SUP-and-Coming Surfer: Alazne Aurrekoetxea

Burgeoning SUP surfer, Alazne Aurrekoetxea, chatted with the APP about the origins of her SUP surfing passion, her first World Tour and her future aspirations for climbing the ranks.

Barbados, APP World Tour, 2019.

At just 23 years old, Alazne has already competed for the Spanish team in the 2019 ISA SUP Championship, where the team claimed a silver medal, as well as having ranked in the top ten on her first APP World Tour in 2019, where at her peak, secured 5th on the New York tour stop.

Alazne has grown up in Sopelana in Spain’s Basque Country, born into a family of waterwomen and watermen, raised by surfer dad and paddler mum alongside her surfer twin brother. When asked about how she was introduced to SUP surfing she tells us, “when I was 12 years old, I started surfing. When I was 16, I tried stand-up paddle racing when it was flat in my hometown, just for training, and competed for the first time when I was 18. Then I thought, I surf, and I can paddle, so why don’t I try stand-up paddle surf?” And the rest was history.

From 19, Alazne began to take SUP surfing more seriously and it took precedent over paddling and surfing. She tells us, “when I started in my hometown it was a really new sport. I remember watching all the girls competing in the waterman league, and thinking I was going to go for it. It was my dream straight away.”

"I remember watching all the girls competing in the waterman league, and thinking I was going to go for it. It was my dream straight away.”

When asked what she had learnt from her first APP World Tour, Alazne shared that “the other girls surf all year with different conditions. Last year I was always training with the same, small waves. I performed the best in New York, as the waves were smaller. I need to learn to surf with different conditions and different waves. This is the key to get to the top.”

The women’s APP World Tour began in 2013 and has since exploded with surfing pioneers such as Izzi Gomez and Iballa Moreno and Alazne has taken inspiration from them. “The level of the girls is growing and growing" she tells us. "Izzi Gomez is my role model, she is a true waterwoman. She surfs with so much power, I really love watching her.”

Fellow APP and ISA competitor, Iballa Moreno, is convinced of Alazne’s immense potential. The 2018 SUP surfing World Champ comments, “I’m really glad she made the tour last year. She has a lot of potential as she is really young. I have been trying to teach her some things, but she can teach me in some ways for sure.”

When competing in her first ISA World Championship in China last year, Alazne befriended Sean Poynter, holder of the 2012 APP world title. During the competition, he gave Alazne some pointers on her technique.

“Sean told me that he loved my style but advised me to use my paddle more and to also change my board, as it was super big for me. He also told me that if I stay motivated, I need to go for it, and I will get it.”

Sean, who coached Alazne last year after the Championship, tells APP that she has some “serious potential.” “What stands out to me most about her is her dedication to wanting to improve,” says Sean. “She’ll get out there, get the tapes, send them in, get the feedback and get back out there and do it all over again. That’s effort, and it’s that work that will set her apart over time.”

Poynter noticed the effects of Alazne’s strict training regimen whilst competing at APP’s Gran Canaria stop of the surfing tour in 2019. Sean tells us, “I saw some really next level backside turns in La Cicer last year when she went near 12’o’clock with some serious power and style. I was really impressed to say the least.”

“I saw some really next level backside turns in La Cicer last year when Alazne went near 12’o’clock with some serious power and style.”

New York, APP World Tour, 2019.

This year, the APP surfing tour begins in Portugal and then moves on to Barbados, with the grand finale in Gran Canaria. When asked about the upcoming tour, Alazne shared that she is “really looking forward to the Portugal stop, as it is near my hometown. The waves are really similar to the waves that I train on, so I am prepared and think I will do well.”

As the 2020 tour gets closer, Alazne aspires to be in the top three. “It is going to be so difficult as the level of the girls is super high, but that is what I am aiming for,” she tells us.

With tips and training from two former world champions and a seemingly insatiable determination, will Alazne be the one to watch on the 2020 world tour? We certainly think so.

Keep up with Alazne and our other athletes on our social media @appworldtour.