). The ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship will be streamed live through December 2.

Watch the LIVE FEED here with us at Standup Journal:

Candice Appleby and Terrene Black gave the crowd something to watch as the two veteran world champions battled it out for the Tech Final crown. Photo by: Sean Evans / ISA Worlds

To The Next Level:  Hasulyo charges the Gold

After his win, an emotional Hasulyo, who hails from Hungary, said, “This is the best feeling ever. I got sixth in the Technical Race and fourth in the Distance last year. This year I put all my dedication into it. Hard work paid off and today I did it. I can’t describe it. In three days I am competing in the Distance Race and I don’t want to do any worse than this.”

USA’s Connor Baxter, who was trading off the lead with Daniel Hasulyo for a large part of the race, fell behind on the final leg and finished with the Silver. New Zealand’s Trevor Tunnington earned the Bronze and Bruno Hasulyo earned the Copper.

Starboard Christian Anderson Connor Baxter Daniel Hasulyo ISA Worlds China
Firing on all pistons, the Men’s Technical Final was an intense battle of speed and skill. Photo by: ISA Worlds

Appleby Surges ahead to Claim Tech Title

In the Women’s SUP Technical Race Final, 2015 ISA champion Appleby and Australia’s Terrene Black battled neck and neck for the lead until Appleby pulled ahead at the end to earn her second title.

“It feels awesome to win the Gold,” said Appleby. “I never imagined that I would be StandUp Paddleboarding all the way in China.” Reflecting on the moment, Appleby added, “The women’s side of the sport has been pushing it to the next level. We know that we have to support each other to have progress. I’ve been racing for 12 years now and to continue to see the level rise here in the ISA is great.”

Womens technical racers ISA Worlds China
The Women’s side of the sport continues to rise as shown by the sheer numbers on the sand for the Women’s Technical Races. Photo by: Sean Evans / ISA Worlds

In that final heat, Australia’s Shakira Westdorp, winner of the SUP Surfing Gold, earned the Bronze Medal and France’s Olivia Piana earned the Copper.

Team Medal Standings

Team Australia continued their dominance of the prone Paddleboard team totals earning Gold in both the Men and Women Divisions. Aussie Grace Rosato emerged victorious in her first ISA appearance and fellow countryman Lachie Lansdown repeated as Prone Technical Race World Champion.

Grace Rosato ISA Worlds prone paddleboard
Grace Rosato eyes the finish line at the end of the women’s prone tech final. Photo by: Pablo Jimenez / ISA Worlds

Meanwhile, Team USA’s junior SUP talent swept the first-ever Under-18 Technical Race Gold Medals. Jade Howson and Ryan Funk were respectively crowned World Champions in the Girls U-18 and Boys U-18 Divisions.

USA’s Ryan Funk was ecstatic to win the first ever Junior ISA World’s Gold Medal in the Tech Race. A moment to go down in history. Photo by: Sean Evans

Pan American Games welcomes Baxter & Appleby

With a Silver Medal in the Men’s Race, Connor Baxter earned a spot in the 2019 Pan American Games as the highest finishing athlete from the Americas. Appleby took the slot for the women with her Gold Medal performance, double qualifying her for the Technical Race as well as the SUP Surfing competition.

USA’s triple Gold Medal performance Wednesday gave them the lead of the team medal rankings with six. Australia has earned five medals across the competitions thus far, leaving them in a close second place behind USA. More individual medals and the Team Relay medals remain to be awarded across the ISA event’s final three days.

Thursday is a lay day in Wanning, as the event moves to the Shenzhou Peninsula, south of Wanning, where the Distance, Sprint and Relay Races will close out the event and crown the Team World Champion.

Looking ahead to the close of the championships, ISA President Fernando Aguerre pointed out, “At the mid-way point of the event, the team medals are still fully up for grabs as we look forward to crowning the one-and-only Team World Champion for the seventh consecutive year.”

Remaining events, scheduled for the Shenzhou Peninsula:
November 30: Sprint Races, 1 pm local (midnight, Eastern)
December 1: Distance Races
December 2: Relay Races, Closing Ceremony

Wednesday’s Top Medal Winners (November 28)
The Boys and Girls Junior SUP Technical Races held their finals in the morning session, with Funk and Howson earning their titles. Both athletes finished with convincing leads, demonstrating high promise for the future of SUP racing in the USA.

New Zealand’s Oliver Houghton earned the Boys Junior Silver, Australia’s Sam McCullough the Bronze and France’s Noic Gariou the Copper. In the Junior Girls race, France’s Melanie Lafenetre earned the Silver, Denmark’s Caroline Küntzel the Bronze, and Italy’s Laura Dal Pont the Copper.

In other action, Australia’s Lachie Lansdown robbed Team USA from a Gold in the Men’s Paddleboard Race. Having overcome a fall on the first lap, Lansdown trailed USA’s Hunter Pflueger on the final stretch, but was able to pass Pflueger with the help of a small wave when heading into the beach towards the finish line. New Zealand’s Daniel Hart followed with the Bronze and South Africa’s Jadon Wessels with the Copper. The Technical Race Gold for Lansdown is his second consecutive after he was victorious at the 2017 edition in Denmark.

The women’s Paddleboard Technical Race was one of the most closely fought through the first half of the race. Australia’s Grace Rosato, who was replacing an injured ten-time ISA Gold Medalist Jordan Mercer, did not disappoint. Rosato managed to pull away and earn Gold in her ISA debut followed by Spain’s Judit Verges with the Silver, Denmark’s Katrine Zinck with the Bronze, and USA’s Kailyn Winter with the Copper.

Full Day Six results

SUP Junior Boys
Gold – Ryan Funk (USA)
Silver – Oliver Houghton (NZL)
Bronze – Sam McCullough (AUS)
Copper – Noic Gariou (FRA)

SUP Junior Girls
Gold – Jade Howson (USA)
Silver – Melanie Lafenetre (FRA)
Bronze – Caroline Küntzel (DEN)
Copper – Laura Dal Pont (ITA)

Paddleboard Men:  Technical Finals
Gold – Lachie Lansdown (AUS)
Silver – Hunter Pflueger (USA)
Bronze – Daniel Hart (NZL)
Copper – Jadon Wessels (RSA)

Paddleboard Women: Technical Finals
Gold – Grace Rosato (AUS)
Silver – Judit Verges (ESP)
Bronze – Katrine Zinck (DEN)
Copper – Kailyn Winter (USA)

SUP Men: Technical Finals
Gold – Daniel Hasulyo (HUN)
Silver – Connor Baxter (USA)
Bronze – Trevor Tunnington (NZL)
Copper – Bruno Hasulyo (HUN)

SUP Women: Technical Finals
Gold – Candice Appleby (USA)
Silver – Terrene Black (AUS)
Bronze – Shakira Westdorp (AUS)
Copper – Olivia Piana (FRA)


Edited by:  Benito Vila

About Benito:
In 2001 Benito left New York City, where he was president of a graphic design firm, to raise his children on the East End of Long Island. That decision has led him to be on or in the water about 200 days a year, lately chasing flat water more than surf. Working as a columnist for The Sag Harbor Express, Benito developed the paper’s lifestyle section and its top-earning magazine group. He is currently writing features for, a popular online magazine known for compelling glorying of subcultures and its #thisiswhatscool hashtag. Benito still enjoys helping brands express themselves in ways that bring their distinct personalities to life.