Long Beach, New York: Thursday 5th September:
A day of Sprint Racing in & out of the surf here in Long Beach, NY with the world’s finest stand up paddle athletes results in a day of non-stop adrenaline and excitement. In the end, Denmark’s Casper Steinfath and Florida’s Seychelle Webster are crowned champions of the Sprint at the NY SUP Open. Here’s how it went down:
The day of Sprint racing began with a spectacular sight out in front of Skudin Surf as the APP World Surfing Tour athletes free surfed out in front while the Tour’s racing athletes warmed up catching waves on raceboards before their first heat. If that wasn’t enough, the WSL Pro Longboard event had rolled into town and the showmanship and level of surfing presented in the 2-3 foot clean swell with off-shore winds was enough to stop anybody on the boardwalk in their tracks. It was quite a scene.
Race Director, Anthony Vela, cleared the water to begin the day’s first rounds of Pro Sprint racing. To the line stepped two of the greatest paddle athletes on the planet: Michael Booth and Zane Schweitzer to start the man-on-man opening heats.
The APP's signature “M-shaped” course launched racers through the surf zone to the first buoy, for a right hand turn. Then, a sprint back to the beach where they would - with board in hand - run through the APP arch, race back out through the break to the second left shoulder buoy turn before they rode the swell back to the beach for a sprint finish.
This unique racing format offered multiple upsets, missed waves and crashes to make for an afternoon’s intense racing scene. In short, it was quite a ride.
It was clear from the beginning that Denmark’s Casper Steinfath had his sights set on victory. But giving chase and a lot of possibility included Connor Baxter who is looking fit and strong after his gold medal win at the Pan American Games in Peru a few weeks ago. France’s Arthur Arutkin also clearly wanted to protect his 2018 APP World Title from the Dane with a powerful presence throughout the day. And, into their midst, exploded Martin Vitry who’s notable strength and stamina kept him close on the leaders throughout the event.
The First Round began the action with the men’s finishers sprinting through the APP arch with times of 4:30 (Casper Steinfath) and 4:40 (Arthur Arutkin), but Martin Vitry threw down the challenge and dropped the heat scores dramatically with his 4:07:85 finish. We knew the heat was on.
The Quarter Finals saw Connor Baxter and Michael Booth go head-to-head in a dramatic round of close triumph as the two bumped boards throughout the race course until the final wave to the beach which ended in Connor's win over Boothie in a foot race up the sand. Connor's final time: 4:03:07.
Next, Casper Steinfath raced his Quarter Final heat at 4:07:11 over Guillerme Dos Reis and Noic Garioid who had such an outstanding performance at the London SUP Open. However, vast ocean experience and open water skill gave the Dane the edge to put him out in front for the win.
In his Quarter Final heat, we saw young Christian Anderson dominate the course with a searing 4:07:02 to advance. And in the final heat, Arthur Arutikin held off David Leao and Martin Vitry with a 4:04:24 to move into the Semi Final Rounds.
Advancing into the Semis, Connor took down a stacked heat with Casper, Guiherme and Michael Booth and dropped the heat scores still further with a 3:50:86 finish looking like the man to beat in the Finals. Arthur Arutkin made sure to triumph in his heat over Martin Vitry, Christian Anderson and Zane Schweitzer in order to advance as well.
Toes on the sand for the Final and their 4th Sprint Race of the day were Denmark’s Casper Steinfath, France’s Martin Vitry, Frenchman Arthur Arutkin and Connor Baxter from the USA. The horn sounded and all four shot out past the rising swell to round the first buoy. It was any man’s race as Casper reached the buoy first but Connor bumped shoulders in order to get around with Martin and Arthur about a half board length behind. Back to the beach and through the arch, Casper and Connor chased the win.
On the final leg, the sprint king from Denmark had edged out some space for himself, but when Connor and Martin caught a small bump out the back, the crowd roared. Casper dug in and lengthened his stroke to stay out in front and get to the beach. Connor became unbalanced and fell off in the surf. Young Martin Vitry gave chase and took 2nd while Arthur Arutkin came charging through the surf to take 3rd place with Connor Baxter finishing 4th.
Your Men’s Top 5:
1st Place: Casper Steinfath 2nd Place: Martin Vitry 3rd Place: Arthur Arutkin 4th Place: Connor Baxter 5th Place: Guilherme Dos Reis
The fastest heat score for the day goes to Casper Steinfath in the Semi Finals at: 3:50
Stay tuned to appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
The Women’s Sprint races showcased a fantastic field of ladies each of whom have the speed and fitness level to become an APP champion. From Seychelle Webster, whose speed and power dominated both the sprints and distance racing at this year’s 2019 London SUP Open, to April Zilg who’s fitness level is at an all-time impressive high, world champion Fiona Wylde who recently won the Columbia Gorge Challenge, Annie Reickert of Hawaii who won last year’s Sprint Championships in a massive show of speed and effort, to Shae Foudy, the APP 2018 World Champion recently back from an abdominal injury that has kept her on the sidelines this year to date.