Blistering Displays For The First Stop On The APP World Tour: The London SUP Open!

The London SUP Open delivered last weekend in a blistering competition on the Thames. The London SUP Open broke wide open with epic performances on the Thames River. The UK capital hosted a heated competitio where athletes crossed the finish line mere tenths of  seconds apart to set the bar for a competitive 2019 SUP racing season on the APP World Tour!

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

Lining up under perhaps the most spectacular start line in history with the majestic London Tower Bridge looming overhead, both men & women APP Tour athletes charged off the start line and into a new season ahead. In a clear bid for dominance, both Seychelle and Lina Augaitis  came out roaring with amazing performances on the River Thames for the  Pro Distance race and the sprints!  In the men’s competition all the big guns were out, there was a true packed lined up with several past world champions present. But it was young gun Noic Garioud who dominated, is this a sign of things to come?

Fast Paced Womens Race

At the starting gun, Fiona Wylde lept out in front for the women, taking advantage of passing boat wake to put herself 20 metres in the lead. Augaitis quickly reeled her in and postitioning herself at the top  of the women’s draft train setting a hard pace which would endure for  the remainder of the course. It was refreshing to see Augaitis back in full form after taking a  hiatus to raise her two children. Her unwavering athleticism, drive  and commitment to both paddling style and force clearly puts her back on  top of the leader board as we saw in her outstanding performance today.

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

The leading pack was formed led by Lina, included other dominant forces of nature including Fiona Wylde, Candice Appleby, April Zilg, Annie Reickert and  Seychelle. The women cahrged down c stream past Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and under the Westminister Bridge in a fast pace that often ran at 8-minutes per mile. “It was a fast race,” reports Seychelle continuing to add “We had the current  pushing us along at a good clip. At the 10 KM mark I made a surge to try to take the lead, but Lina and Fiona would have none of it.”

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

In those final yards, it boiled down to an all out sprint between Seychelle, Augaitis and Wylde all driving, stroke for stroke, to cross beneath the finishing arch. After a photo finish review, Seychelle was awarded the win by less than half a second, Lina in second and Fiona Wylde in third.

Packed Men’s Line Up!

The Men’s Distance Race along the Thames River was no less an  unprecedented showcase of incredible talent and a field of pure competitive fire. In perhaps the most stacked lineup yet for the 2019  season, the APP World Tour solicited massive displays of performance in T itouan Puyo, Lincoln Dews, Michael Booth, Connor Baxter, the Hasulyo  Brothers and returning APP World Champion, Arthur Arutkin!

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

Also, pushing the pack were the fiery strokes of Martin Vitry, Itzel  Delgado, Noic Garioud, the Nika brothers and Tom Auber. Japan’s Kenny  Kaneko, Boris Jinvresse,  Blue Ewer and Tyler Bashor also rounded out  the top 20.”It was tight at the front the whole way,” says Michael Booth. “And, it could’ve been anyone’s race. I tried my hand a few times at getting  away, but to no avail and it came down to a sprint finish.”

After Boothy and Bruno’s battle at the Carolina Cup, spectators knew to  look for a match up again between the two. At the starting gun, the  pack surged out onto the historic waters in a wake-filled washy mix  before settling into a draft train with Bruno Hasulyo up front, pulling  Booth, Puyo, Dews along with the rest of the pack.
“I had to race differently to what I normally do,” reports Booth, “I waited patiently and attacked just before the finish arch.”

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

In those furious final seconds on the Men’s Distance course, it was a  passionate drive for the finish. In the end, Booth’s massive power  pulled him through the APP arches first, followed tightly by Lincoln  Dews, Titouan Puyo, both Hasulyo brothers and Arthur Arutkin, mere tenths of a second separating the Top 5.

Sprint Event

The Sprint Races at the Hackney Marshes as part of the London SUP Open were a reflection of that thinking. The APP team, together with race director Anthony Vela created a compact, tight, new course to thrill spectators and challenge world class athletes to perform at their best. Four man heats had racers moving in opposite directions from each other, rounding an outside buoy and back to cross in the middle of the arena in front of the crowd, before heading for the far buoy on the opposite side of the course before sprinting to the final turn and through the APP arch.

