The 2023 Busan SUP Open in South Korea showcased two action-packed days of Stand Up Paddling competition. On Day 1, Fernando Perez Serra emerged victorious in the sprints, sending a strong message about his rising talent. Kotaro Miyahira and Connor Baxter followed suit in 2nd and 3rd places. Day 2 featured a thrilling distance race, with Arthur Arutkin securing a strategic win and Juliette Duhaime continuing her dominant streak. Lim Su Jeong and Chloe Walkerdene rounded out the top positions.The event also celebrated the active participation of fifty U14 kids, highlighting the sport’s growth potential in the region, thanks to the efforts of the Korean Association of Stand Up Paddling (KAPP).
With a mix of established champions and emerging talents, the Busan SUP Open 2023, stop #3 of the 2023 APP World Tour delivered thrilling moments! Here’s the TotalSUP recap.
2023 Busan SUP Open – Day 1 – Technical Sprints
Fernando Perez Serra wrapped up an enchanting first day at the Busan SUP Open with a triumphant victory in the sprint races. Hailing from Cadiz, Spain, Fernando has long been recognized as a promising young talent, and his impressive track record over the past few years has solidified his reputation. However, in 2023, he has taken his performance to a new level, entering Stop Number 3 of the APP World Tour ranked 4th.
On day 1, he sent a resounding message that he has transformed into a genuine contender. Fernando showcased not only his speed and skill navigating the buoys but also displayed tactical acumen well beyond his years. His starts were powerful, and in the final, he held his own against some of the fastest sprinters globally, including Connor Baxter and Rai Taguchi.
In a thrilling and tumultuous final, marked by multiple challenges for all competitors, the young Spaniard seized an opportunity, accelerated at the perfect moment, and emerged as the leader after the second buoy turn. He maintained his position and secured an impressive victory in a star-studded final.
The day belonged to the new generation in every aspect. Young prodigy Kotaro Miyahira from Okinawa, Japan, took charge in the middle section of the course and, like Fernando, demonstrated both skill and composure when it mattered most, securing 2nd place. This pushed the current ratings leader and four-time World Champion, Connor Baxter, into 3rd place. In 4th, Rai Taguchi faced challenges during the heat but still displayed excellent form throughout the day.
Juliette Duhaime’s dominant streak in 2023 continues as she secures yet another victory in the sprints. This year has proven to be exceptional for the Argentinian athlete, marked by a series of strong performances that have placed her at the top of the ratings leaderboard leading into Stop #3 in Busan, South Korea. The weekend kicked off on a high note for Juliette, with another commanding display in the sprint races on Day 1.
Despite enduring a grueling 50-hour journey from Brazil to reach Busan, Juliette Duhaime managed to shake off travel fatigue and quickly regain her competitive rhythm. She convincingly clinched victory, outpacing local contender Jiwon Choi and Chloe Walkerdene. The challenging conditions, characterized by a mix of backwash chop and intermittent swells, posed significant obstacles, but Juliette skillfully navigated them to emerge victorious.
The battle for the 2nd position was fiercely contested, ultimately requiring a tiebreaker to determine the 2nd and 3rd places among the women. Local favorite Jiwon Choi emerged victorious in this closely fought competition, much to the delight of the home crowd.
2023 Busan SUP Open – Day 2 – Long Distance
Arthur Arutkin delivered an outstanding performance on the second day of the Busan SUP Open, clinching victory in the challenging distance race. Despite narrowly missing the finals in sprint racing on Day 1, the 2018 World Champion showcased his resilience and skill by outperforming the in-form Rai Taguchi in Busan.
Known for his calm and strategic approach, Arthur Arutkin consistently competes at the highest level, and day 2 was no exception. Rai Taguchi surged ahead at the beginning of the distance race, establishing a commanding lead during the first lap of the five-lap course.
Determined to seize control of the race, Rai maintained an exceptionally fast pace, but Arthur shadowed his every move, staying close enough to capitalize on any opportunity. That opportunity presented itself when Arthur expertly caught one of the better swell lines through the inside section, allowing him to catch up to Rai and ultimately claim the lead. From that point on, it was a fierce battle for the top position, with Arthur holding onto his lead and ultimately crossing the finish line in first place.
Arthur Arutkin’s stellar performance solidified his reputation as a highly accomplished waterman, securing him second place overall in the event and elevating him to third place in the overall standings on the APP World Tour after Stop #3.
Juliette Duhaime continued to assert her dominance in Busan by securing another impressive victory in the distance race, despite the race being scaled back due to adverse weather delays. Her performance left no doubt that she is the athlete to beat this year, showcasing her versatility in the sport.
Juliette launched off the starting line with determination, quickly establishing a substantial lead by the first buoy. The rest of the field encountered difficulties in the shore-break, allowing Juliette to gain an early advantage. She maintained her strong pace throughout the course, ultimately clinching another commanding win in the 2023 season.
Entering the event as the World #1, Juliette Duhaime has only reinforced her position at the top. However, with upcoming discard sprints and long-distance races, as well as additional distance races and sprints still on the season’s horizon, the competition is far from over. Anticipation is building for what promises to be an exciting conclusion to the 2023 season.
Following Juliette’s lead was local standout Lim Su Jeong, the winner of the Asian Championships held in Seoul back in May. While relatively new to ocean racing, Lim Su Jeong displayed remarkable athleticism with a diverse sports background, hinting at a promising future in the sport. Taking the third spot was an ecstatic Chloe Walkerdene from Australia.
Fernando Perez Serra continued to impress, securing a remarkable 3rd place finish in the highly technical and challenging distance race, which ultimately propelled him to the overall victory here in Busan. This weekend has been nothing short of incredible for the young Spaniard.
Adverse weather conditions persisted through the first half of the day on Day 2 of the Busan SUP Open, causing a delay in the competition until 3 pm. While this break allowed athletes more time to recover from the previous day’s exertion, it also heightened the anticipation and tension among the competitors.
However, Fernando remained composed and rose to the occasion, delivering a strong performance that earned him a solid 3rd place finish in the demanding distance race. Combined with his sprint race victory, this achievement crowned him as the Overall Champion of the 2023 Busan SUP Open.
In his inaugural trip to Asia, Fernando secured his first-ever victory on the Tour and firmly established himself as a prominent contender on the APP World Tour. This accomplishment propelled him to the second position in the overall rankings, right behind the 4-time World Champion, Connor Baxter.
It’s evident that there is much more to come from this versatile young talent hailing from Cadiz, who also excels in SUP surfing. Fans eagerly await his next performance in the Gran Canaria Pro-Am scheduled for November in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
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