Nicole Pacelli On Winning the First Women’s SUWT

Your first Standup World Tour women's champ, Nicole Pacelli. Photo: Waterman League

Brazil’s Nicole Pacelli clinched the first-ever Women’s Standup World Tour championship with her seventh-place finish at France’s La Torche Pro. In doing so she brought home Brazil’s second Standup World Tour title (after Leco Salazars 2012 win) and set the bar for women’s SUP surf performance going forward. We got a hold of the new world champ to talk national pride, surfing against Candice and Brazil’s growing SUP scene.—WT

You told us after you won at Turtle Bay that your goal was to win the the first Women’s World Tour and now you have. How does it feel?
It’s a big accomplishment for me, one of the biggest achievements of my life until now! In 2013 I focused exclusively on the Standup World Tour (SUWT)). I trained hard and had to evolve so much. I’m really happy that everything worked out perfectly, this year couldn’t have been better for me. I have the people that supported and believed in me to thank.

What does it mean to Brazil that you brought home the title?
I think that this title shows that Brazil is a really strong country in the standup scene. We already had a man as world champion last year (Leco Salazar) and now I’m the first woman to win it. I hope this title brings even more visibility and investment to the sport, that more SUP wave contests happen from now on, that more athletes get supported and sponsored in my country. We have a lot of good athletes here in Brazil, but we also have a lack of investment and space for SUP in the sports media. I hope this title helps to change this scenario.

How did you feel about the women’s level of competition this year?
All the girls are surfing and competing so well. The level of performance made me improve my surfing even more. Watching the girls surf gave me the will to do better, because I was only gonna win it if I really deserved it and surfed my best.

What do you think the level of competition will be like next year?
I think its going to be pretty hard! All the girls will want to do better on the 2014 tour, because everyone has more experience and can study their own mistakes and what they need to improve. All of us will want to be the world champ. I think we are going to be surprised with the level of surfing next year.

Pacelli at play. Photo: Fabiana Silva

Pacelli at play. Photo: Fabiana Silva

Who do you have your eye on in terms of challenging your title next year?
All girls surf so (well)! I think Izzy and Vanina are really consistent athletes, Candice and Caroline compete really good and Iballa, in my opinion, has the most beautiful style. Anything can happen next year, anyone can be the champ.

What was the most challenging moment of your year on tour?
My heat against Candice in La Torche (France). She had a good chance to win the title and was my main rival. We had the same heat in Round Four and I was really nervous knowing that my chances of being the champ were on (winning) that heat. I only got my second score in the last five minutes and it was my highest scoring wave of the event, an 8.5! I was really happy, (it felt like) I was already the champion after that heat.

What competitor challenged you the most this year?
Candice. She is really competitive and surfs really strong. I knew I had to surf my best to win it.

What are you doing in the off season?
I’m going to Hawaii in the first week of December to train until the first event of the year. I want to spend some time there to improve on my big wave skills.

Any big changes in your equipment or game plan for the tour next season?
I surfed a really narrow (7’0″) board in the last event, and I’m still getting used to it, but I think I found the perfect board for next year. I think I’m going to (do) my best surfing with this board. I’m going to train even more next year.

How did you celebrate your victory?
I spent one more week in Europe, went to Mundaka on vacation and surfed some really good waves with my boyfriend. Now I’m in Brazil, ready to celebrate with my family and friends with a big party!

Check out Pacelli in our Gear Guide.

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