The APP World Tour returns to Korea from 13th – 14th May for the 2023 SUP Asian Championshiphosted by the APP’s Korean partners, KAPP. The event will take place in the Capital City of Seoul, providing a new, exciting venue for athletes from all over Asia and the world.
In the run up to this highly anticipated event, TotalSUP caught up with Andrew Park, CEO of KAPP, to find out more about the championships and what’s in store.
Hi Andrew, welcome to TotalSUP and let’s dive right in… What’s the vision behind the 2023 SUP Asian Championship Seoul?
The KAPP started the first event in June 2022 with the APP Asian Qualifier followed by the main event in September, the APP WORLD TOUR BUSAN SUP OPEN, which is being recognized as benchmark event in SUP history.
Andrew Park, CEO of KAPP
By holding Asia’s first SUP Asian Championship on May 13-14, the KAPP continues to offer the community the opportunity to gather and challenge themselves, whether it be against local or international athletes. Another important point is that stand-up paddleboarding is a sport accessible to everyone, regardless of their skills, gender or age and we believe the competitions we host should reflect that diversity. However, it is not easy for athletes to travel the world to attend different events and organising an event in the heart of Seoul is a meaningful way to progress the sport and increase its accessibility to the community.
Could you tell us more about KAPP (Korean Association of Paddlesurf Professionals) and your partnership with the APP World Tour?
In partnership with the APP, the world renowned international SUP association that is recognized and sanctioned by the IOC Federation for Surfing Sports, the ISA (International Surfing Association), as the Official Professional World Championship Tour for the sport of stand-up paddleboarding, the KAPP has been established to develop and promote the sport of and SUP lifestyle with a focus towards Korea.
Busan SUP Open event was a great success and raised the bar high! The event has been selected as one of the top 100 K-Culture Tourism event for 2023-2024, congratulations! Could you tell us more about the organisational side of the event of this format and your partners?
As you can imagine, hosting an international event is not an easy task and that requires a lot of preparation and dedication. The KAPP team and our partners worked hard for months to prepare the first edition of the BUSAN SUP OPEN in 2022.
During the process, we faced several issues such as the COVID situation, a typhoon that destroyed the event site just few days before the start, to mention just few challenges but we are honoured and proud to have received such recognition at both national and international level.
That gives us an additional energy boost and motivation to make the 2023 edition even better!
Many people that could not attend the event in 2022 are really looking forward to come this year, whether to participate in the event or simply to feel its vibe and experience the lifestyle. You are also all invited for the 2023 edition of the BUSAN SUP OPEN held on the 7-9 October (more details to follow) and we look forward to seeing you there!
Who is the 2023 SUP Asian Championship aimed for? Can anyone attend?
This event offers everyone the possibility to participate, regardless of their skills, with not only races suited for professional athletes but also competitions suited for amateurs, students and first timers.
Again, SUP is a sport accessible to everyone, regardless of skills, gender or age and we believe the competitions we host should reflect that diversity.
What can participants expect in terms of weather conditions and the race course?
The event offers two different kind of races on the Han River in the heart of Seoul. On Saturday, a 300m technical sprints will take place while Sunday will offer different lengths in the Distance race (1km, 3km, 6km and 9km). The conditions are looking good for the weekend as at the moment it’s partly cloudy with temperatures around 20-25degrees.
How has your local SUP scene grown and developed over the years?
Even though we hosted only two international events to date (APP Qualifiers & Busan SUP Open in 2022) we are glad to see that the past events were a success and that more and more people are impatient to see what is coming next.
The KAPP is working hard to support and keep growing the community with focus on the future and more and more people are interested in the sport of stand-up paddleboarding and the Korean community keeps going from strength to strength.
Could you tell us more about the social and cultural side of the event? What can participants expect outside of the competitive side?
Different events and activities are scheduled including SUP clinics, a pump foiling event, a guided tour of Seoul, a senior model contest, a lucky draw, a petanque tournament and more!
Could you share a sneak peek of who (among elite paddlers) has confirmed their participation already?
Among confirmed athletes are Koman Natapat (Thailand), Yoshida Ryohei (Japan) Rai Taguchi (Japan), Daniel Hasulyo (Hungary) to name just few!
Thank you very much for your time and we’re looking forward to tuning in to this epic event!
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