Brazil’s Lena Ribeiro and USA’s Connor Baxter Claim Historic Pan American SUP Racing Gold Medals

Posted - News Posted for ISA News, World Surfing News.

 USA’s Candice Appleby earns Women’s Silver and Puerto Rico’s Maricarmen Rivera earns Bronze

Brazil’s Vinnicius Martins earns Men’s Silver and Peru’s Itzel Delgado earns Bronze

Argentina’s Santiago Muñiz and Leandro Usuna prevail in Shortboard elimination rounds, set to face off for a guaranteed podium finish

Brazil’s Lena Ribeiro and USA’s Connor Baxter made SUP Racing history on Friday morning by being crowned the first-ever Pan American Games Gold Medalists for the sport of Surfing and SUP.

USA’s Connor Baxter soaks in the glory of becoming the first Men’s SUP Racing Pan American Games Gold Medalist in history.

USA’s Connor Baxter soaks in the glory of becoming the first Men’s SUP Racing Pan American Games Gold Medalist in history.

Ribeiro and Baxter became the first Gold Medalists of the Surfing competition at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, marking an important milestone for the ISA’s years of growth and development of the discipline.

“This is the greatest experience!” said Baxter. “What an opportunity that the ISA has provided us SUP racers.

“To be a part of an event of this size with thousands of athletes from all over the Americas and win the Gold has changed my life forever.

“Surfing is where our SUP culture belongs. This is where our people are. This is Surfing. We were catching waves. It might be a 14-foot longboard, but we are still surfing.”

Connor Baxter navegates the shorebreak at the tail end of the Men's SUP Race. Photo: Latinwabve

Connor Baxter (USA) navegates the shorebreak at the tail end of the Men’s SUP Race. Photo: Latinwave

Rounding out the Women’s podium were USA’s four-time ISA World Champion Candice Appleby with the Silver Medal and Puerto Rico’s Maricarmen Rivera with the Bronze Medal.

Brazil’s Vinnicius Martins earned the Men’s Silver Medal, followed by Peru’s Itzel Delgado with the Bronze.

“I can’t believe it!” said Ribeiro. “I knew that I had to catch a wave to pass Candice (Appleby) and win.

“When I crossed the line I heard ‘Congrats!’ and that’s when I realized that I finished first. I have no words to explain the feeling. It’s amazing.”

Brazil’s Lena Ribeiro enjoys the moment – earning the first Gold Medal of the Surfing competition at the Pan Ams.

Brazil’s Lena Ribeiro enjoys the moment – earning the first Gold Medal of the Surfing competition at the Pan Ams.

The SUP Racing course was a five kilometer, three lap race that challenged the best SUP racers of the Americas with a thrilling section through the surf zone at Punta Rocas. The overhead waves and open ocean portions allowed the surfers to show their all-around surfing and racing skillsets.

In the Women’s race, USA’s Appleby built a strong lead heading into the final stretch towards the beach sprint finish. However, an untimely set of waves knocked Appleby off her board and allowed Ribeira to overtake the lead and finish in a time of 33 minutes and 25 seconds for the Gold Medal.

Appleby crossed the finish line 38 seconds off the pace for Silver and Rivera followed 1 minute and 13 seconds behind Gold with the Bronze.

In the Men’s SUP race USA’s Baxter leveraged his smart surfing skills and world-class paddling to build an insurmountable advantage through the waves at Punta Rocas.

Baxter maneuvered masterfully through the final shorebreak section to earn Gold in a time of 24 minutes and 18 seconds.

Brazil’s Martins crossed the finish line 1 minute and 33 seconds off the pace with the Silver Medal.

The Bronze Medal position came down to a sprint between Peru’s Delgado and Colombia’s Giorgio Gomez. Delgado nudged out Gomez by two tenths of a second, precisely recorded by wearable electronic chips, to claim a podium finish for Peru.

The Men’s SUP Medalists show their camaraderie. Left to right: Itzel Delgado (PER), Connor Baxter (USA), and Vinnicius Martins (BRA).

The Men’s SUP Medalists show their camaraderie. Left to right: Itzel Delgado (PER), Connor Baxter (USA), and Vinnicius Martins (BRA).

Shortboard, Longboard, and SUP Surfing followed the SUP races with more excitement at Punta Rocas.

The top shortboard performances were from Argentina’s teammates Santiago Muñiz and Leandro Usuna, both of whom possess two ISA World Surfing Games Titles.

Muñiz’s 14.16 was the best of the Men’s Shortboard and Usuna’s 13.40 was second best.

Both competitors defeated Costa Ricans in their Repechage Rounds, with Usuna taking down Noe Mar McGonagle and Muñiz taking out Anthony Fillingim. The Argentine teammates will now face off in the next Repechage Round, looking to earn a spot in the Repechage Final and a guaranteed spot on the podium.

The four remaining Shortboard Men in Gold Medal contention are Muñiz, Usuna, Peru’s Lucca Mesinas, and El Salvador’s Bryan Perez.

The four remaining Shortboard Women are Mexico’s Shelby Detmers, Argentina’s Ornella Pellizzari, Peru’s Daniella Rosas, and Ecuador’s Dominic Barona.

Two of these eight surfers mentioned are likely to become the Pan Am qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which awards a qualification slot to the top finishing eligible man and woman.

The top Longboard performers of the day were Uruguay’s Julian Schweizer and Peru’s Maria Fernanda Reyes. Schweizer scored 15.10 points and Reyes notched 13.97 points to come within one heat of a guaranteed medal.

The top performance of the day came from Colombia’s SUP surfer Giorgio Gomez, who had finished fourth in the SUP race earlier in the day. Gomez’s 16.07 heat total was the best among all division.

Brazil’s past ISA SUP Surfing World Champion Nicole Pacelli had the highest mark in the Women’s SUP Division with a heat total of 13 points.

Women's SUP Race getting underway at Punta Rocas. Photo: Latinwave

Women’s SUP Race getting underway at Punta Rocas. Photo: Lima 2019

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“SUP Racing delivered everything we hoped for and more today at the Pan Ams. Energy, excitement, and youth defined an action-packed pair of races that will be remembered as the first to ever crown Pan American Gold Medalists in the history of the sport.

“The world’s best showed that they are surfers and they belong in a surfing environment, especially given the success of the sport’s debut today in the Pan Am Games. Everyone that witnessed this event today can certainly attest to SUP Racing’s tie to the Surfing family, where it was born.

“We are now heading into the home stretch with more medals to be awarded, dreams to be fulfilled, and passion to be expressed in the ocean as we crown more continental Gold Medalists on Sunday.”

The Lima 2019 Pan Am Games are being broadcast live July 30 – August 4. To find out where and when you can watch, check the listing with the respective Lima 2019 broadcast rightsholder in your country.

Live scoring and results will be available on the homepage of www.isasurf.org as well as on the Lima 2019 surfing web page.

Competition continues Saturday with Longboard, Shortboard and SUP Surfing.

About the International Surfing Association:

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, Para 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; World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and World Para Surfing Champions in 2015.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes’ Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.

Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).