After a thundering 2017 season where she is now ranked 3rd in the world, Olivia Piana announced her departure from Starboard to join the 425pro team.
TotalSUP exclusively reveals the decision with, equally exclusive, the first photos of Olivia Piana on the boards 425Pro, taken in Tahiti during her participation in the Ironmana 2017 (credits: Heilani Cronsteadt)
Olivia Piana, a page turns, what can you tell us from the two years spent at Starboard?
I would like to start by thanking starboard for the support and confidence that they gave me after breaking my foot in 2014.
In 2015, I was very lucky to meet Stéphane Samat from IDK Distribution. Stéphane gave me his trust and support, He loaned me equipment and offered me a job at starboard. It’s thanks to his big heart that I was able make a comeback into SUP Racing
In December 2015, I won the Paris Nautic SUP Crossing, despite 3 days of working at the exhibition. The following year in 2016 I was super happy to qualify for the French SUP Team for the ISAs in Fiji, where I won 2 silver medals.
At the beginning of 2017, I was invited to Barcelona by Jorcani Sports distributor. There we shared some great moments during the festive period and gave a clinic to over 30 people the next day.
I already knew Clément Morandière, who had just taken the place of distributor France. He found me a board in California for the 2016 PGGs, where I finished 4th Overall!
In 2017, You were one of the top paddlers on the world circuit this year and also at Starboard, can you tell us why 2017 was so special for you?
Unfortunately, Starboard did not take into account my two World Vice-Champion titles in 2016 whilst renegotiating my 2017 deal.
I feel that that as starboard is focused mainly with the American market, so I feel being French I had to do four times the work of an American paddler, in order to receive the same amount of recognition.
How was your relationship with 425 Pro born?
The relationship with 425pro formed after a fate. I broke my paddle whilst racing in July 2017, A week before the ISA World Championships in Denmark, I was still waiting for a replacement, then my guardian angel, Lulu Langlois lent me Weapon S Flex 425pro sleeve that was cut to exactly my size! (191.50 cm). Then I was introduced to Jerry Mihimana, Founder of 425pro.
What new challenges do you want to face in 2018 with 425Pro?
The reason I like 425pro, is that their goal is to develop stable and high-performance boards. 425pro have also developed race boards to women and men less than 70kg. There are very few brands (except for a custom made board) like 425 pro that offer Race boards for “lightweight” paddlers. I have seen a lot of brands that advertise their boards work for lightweight paddlers (45kg – 85 kg), but often this leaves paddlers pushing alot of unnecessary volume.
In 2018, I will focus all my energy in the new APP World Tour which has combined all the big international races into one structure. But, I am aware that the first year at 425pro will come with an adjustment period, so after this initial adjustment period I will collaborate Jerry and with the whole 425pro team to develop a range of explosive boards!
This invitation to develop material is a huge chance for me as a woman. I am so happy with this adventure, working alongside people with good values and a strong identity.
Have you already chosen your SUP surfboards / Guns at 425pro?
We will develop models that work from a template of my existing boards, but ultimately, I will let the shapers surprise me! I would be happy for everyone to try these new features at the forthcoming events and I hope they will please us girls and the Jack Russells.
I love my new paddle too, the Weapon S sleeve flex, which has an incredible grip. Thank you Lulu for your help, thank you!