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

As APP racers settled in to the new racing format, a whole new show began  Casper Steinfath, absent from the distance course the day before due to injury, led the charge in posting heat times and pushing the World’s best to perform.  Both Nika brothers, Claudio and Leonard, drove the competition to new heights as their ferocity under pressure put competitors on red alert. Meanwhile, Titouan Puyo and Bruno Hasulyo both made their presence felt with powerful, consistent performances.

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

The true hero of the Sprints it was the 17-year-old Noic Garoiud from New Caledonia who made a mark for himself on this final day of action.  Moving past notable athletes like Connor Baxter, Itzel Delgado and Arthur Arutkin, Garioud electrified the competition with his heat times and blazing paddle techniques drawing powerful responses from the galley, fellow athletes and spectators alike.

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

In the Final Round, it was Garioud, Steinfath, Claudio NIka and Titouan Puyo, a powerhouse of performance and talent.  The young New Caledonian racer Garioud never looked up from the start, but burned through the course with such speed that the crowd came to its feet to cheer him in. His presence and performance this weekend established him as a up and coming contender on the APP World Tour, as Garioud arrived on the world’s stage with a bang to claim the APP World Tour Sprint Championships at the London SUP Open against some of the greatest racers of all time.

On the Women’s side of the Sprint races, the competition showcased a powerhouse of new talent mixed with veteran contenders to create a fresh feel and exciting podium line up. In the early heats, Lina Augaitis found her rhythm, reminding the field that with her 2nd place finish the day before on the Distance Course, she would be a major contender for the overall win.

Credit: Simon Crowther & Tim Axford / APP World Tour

April Zilg also made her presence felt with excellent tactical sprint racing. April calmly disposed of her opponents and advanced through the heats. Meanwhile, Fiona Wylde, Candice Appleby, Amandine Chazot and distance winner Seychelle all came together for a powerful display of talent. It soon became apparent the battle would be between Seychelle, Appleby, Chazot and Zilg as each woman forced their opponents to work harder in order to stay in the elimination rounds.  First Augaitis went down, followed by Wylde. All of a sudden, we had a host of new potential Champions in the process.

In the final round, the women’s capacity to generate excitement was palpably felt as Webster and Zilg crossed the middle of the course in front of the stands, paddles blurred in furious movement. Seychelle let out a yell when she came through the gates for a first place finish, April Zilg happily took second, Candice Appleby – a former World Champ – in 3rd and Amandine Chazot from France in fourth.

Results

For the men, with combined points of 14,000 from his weekend performance, young Noic Garioud took 1st place in the overall standings, taking home a $6,000 paycheck together with his APP ‘Game of Thrones’ / Medieval helmet-trophy and a dry-robe fleece-lined changing robe.  Michael Booth, who won the Distance course on the Thames on Saturday, which combined with his Sprint performance, wrapped up the weekend with 13,000 points for a 2nd place finish Overall.  Titouan Puyo put on an impressive first performance on the APP World Tour, with a 3rd place in the Distance and 4th place in the sprints giving him a combined point score of 12,250 and 3rd place overall for the event.

In an upset of the usual guard (except for Candice Appleby) and as brand new APP World Tour athletes, Seychelle and April Zilg dominated the Sprint races to secure their spots at the top of the leaderboard for the Overall Result at this year’s London SUP Open.  Hanging tough with the new World Tour competitors was veteran and World Champ herself, Candice Appleby. Here is how it ended up.

Seychelle took the double at the London SUP Open gaining 20,000 points going into the next event.  April Zilg’s strong performance in both sprint and distance combined give her 13,000 points moving into New York for the next stop on the Tour.  Candice Appleby’s strength and competitor status keeps her firmly on the podium with an overall score of 12,250 behind Zilg.  It’s going to be a great year of racing ahead!

About the Author

Helen

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, Frace with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.