Portuguese professional Stand Up Paddle athlete and NSP team rider, Tomás Lacerda, despite his youth, has already clinched 20 national titles and showcased outstanding performances in international competitions. He is now poised to undertake a remarkable feat by embarking on a crossing between the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira on a SUP board, making him the first athlete in the sport to achieve this endeavor. This forthcoming challenge will demand immense physical prowess, made even more notable by its concluding point in Funchal, rather than Caniçal. The distance covered is a bold and astonishing 44 nautical miles (81 km).
The scheduled date for this race, which remains subject to potential alterations due to unfavorable weather and sea conditions, is this Thursday, August 10th. The challenge will commence from the Porto Santo marina and culminate at the “On Water Academy” location in Praia Formosa.
Executing this crossing necessitates official authorization from the representatives of the National Maritime Authority in the Region and the Captaincy of the Port of Funchal due to its distinctiveness and the demands it entails. Furthermore, this race involves the deployment of search and rescue resources at sea, most notably the SANAS – Voluntary Corps of Nautical Rescuers, who will accompany the athlete throughout the entire route.
Beyond the personal challenge of surpassing his own limits, as this will be the athlete’s longest distance accomplished to date, there are two significant objectives intertwined with this event. The first is to amplify the visibility of the sport, particularly in relation to its potential within the Autonomous Region of Madeira, endorsed by the Madeira Promotion Association (APM). The second is to support a charitable cause, specifically the Madeira Regional Centre of the Portuguese League Against Cancer. Regarding the selection of this organization, its President, Ricardo Sousa, remarks, “I was deeply moved by the young athlete’s dedication to supporting the League and its patients, especially as Tomás intends to honor his father’s memory through this connection, following his passing earlier this year due to this illness. It is indeed an honor to align the League with this initiative.”
Concrete support for this charitable cause will materialize through a public event set to occur on the day of the athlete’s arrival, August 10th, at the “On Water Academy” space on Formosa beach. This space is associated with nautical activities and is a participant in this initiative as well. To facilitate this, Tomás Lacerda is receiving assistance from the Madeira Beer Company (ECM), which has provided its products for sale at the designated location. All proceeds from these sales will be contributed to the Madeira Regional Centre of the Portuguese League Against Cancer. To ensure the success of this endeavor, the athlete extends an invitation to everyone to partake in celebrating his achievement and supporting a cause that holds special significance for him.
Among the numerous supporters of this venture is Francisco Roque Pinho, Co-founder of Team Red Herrings, an accomplished giant wave surfing team to which Tomás belongs. He speaks of the athlete with profound admiration: “Tomás consistently astonishes us with his athleticism, unwavering dedication, resilience, and benevolence. Despite enduring a severe injury and the sudden loss of his father last winter, he remained undeterred. Undergoing surgery, diligently rehabilitating, and training rigorously, he has achieved remarkable results in recent months in SUP, his chosen sport. His performance at the Alicante SUP Open Sprints was exceptional: not only did he eliminate World Champion Shuri Araki en route to the final, but he also secured a coveted spot on the esteemed APP World Tour, the premier professional SUP circuit, making him the first Portuguese athlete to do so. Instead of resting between competitions, Tomás now proposes an unprecedented SUP crossing between Porto Santo and Madeira. This expedition, apart from promoting the sport, is aligned with a cause that resonates with everyone – the battle against cancer. We can only express gratitude and wish Tomás the best of luck. Despite being the youngest member of our team, he epitomizes the core values of Team Red Herrings: bravery, determination, and an unrelenting commitment to effecting positive change.”
Photo Credits Henrique Casinhas
It’s worth noting that this year, Tomás Lacerda has already participated in five international competitions – four within the Eurotour European Circuit (Battle for Hercules in Ceuta, Sevilla SUP Festival, Madeira Island SUP Challenge, and Bord’ Ocean SUP Days) and one in the APP World Circuit (Elite Pro category of the World SUP Festival Costa Blanca). He achieved excellent results, including advancing to the main board alongside reigning world champions after placing honorably in the qualifiers with a 10th position.
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