2016 ISA World Championship Day 5 Extreme Temps and Grueling Conditions

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Women Face Extreme Temps and Grueling Conditions in Distance Course

2016 ISA World Championship
Women’s SUP & Paddleboard Distance Races – Day #5

Women Face Extreme Temps and Grueling Conditions in Distance Course

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The Women’s SUP and Paddleboard Distance races were held to hot & grueling conditions, the course had to be changed twice due to excessively low tides, but the women’s 18K distance Final in the 2016 ISA World SUP & Paddleboard Championships did not disappoint. At the start line, some of the best athletes in Women’s SUP and Paddleboard racing today, lined up at Cloudbreak first and eyed the Gold 18 kilometers away at Musket Cove.

Racers charge toward Tavarua at the start of the Women's SUP Distance Race | Photo by Tavarua SUP Sean Evans
Racers charge toward Tavarua at the start of the Women’s SUP Distance Race | Photo by Tavarua SUP Sean Evans

Team Hawaii’s team manager, Matthew Schweitzer described today’s distance course by saying, “Conditions were not on the racer’s side. With the hottest temperatures we have experienced all week, and not a breath of air in the sky or any swell in the water, athletes were forced to race a grueling 18km flat water race only using the current to either help or hinder their performance.”

In the Women’s SUP race, defending champion, USA’s Candice Appleby quickly jumped to the front of the pack at the start and by the time she reached the island of Namotu, she had built a 100 metre lead on her closest competitor, France’s Olivia Piana. Appleby’s dominant lead only continued to grow; however, she nearly made a critical error as she lost track of the last buoy before Musket Cove. A seasoned competitor and one that keeps a cool head in the heat of battle, as she realized her error, she redirected her course and rounded the final buoy crossing the finish line in 2:02:2.54 and earning her second Gold medal.

Appleby defends her World Title despite intense heat and strong competition
Appleby defends her World Title despite intense heat and strong competition | Photo by Ben Reed

It’s amazing to win gold for the second time in the distance race,” said Appleby. “It was a really hot course out there today with challenging conditions.

Matty Schweitzer concurred by saying, “Most athletes ran out of water and needed assistance, while a handful of athletes on both days were in great need of oxygen and an IV once crossing the finish line. I myself, am completely blown away by these athletes determination, strength and pure willpower to push through such grueling conditions.”
Grueling indeed, as the girls charged up the Cove and France’s dominant force Olivia Piana crossed the finish line behind Appleby at 2:04.32 and earning her country’s Silver medal. Spaniard Laura Quetglas claimed bronze in a time of 2:07.02.

Strong and steady, Olivia Piana stayed the course to bring France another Silver medal
Strong and steady, Olivia Piana stayed the course to bring France another Silver medal | Photo by Ben Reed

The Women’s Paddleboard Distance Race took off from Cloudbreak 1 minute after the SUP racers and a two-woman race quickly developed.

Australia’s Harriet Brown, already a Gold Medal winner in the Technical Race, and New Zealand’s Dannielle McKenzie, who had earned the Silver in that same race, jumped out ahead of the pack at a blistering pace. Both riders remained neck and neck the whole way to the final sprint towards the finish at Musket Cove, bypassing almost the whole field of SUP racers despite starting the race a minute after them.

Australia's Brown and McKenzie dominate the lead
Australia’s Brown and McKenzie dominate the lead

During the intense final 100 meters sprint, Australia’s Harriet Brown managed to build less than a board length lead to cross the line first and win the Gold Medal ahead of Danielle McKenzie who took the Silver. Minutes off the leaders, Bronze Medalist earned by France’s Flora Manciet crossed the finish line in an impressive final.
“Danielle McKenzie and I are really good friends,” said Brown after the race. “We decided that we would pull away from the pack together. We worked in unison, but on that second to last buoy we stopped talking and knew it was going to be a sprint to the finish.”

Brown & McKenzie pulling together until the last 200m sprint
Caption: Brown & McKenzie pulling together until the last 200m sprint

Team Hawaii’s team captain was impressed by this and the overall sportsmanship of the entire event. Matthew Schweitzer offered great kudos to ALL the competitors saying, “Once again, the comradery between not just teammates, but all Nations together was a true test image of sportsmanship and professionalism. On both days of men’s and women’s racing, Nations from around the world came together to cheer on and paddle the last stretch of the race with the final finishers.”

Ben Reed

The 2016 ISA’s World SUP and Paddleboard Championship event is quickly setting the standard moving forward. Challenging conditions, strong surf conditions and national team spirits make THIS a championship to remember!

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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.