Repechage Rounds narrow field, world’s best SUP surfers look ahead to solid swell
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The second day of SUP Surfing competition at the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship set the stage for a historic final day of competition to run on Saturday, November 19, the first ISA SUP Surfing Final ever to be held in Fiji.
The elimination Repechage Rounds ran on Monday, narrowing the field of competitors who are looking ahead to a highly anticipated swell that is predicted to arrive with force for the Finals at the end of the week.
Monday morning kicked off with continued glassy conditions in a declining swell at Fiji’s world-renowned left hander, Cloudbreak. Men’s and Women’s Repechage took to the water as the international field of competitors faced off to keep their dreams of winning the Gold Medal alive.
In the Women’s Repechage Rounds, Australia’s Shakira Westdorp got back on track after an unexpected exit from the Main Event on Sunday, marking the highest heat total for the women on the day with 10.83. Westdorp, a 5-time ISA Medalist in SUP Surfing and Technical Race, spoke about the meaning of holding an international SUP event of this scale in Fiji.
“Cloudbreak is one of the best waves in the world and it’s a huge step forward for the growth of SUP. This event allows the world’s best SUP surfers to have the opportunity to surf in these amazing waves.
“I am a fan of the decision to move the Finals to Saturday. It’s a world title event with the best in the world, so to have the best conditions is ideal.”
In the following Repechage heat, Spain’s Iballa Ruano put on a gutsy performance and advanced through the day with a brace on her knee after taking a nasty fall on the reef the previous day. Unfortunately, Iballa’s run came to an end in Repechage Round 4 where she was overcome by Brazil’s Nicole Pacelli and France’s Carolina Angibaud.
Spain’s Iballa Ruano battles through a knee injury sustained on Cloudbreak’s shallow reef and advances through Repechage Round 3. Despite the inspiring performance, her run came to an end in Repechage Round 4. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed
On the Men’s side of the Repechage Rounds, France’s Jeremy Massiere was the stand out performer, earning the highest male heat total of 14.38. Massiere battled through two rounds of Repechage to survive to surf on the epic final day.
The Women’s Main Event followed, where the Main Event Semifinalists were decided. Japan’s Yuka Horikoshi, USA’s Izzi Gomez, Tahiti’s Karelle Popkke, and Peru’s Brissa Malaga finished in the top two positions and advanced one step closer to the Grand Final.
Coach of Team Hawaii, Matty Schweitzer, spoke about the historic nature of this event in the SUP community.
“This event being in Fiji makes it groundbreaking for the sport. I have been waiting a long time for a competition like this to come to Cloudbreak and we are excited to be able to show the world how extreme StandUp Paddling can be in bigger surf.”
Towards the end of the day of competition, 13-year-old Finn Spencer from Canada was matched up against his 15-year-old brother, Jeffrey Spencer. In the tricky afternoon conditions, Finn was able to take down his older brother, who he admitted usually gets the better of him, and advance onto the next round of the Repechage.
ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“What another wonderful day at Cloudbreak. Everyone has their eyes set on Saturday when the Finals will be held in a very solid swell. We are going to get to see what we’ve been waiting for, the world’s best SUP surfers laying it all on the line for Gold in one of the world’s best waves.”
“Before we get too excited for the SUP Suring Finals, let’s not forget we have three consecutive days of exhilarating SUP and Paddleboard Racing where Gold Medals will be awarded daily.”
The schedule for the remainder of the competition window is the following:
November 15: Lay Day
November 16: Technical SUP and Paddleboard Races, Cloudbreak
November 17-18: Distance SUP and Paddleboard Races, Cloudbreak to Musket Cove
November 19: SUP Surfing Finals, Cloudbreak
November 20: Relay Races, 500m Sprint and Closing Ceremony, Port Denarau
*Local time in Fiji. Schedule is subject to change.
Tune into the live webcast November 12-20 here: http://isaworlds.com/sup/2016/en/
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 100 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).