Yster SUP Rider and ultra endurance Champ Göran Gustavsson returns to Florida for the Last Paddler Standing Title

“As the official board of the Last Paddler Standing, I am proud to have two of the world’s most accomplished endurance paddlers in the race. The Yster Team paddlers Göran Gustavsson and Craig Sawyer embody the spirit of resilience and determination with their impressive mental stamina—qualities crucial for success in the Last Paddler Standing race. In this race, it’s the mindset of the paddlers that ultimately determines the finish line,” said Per Vallbo, Founder and CEO of Yster SUP, the premium Swedish SUP brand based in Malmö.

On the eve of this unique endurance SUP race, kicking off on Saturday, 2 December at the Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida (9am local time), TotalSUP caught up with Göran “Gossa” Gustavsson, Ultra Endurance Paddler and Yster SUP Team Rider, who came 5th last year completing 40 laps (with Paolo Marconi claiming the title after 48 laps).

Anything can come into play during the 2nd edition, from heat exhaustion (many paddlers are travelling from Europe that has been already hit by a cold snap) to simple strategic miscalculations.

“I’m a bit nervous before this one but I also know what to expect. The race starts at 48 hours! Before that it’s just about moving to get to those 48 hours and then the race starts. I did 40 hours last year but I struggled with the food again so I have to plan it well,” said Göran in our last interview.

Photos by Janine Schaien Fotografie

Hi Göran, we’re catching up as you’re already acclimatizing in Florida. This is an ultra-endurance race like no other… What’s appealing for you personally about the Last Paddler Standing?

It’s still an ultra long-distance paddle race but the big different is that it’s is nothing like the rest of them. The starting point and the finish point is always the same and it’s really cool. This race is also more than a race! I think that the crew as well as the paddlers have a good time as it’s also a social event where you can paddle, talk to others and share your experience as you go, share a live history!

This race starts after 48hrs of racing essentially… What comes into play after that? Do paddlers need a strategy or is it pure grind?

The funny thing is last year that the winning time was 48 hours so no one has actually gone through with more than those 48 hours. This year no one really knows what will happen when after 48hours we’ll go from 5.3 km to about 8 km. Are we going to do that in an hour so hopefully this year we’ll make it and then we can tell you what’s happening after those 48 hours. The first lap of the race is stressful and you have to plan it and know what you’re doing but at the same time we have a good time!

What’s your board set up?

I’ll be racing the Yster ISUP 14’x 25″ Linear.

What are your expectations this year?

I do have a goal… I didn’t fly all the way to Florida to not have the goal to be the Last Paddler Standing.

Thank you for your time Göran – Keep adding those laps and good luck!

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*Images courtesy of Göran Gustavsson

About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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