Spanish Dark Horse Espe Barreras Shakes Up the Women’s SUP Race Hierarchy at the Corsica Paddle Trophy

36 year old Spanish dark horse Esperanza Barreras has just hit again and this time her performance could possibly be a game-changing home run in the women’s SUP racing field.  “Why?” you may ask. Well, the already ISA SUP Worlds double gold medalist from the December 2019 competition in El Salvador was fighting against two multi-time ISA / ICF / Molokai / APP world champions, German powerhouse Sonni Hönscheid and French do-it-all Olivia Piana, the two women leading the international rankings the last time we checked. It all happened this weekend, live on TotalSUP, over 3 days of frenzy competition in Corsica, at the now internationally established Corsica Paddle Trophy, a multi-craft event open to elite and amateur racers and with some of the world’s best race paddlers in SUP, Prone paddleboard, Surfski and Outrigger categories. Only 2 years onto the SUP Race scene and “Espe”, the now Starboard international backed Spaniard, is taking the high-speed lane to the top of the ranks.

Hello Espe, congratulations on your huge victory this past weekend at the Corsica Paddle Trophy. Since we know little about you, can you please introduce yourself?

Hi Mathieu, I am Espe Barreras from Spain. I am 36 years old. I was born in Galicia but I moved to Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands, 8 years ago. Since I was young, my life has been related with the ocean. In my family, the sea has always been a passion and I spent my childhood sailing on the ocean, windsurfing… in the outdoors. I studied Marine Oceanography, but my love for Nature has led me to work as a Sailing Coach for many years.

What is your sport and SUP race background to this day?

My “first” sport as competitor was Sailing. I have been part of the Spanish Sailing Team at several European and World Championships. In 2012, I decided to move to Fuerteventura looking for nice weather (and waves) and new experiences. There, I was introduced to SUP with the help of Iballa Ruano, who is a world reference athlete. Soon I started enjoing on regional and national Races…and also competing on SUP surf as well.

In 2019, I meet Oscar Ruiz and his fun training method (ORtraining) turning all his athletes into watermen and waterwomen. We connect with this kind of training: swimming, running, surfing, stretching….in one word…Enjoying sports with a huge element of excitement.
Since I met him, Oscar has pushed me (and many other riders) to win the Spanish Nationals and earn my very first place in the to ISA SUP & Paddleboard World Championship in El Salvador in 2019.
My goal to qualify for the ISA Worlds was already achieved, so I went to El Salvador only thinking about enjoying my dream come true,  and I got 2 Gold Medals on Long Distance and Technical Race. There the Spanish Team did a great result as Silver Medal.

You’ve just won the Corsica Paddle Trophy in your first confrontation with the 2 multiple world champions, Sonni Hönscheid and Olivia Piana, how does that sink in for you?

To keep motivated was not easy this year due to the worldwide COVID situation with so many races canceled. We decided to come to Corsica Paddle Trophy to compete with the best world riders: Sonni Honscheid’s class, Olivia Piana’s talent, Susak Molinero’s speed… and all the European competitiors.
It was an intense weekend enjoyed on the water with 4 races, and surprisingly I got 3 wins. In the end, I was double Champion on Corsica PAddle Trophy and EuroTour Corsica (my first win on a EuroTour evet after a couple of podiums in 2019)

Before coming, I wasn’t expected these results at all. This summer we’ve been training but also adapting to new event calendars every week about the COVID situation. We hope the social and sanitary situation will get better and everything goes back to “normal” soon.

Can you detail your whole experience at the Corsica Paddle Trophy?

After a season with no races, I think it’s important to thank the effort that has been put towards carrying out this event. I was stocked to see 150 riders: SUP elite, SUP Amateur, OC1, Surfski and prone on the start line. The island of Corsica offers all the conditions for all riders.

The race courses were great and really tricky. On the same races we had open water, sidewind, flatwater, downwind and we had to adapt to all these  conditions. Challenging but really fun!!

You’ve been sponsored by Starboard international for a bit more than a year now. Tell us about your relationship with the Tiki brand.

Yes, since this season Starboard supports me both locally through Jorcani the Spain distributor and internationally. I am really thankful for this. The entire Tiki family are ocean lovers, and we share all these values like respect for the environment, enjoying life on the water, being in connection with nature… it’s a way of life!

What Starboard equipment do you use? Do you have already your  2021 gear?

Actually, I am already riding with my new 2021 gear. I am using the All Star, the Sprint & the Ace as well as the Lima paddles.

I`m stoked with this new models:
2021 Allstar 14 x 22.5
2021 Sprint 14 x 19.75
2021 Ace 14 x 23

These boards improve my performance at every race. They are rockets!

Tell us about your ocean life split between Canarias, Cantabria and Galicia.

I love all three places. Canarias and Galicia & Cantabria.
The Canaries is a paradise in winter with many friends, warm weather, good waves and a quiet life. All-day in the water!! The ORtraning group has its doors open to all International & Amateur riders to train together in Fuerteventura.
I have spent this summer in Cantabria & Galicia with my family, and a lot of perfect surfing days and never ending SUP sessions.
The perfect balance is the summer season on the Spanish mainland… and also enjoying Fuerteventura all year round.


Espe Barreras on Instagram:
Corsical Paddle Trophy:
Starbaord website :

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

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