Updated: May 19, 2019
London, UK, Saturday 17th May 2019:
The London SUP Open broke wide open today with heated performances on the Thames River where athletes crossed the finish line mere tenths of seconds apart to set the bar for a competitive 2019 SUP racing season on the APP World Tour.
Lining up under perhaps the most spectacular start line in history with the majestic London Tower Bridge looming overhead, APP Tour athletes -both men & women - charged off the start and into a new season ahead.
In a clear bid for dominance, both Seychelle Webster and Lina Augaitis came out roaring with amazing performances on the River Thames for the Pro Distance race and the 2019 London SUP Open.
At the starting gun, Fiona Wylde lept out in front for the women, taking advantage of passing boat wake to put herself 20 yards in the lead. Augaitis quickly reeled her in and postitioned herself at the top of the women's draft train setting a hard pace which would endure for the remainder of the course.
It is refreshing to see Augaitis back in full form after taking a haitus to raise her two children. Her unwaivering athleticism, drive and commitment to both paddling style and force clearly puts her back on top of the leaderboard as we saw in her outstanding performance today.
The lead ground, led by Lina, included other dominant forces of nature including Fiona Wylde, Candice Appleby, April Zilg, Annie Reickert and Seychelle Webster. The women paddled down current along the Thames and streamed past Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and under Westminister Bridge in a fast pace that often ran at 8-minutes per mile.
"It was a fast race," reports Seychelle Webster.. "We had the current pushing us along at a good cllip. At the 10k mark I made a surge to try to take the lead, but Lina and Fiona would have none of it."
In those final yards, it boiled down to an all out sprint between Webster, Augaitis and Wylde driving, stroke for stroke ,to cross beneath the finishing arch. After a photo finish review, Seychelle was awarded the win by less than half a second, Lina in second and Fiona Wylde in third.
The Men's Distance Race along the Thames River was no less an unprecedented showcase of incredible talent and a field of pure competitive fire. In perhaps the most stacked lineup yet for the 2019 season, the APP World Tour solicited massive displays of performance in Titouan Puyo, Lincoln Dews, Michael Booth, Connor Baxter, the Hasulyo Brothers and returning APP World Champion, Arthur Arutkin.
Also, pushing the pack were the fiery strokes of Martin Vitry, Itzel Delgado, Noic Garioud, the Nika brothers and Tom Auber. Japan's Kenny Kaneko, Boris Jinvresse, and Blue Ewer and Tyler Bashor also rounded out the top 20.
"It was tight at the front the whole way," says Michael Booth. "And, it could’ve been anyone’s race. I tried my hand a few times at getting away, but to no avail and it came down to a sprint finish."
After Boothy and Bruno's battle at the Carolina Cup, spectators knew to look for a match up again between the two. At the starting gun, the pack surged out onto the historic waters in a wake-filled washy mix before settling into a draft train with Bruno Hasulyo up front, pulling Booth, Puyo, Dews along with the rest of the pack.
"I had to race differently to what I normally do," reports Booth, "I waited patiently and attacked just before the finish arch."
In those furious final seconds on the Men's Distance course, it was a passionate drive for the finish. In the end, Booth's massive power pulled him through the APP arches first, followed tightly by Lincoln Dews, Titouan Puyo, both Hasulyo brothers and Arthur Arutkin - mere tenths of a second separating the Top 5.
In an afternoon at the Hackney Marshes, where the Hackney Fitness Festival began to ramp up with multiple opportunities to sweat from cycling classes, to dance and registration for the half marathon (expecting 20,000 participants on Sunday), the APP World Tour's City Paddle Festivals held a series of events for public participation.
These Open racing events and public exploratory paddles along the canals of Hackney Marshes wrapped up Day #1 of the London SUP Open with rays of good cheer and fun-filled laughter along the canals.
For the Open SUP Racing divisions, race director Anthony Vela - who also presided over the Pro race course in the AM - kept the spirit light and energy high for the 9KM, 6KM, 3KM and 1KM courses in the afternoon.
Participants were worthy and gave their all at each course, often cheering each other on and celebrating the tribe that is stand up paddling.
In the 9KM course, Jamie Ward crossed the finish line in first place and kept the stoke so high he later competed in (and won) the 1KM sprint race to finish up his day. Sarah Cole, traveling all the way from Barbados for the London SUP Open, takes home the women's victory in that event. Congrats to all!
The 6KM course held the highest participation for the City Paddle Festival's Open Divisions. Frank Bauer took home first place, followed by Mathias Tschoegl in 2nd and Edmund Milnes in 3rd. Minna Harrison walked away with the Women's 6KM overall win.
In the 3KM, the compeition was strong even though two of the paddlers participating had never raced before and only been on SUPs a handful of times. Race director Anthony Vela gave tips before the course and followed the pack in a safety boat to cheer them on.
These Top 3 intrepid paddler winners include:
1st place - Polly Henriques 2nd place - Mandy Johnson 3rd place - Sonya Hurtado
Congratulations to EVERY PADDLER who stepped on the waters today in the canals for bringing such good spirit, performance and fun to the afternoon's races. This is the core of the sport of stand up paddling. We support every single one of YOU.
For more information on the London SUP Open and the APP please go to appworldtour.com and across social channels @appworldtour and for more on tickets and general schedule info for the Hackney Festival of Fitness, please go to virginsport.com/hackney
The APP is proud to host Exploratory Paddles down the Canal with the U.K.'s own Lizzie Carr all weekend as part of the festivities at the London SUP Open. Lizzie is a popular paddler/activist who uses paddleboarding as a way to bring people to the water to teach them about the plight of single use plastics.
All weekend long, participants can sign up for a chance to paddle with Lizzie along the canals at Hackney Marshes, collect debris, document it through photographs and Lizzie's own 'Plastic Patrol' app which categorizes findings and works with research teams to analyze where the plastic is coming from and who is responsible.
It is a fun, informative way to get on the water and Lizzie's passion for education (and fun!) make this a great way to discover what you can do to be a part of the solution by becoming a member of Plastic Patrol in your own neighborhood.
In addition to the Clinics, Lizzie will take part in a Q&A on the stage and premiere a new documentary on her adventure down the Hudson last year in conjuunction with the APP's New York SUP Open.
There are STILL a few spots left! Come join us in Hackney for a weekend to remember and sign up for tickets for a whole range of activities at the Hackney Festival of Fitness at www.virginsport.com/hackney
The APP World Tour is the Professional World Championship Tour for the Sport of Paddlesurfing (also known as SUP / Stand Up Paddling / Paddleboarding), officially sanctioned by the IOC recognized Federation for Surfing Sports, the ISA (International Surfing Association). Re-branded in 2017 as the APP World Tour (previously known as the Stand Up World Tour and Series) the APP has been crowning the sport’s World Champions for both Men & Women across Racing and Surfing since 2010.
The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and Fox Sports Asia & Australia. More Information is available at www.appworldtour.com and fans can follow events @appworldtour on Facebook & Instagram. For more information on the APP’s City Paddle Festivals please visit www.citypaddlefestivals.com.
The APP World Tour™ is a registered trademark and wholly owned subsidiary of Waterman League International.