Champion stand up paddleboarder (SUP) Annabel Anderson is the latest sports star to join Air Tahiti Nui’s ambassador ranks with the New Zealander looking forward to further finessing her sport in one of the world’s leading paddling destinations, the Islands of Tahiti.
In line with the airline’s other sporting ambassadors, Annabel is a champion and a role model, considered one of the most dominant athletes in the sport of stand up paddling.
Annabel has been the SUP world number one since 2012, with 2017 proving to be one of her most successful years yet. Her titles so far this year include International Surfing Association Long Distance World Champion and Long Technical World Champion, as well as Pacific Paddle Games Long Distance, Technical Champion and Overall Champion, Salt Life Cup Champion and SUP the Magazine’s Female Athlete of the Year.
She is also the current world number one– the only female to have ever been number one – and is accustomed to beating male competitors, including crossing the line 15 minutes before the closest male paddler at Bermuda’s Devil’s Isle Challenge.
Having grown up on farms and on the shores of Lake Wanaka, it’s normal to find Annabel competing in land sports such as trail running, road cycling and mountain biking when she isn’t on the water. She only found her love of paddling after injuries forced the end of a burgeoning skiing and international triathlon career.
Annabel competes all over the world in stand up paddleboarding but said nowhere compares to Tahiti.
“I am frequently asked where my favourite place to paddle is and Tahiti is always my answer.
There is something about the contrast of the land against the ocean, the clarity and stillness of the water and the warm, friendly nature of the people that combines to make a really magical place. There really is nowhere better to paddle,” Annabel said.
Air Tahiti Nui Regional Manager Australia New Zealand Alan Roman said he was thrilled to have Annabel onboard as an ambassador.
“Paddleboarding has become as synonymous with Tahiti as overwater bungalows so having the best paddleboarder in the world onboard as our newest ambassador is a match made in heaven. Through her incredible sporting achievements and the tenacity she has shown to overcome the many challenges she has faced along the way, Annabel is a true champion. We are proud to have her as part of the team as she continues to raise the bar in the sport of paddleboarding and inspire a new generation of female paddlers,” Mr Roman said.
Annabel joins canoe paddler Tupuria King, surfer Ella Williams and tennis player Marina Erakovic in the airline’s ranks of New Zealand sports ambassadors.
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