Women SUP and Paddleboard racers took center stage in dramatic fashion on the fifth day of 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship with hotly contested 17km Distance Races. USA’s Candice Appleby successfully defended her 2015 title, winning back-to-back Gold Medals and Australia’s Harriet Brown swept the Paddleboard Racing divisions, winning the Gold Medal to go along with her Technical Race Gold from two days ago.
Brown’s Gold Medal on the back of Michael Booth’s Gold Medal in the SUP Men’s Distance Race on Thursday propelled Australia into the lead in the team point standings with two days of competition remaining. Team France and Team USA are close on Australia’s heels, respectively in second and third place.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre greeted each of the competitors, including the Gold Medalists as they crossed the finish line at Musket Cove.
“These amazing, strong women put their full world-class talent on display in this distance race,” said Aguerre. “Candice and Harriet proved that they are true World Champions by delivering dominant, commanding performance on the water today.
“After three days of exciting racing, we are ready for the SUP Surfing Finals, which could turn out to be a truly historic day for the sport. With a massive swell headed toward, Tavarua, one of the best reef breaks in the world, we are going to be in for quite a show tomorrow.”
The Women’s SUP Racers took off from the start line at Cloudbreak first. Appleby quickly jumped out to the front of the pack and by the time she was passing the island of Namotu, she had built a solid 100-meter lead on her closest competitor, France’s Olivia Piana.
Appleby’s lead only grew, however she nearly made a costly mistake and lost track of the last buoy before Musket Cove. Recognizing her error, she corrected her course and appropriately rounded the buoy, crossing the finish line in dominant fashion with the well-deserved Gold Medal. Appleby was followed by France’s Piana with the Silver, Spain’s Laura Quetglas with the Bronze and Slovenia’s 19 year-old Manca Notar with the Copper, the first ISA Medal ever for a Slovenian athlete. Notar is the first ever Slovenian athlete at an ISA event.