Ten minutes with Duna Gordillo, the NSP Superstar SUP Racer

10 Jun 2023

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Duna Gordillo, the NSP International SUP Racing Team rider had an outstanding 2022 season culminating with a gold medal in the long-distance event at the ISA World Championships in Puerto Rico. On the way to that result, she picked up silver and bronze medals at the ICF World Championships, silver and bronze at the European championships and a gold at the Spanish national championships in the sprint. A set of results that any Elite paddler would be proud of! TotalSUP were lucky to catch up with Duna in a break from her busy racing and studying schedule.

Duna in action at the EuroTour. Image – Madeira SUP Island Challenge

Hi Duna, welcome back to TotalSUP. For new readers to the site can we start with a quick recap of how you think your 2022 season went?

Hi, thank you so much. I think that the year 2022 has been a great year for me. I started the season with the EuroTour races with very good results, which I didn’t expect at the beginning. I continued training throughout the year focused on the ICF World Championship in Poland, and later in my last competition, the ISA World Championship in Puerto Rico, where I finished with the best possible result for me.

NSP just dropped a short video featuring Duna and her NSP Race boards, here is the Word Champion talking SUP

At the start of 2023 you signed with the NSP International Team, moving up to Elite from their youth development team, it must feel good to be able to stay with the team and equipment that you have been using to win?

I feel fortunate to be able to stay with the NSP International team, and grateful for all the help and support I am receiving. Regarding the NSP boards, I’ve been using them for a long time and I’ve always felt very good with them and they are the ones that best suit my needs.

Duna powering her way to a EuroTour win. Image – Madeira SUP Island Challenge

And if we asked you which is your favourite board, which one would you choose?

I think each of the NSP boards are perfect for the conditions they are made for. But, if I have to highlight one of them, it would be the Ninja, as it has been the board with which I won all my biggest races in 2022, and with which I felt most comfortable because it has been the board that I have trained the most during the whole year.

Duna approaching the finish at the Carolina Cup – Image @HendyStreet

This season I started to train more with the Carolina, and it has been a great discovery for me. So, now I could say that my Carolina is my favourite board.

Becoming a world champion at the start of your career is a huge achievement, are things any different now when you line up at the start of a race?

Becoming World Champion at the beginning of my career was a great prize for me, but I don’t think it affects the whole journey ahead of me. I continue to take the races as I’ve always done, and obviously, there’s always some nerves but nothing to do with pressure.

Looking back at your 2022 season it is clear that you love racing with awesome results in everything from 200m sprints to long-distance, in an earlier interview with TotalSUP you said that you prefer the technical races, with your success at longer distances have you changed your mind? Will we see you line up for the 11-Cities one day?

Since I was a child, technical races are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, whether it’s the short distance, the buoy turns or the waves. But it’s true that in recent years, as I’ve been training more for longer distances, it’s become the modality that I’m best at. Even so, I consider that I will always love sprints and technical races. The 11- Cities, is a competition that I have in mind because I like to innovate and try new things.

Staying with distance paddling you recently took part in your first Carolina Cup, one of the most iconic races on the calendar. Can you talk us through your race, your preparation leading up to it and the race itself?

The Carolina Cup is a race I’ve always had in mind and this year it was already in my plans. It has been for me an incredible experience since I’ve been able to know another place and other people. In addition, I had never done a race of this type, since I’ve never paddled so many kilometres, but the truth is that I felt very good and I loved doing it. My preparation for the Carolina Cup was the same as my other races.

Touchdown! Duna and her NSP Carolina at the Carolina Cup – Image @HendyStreet

Board choice must have been easy – an NSP Carolina, right?

Yes, as the name suggests, I believe that the best board to do this race is the Carolina, as the conditions are usually rough seas and some waves.

Your season started really well with silver medals at the first two rounds of the EuroTour and the bronze at the Carolina Cup. Where are you going next, back to Europe for more racing?

Yes, I am very happy with the start of my season. After these races, I went to the Spanish national long-distance championship, which went really well! I won my first national title at that distance. Then I travelled to the third Euro Tour race, in Madeira which was hard but I ended with a victory.

Winning the Spanish national championships is a fantastic result for a paddler who started as a sprinter, congratulations! Where are you racing next?

Thank you! The next competitions I’m going to do are two of the Euro Tour rounds, in France and Germany, plus the APP race in Portugal. And then I will focus on the most important events for me,  the ICF and ISA World Championships.

At races spectators never really see what goes on behind the scenes, can you give readers some idea of how much work goes into getting to the start line of a major race?

I think that having competed since I was very young, putting myself at the start of a race is not so difficult now. Of course, I always have nerves, and I think they are good because it means that you have trained and you want to do well. The work that I have behind me has always been both training and competing a lot.

Duna Gordillo on her NSP Ninja. Image – Madeira SUP Island Challenge

With so many different races, how do you choose which board to take to each event, do NSP take a lot of that strain away from you with their support by organizing board transport for their athletes?

NSP always try to provide me with boards at the races, but also my club helps me a lot since we go to many of the national races in a van with a trailer, so I can decide which board to take. Sometimes I have gone to races where I have not taken the right board, but even so, I have always done well.

SUP Racing right now is super-exciting with a fantastic mix of established names and a lot of incredibly talented younger riders like you competing for the win at every race. What would your advice be to younger paddlers who want to take their paddling to the next level?

For me, as I always say, the important thing is to keep enjoying the sport and not go into a competition thinking about the position you’re going to get. Of course, it’s very important to be constant in both training and racing and also to be competitive.

This season NSP signed several younger racers, you, Bodie, Blue and Christian for example, really boosting their squad and confirming their investment in the sport for years to come. How does it feel to be a major part of their superstar line up and do you get to meet your teammates often for training camps or to talk about developments in your equipment?

I am very grateful and happy to be part of this team, not only for the quality of the boards but also for the good treatment and the help I get. I get along very well with my teammates, and we usually see more of each other at the races. I think we are a great team and we work very well together.

Duna Gordillo – 2022 ISA World Champion. Image – Madeira SUP Island Challenge

Looking into the future, what are your ambitions within the sport?

My goals with this sport are mainly to continue enjoying myself and travelling to races in new places As for competitions, I would like to keep doing good races and stay competitive.

Last question – is there a question that you wish someone would ask you in an interview but, up to now, no one has?

Well, not yet! I can’t think of anything questions right now, because everyone usually ask me all kinds of questions.

Thank you, Duna. It is great to get to know you a little better and I am sure we will see you on the pages of TotalSUP soon. You can follow Duna on her Instagram Channel  and you can keep up with all things NSP through their social media on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and on the NSP website.

About the Author

Chris Jones

Chris is the driving force behind SUP My Race, a distance challenge group for Stand Up Paddlers on Facebook. He is a super-keen paddler who has been on the water for nearly 10 years now and shows no sign of stopping. When he isn’t logging data on his laptop he can be found on the lakes and coastal waters in south west Sweden.

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