Noïc Garioud, on Top of the World

With two gold medals and one silver, French athlete Noïc Garioud delivered the best and most-amazing performance of the ICF SUP Race World championships in the Open Men’s category. There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the young pro SUP racer from New Caledonia prior to the event, as this was his first competition in close to two years. Although Noic had confided to TotalSUP that he had mainly been training for the sprint event, his “surprise” 2nd place on the Long Distance on Day 2 of the competition, just behind his friend and mentor Titouan Puyo, hinted that there was perhaps more than a sprint podium at stake for the Sunova team rider. What followed were two jaw-dropping victories ahead of the best sup racers in the world in the Sprint and Technical Race events, including two fights against the 200m world record holder Connor Baxter won with flying colors. With Noïc Garioud, it is the entire Sunova team that joins the celebration, as four Sunova racers brought home 10 medals throughout the competition.
> Full Results of the ICF SUP Worlds 2021 <

Hello Noïc, 2 gold medals, 1 silver, you have the best result in the Open division. How does it feel to be on top of the world? Can you give us 1 sentence about each of your 3 final events.

Yes it’s been a really good week of racing for me! I really wasn’t expecting to take the Vice Champion Title on the long distance race as I know Titouan Puyo, Michael Booth and the Hasulyo Brothers, were really strong on these distances. Titouan and I got a few bumps early in the race and we managed to get away and maintain our lead.

I was definitely hoping for a good result on the sprint racing as I have only been training for this for a month. I am very happy to get rewarded with the victory.

The technical race was also an unexpected result. I definitely wanted to perform on it, I thought I could aim for a podium but I was not planning to take the first place, so it’s kind of a surprising week!

How did it feel to overtake the “Paddler of the Decade” Connor Baxter … twice?

I actually didn’t know that Connor was “paddler of the decade”, thanks for the information. Nevertheless, it was an amazing battle with and against him, particularly in the sprint final. I really respect this man, just as I deeply respect T2 and Michael, so yes I got him on these world championships, but I’m sure he will be there for the next, and we will have to fight again for the title. He is really fast!

You didn’t break Connor Baxter’s 200m record from 2019. Does that make it a new objective for you?

To be honest, in my point of view, a record can only be registered on the same conditions and at the time as an other… what I mean is, can we be really sure there is exactly 200m each year we do the race? If there’s a difference of a few meters on different world championships, it can make a huge difference.
If I’m saying that it is because I took down my own record by 4 seconds on these world championships which is HUGE, so my guess is there wasn’t a real 200m but maybe ~195. Or perhaps my previous record was on a 205m, who knows… Anyway Connor was really fast on it! And we both pushed ourselves to the max!

Did you use the same board in all three events?

Yes I did use the same board on all races. That board is the SUNOVA Flat Water Faast Pro 14×20. It’s actually the brand new model, with a bit of convex on the tail.
The board really felt amazing on turns and at maximum speed!

The Sunova team scored 10 medals at the ICF in Hungary. How do you feel about your teammates’ performances?

Yeah my SUNOVA teammates did an excellent job. Suzy (ed. Suzanne Lier) brought us 3 Gold medals in the 40+ Women’s category, which is insane! I’m really happy to get the chance to see her this year, I missed her for so long!
I also got the chance to meet Elena Prokhorova, she also did so well bringing home gold and bronze medals in the Open Women’s division. Elena is a really nice and humble woman, super kind and simple.
And then Martin Teichmann from Germany got the bronze on the tech race in his 40+ Men’s category, that was good to watch too!
Congratulations to all of them! 10 medals for four racers, that sounds like a good score!

Can you detail your home quiver for us?

Well, I have pretty much every Sunova race board at home :
– the Flat water 14×20
– the Allwater 14×22
– the Ocean Pro 14×24 (best board ever for downwinding)
I’ve also got a longboard and a surfboard so I can surf when conditions are good!

It feels you have a special connection with fellow New Caledonian Titouan Puyo.

I met Titou (and also Clément Colmas) through stand up paddling at about the same time. I used to surf before. Clément and I went to middle school and high school together. Titouan was a bit of a coach for us, he gave us a lot of advice and we learned a lot from him. Which was really nice of him. He’s always been some kind of mentor to us. When I started stand-up paddling there was no training group, but there were clubs that organized stand up paddle competitions. We were a lot of SUP racers in New Caledonia, we were easily 80/90 to line up on the starting line. So it was working well, 4/5 years ago. Today there are hardly any races, last year we were barely 10. But our little training group continues to survive.

How do you train back home in New Caledonia ?

We have a group in New Caledonia that meets almost every morning. Our training schedules are still the same despite the disappointment of having few major competitions these past 18 months with a few exceptions. We usually receive the sessions from my coach in France and we work with him to be better prepared for each competition. Training volumes really vary depending on the season and the goal. Back home in Noumea, I try to do at least 1 training session per day with 1 day of recovery on Sunday. Otherwise when I prepare a competition, it is often two training sessions a day, often a session on the water and one indoors, or SUP in the morning and OC (Hawaiian canoe) in the afternoon, or a session of flat the morning and downwind in the afternoon. But I’m not doing two workouts a day all year round, that would cause too much muscle fatigue. Outside of preparation, the 2nd session is only when I feel like it.

My friend Benoît Rivière has been particularly key in getting me ready for the ICF SUP World Championship and we had a full month of one-to-one sessions to get prepared. I really want to take the opportunity to publicly thank him.

I also would like to express my deep thanks to the Ligue Calédonienne de Surf (New Caledonia Surf League) who support me and other New Caledonian SUP racers in many ways.

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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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