Photos by: ISA / Rommel Gonzales / Michael Tweddle
USA, Tahiti Take Gold at ISA SUP Surfing World Championships
USA’s Emmy Merrill and Poenaiki Raihoa of Tahiti made history Tuesday, as they took on the world’s best SUP surfers and got the gold at the 2014 ISA World SUP Surfing Championships. Top paddle surfers from around the globe have been battling at Nicaragua’s La Boquita Beach, with conditions improving throughout the week for an exciting Final Day with the best surf since the start of the world championship event.
Contest organizers took a break during the mid-day low tide to allow for optimal conditions during the Finals, and the decision paid off, as the action was non-stop in the Grand Final with excellent rides and scores.
“What an incredible day!” said an excited ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “The level of the final top guys and girls was very intense and very good. We waited for the better conditions by taking a break in the middle of the day and the waves improved and the wind calmed down for the finals.
What a final! A 20-year-old from California and a 17-year-old from Tahiti won the Gold Medals. It’s really a big deal as it shows the coming of a new generation.”
The Women’s SUP Surfing kicked off the day of Finals, where the USA’s Emmy Merrill reclaimed her Gold Medal and the World Championship Title after posting a total heat score of 13.50 in the Final, the second highest score of the event in the Women’s division. Merrill took advantage of the improved afternoon conditions and earned a 5.83 and 7.67 to become the two-time ISA World SUP Surfing Champion.
“I’m over the moon! It was awesome two years ago to claim the title in the first event and I was stoked about it,” said Merrill. “Last year I couldn’t come back because I was busy with school. I was hoping it wouldn’t be too much pressure on myself to try reclaim the title, but I’m so happy I did.”
The Silver Medal went to France’s Caroline Angibaud (9.27), Bronze to Australia’s Shakira Westdorp (9.23), and Copper to Spain’s Iballa Ruano (5.28).
The new Men’s World SUP Surfing Champion Tahiti’s Poenaiki Raioha earned two impressive scores of 8.93 and 8.57 for a total heat score of 17.50, the highest of the entire event. The 17 year-old Tahitian was patient and waited for the best waves of the heat and his strategy resulted in a Gold Medal.
“I’m really happy. This is my first participation in an ISA World Championship, and to be the first one, I’m very stoked!” said Raioha. “I needed big waves to apply big maneuvers so I was waiting for the right wave to have a good result. When I learned to surf I started with a shortboard, then I moved to a longboard, and after, my father introduced me to SUP, and ever since, I’ve been practicing every day after school with my father and my grandfather.”
The Silver Medal went to Australia’s Jackson Close (14.17), Bronze to France’s Antoine Delpero (14.17), and Copper to USA’s Sean Poynter (11.07).
Men’s SUP Surfing Results:
Gold Medal- Poenaiki Raioha (TAH)
Siliver Medal- Jackson Close (AUS)
Bronze Medal- Antoine Delpero (FRA)
Copper Medal- Sean Poynter (USA)
Women’s SUP Surfing:
Gold Medal- Emmy Merrill (USA)
Silver Medal- Caroline Angibaud (FRA)
Bronze Medal- Shakira Westdorp (AUS)
Copper Medal- Iballa Ruano (SPA)