Australia’s Jordan Mercer left no doubt who was the clear-cut winner of the Women’s Paddleboard Race. The 18-year-old phenom, who last year won the Molokai-to-Oahu Paddleboard Race in record time, continued to cement her legacy by putting on a dominant performance in the Women’s Paddleboard Race Final, winning the first gold medal of the ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship in Lima, Peru.
Maintaining a blistering pace from start to finish, Mercer, who also competes in Ironman competitions, finished with a cushion of more than five minutes between her and the second place finisher, Anna Notten (RSA). Mercer was greeted at the finish line by ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
“I feel fantastic, it was such an amazing race; what a great experience,” said Mercer, an Australian flag draped over her shoulders. “It’s an honor to be here and to be representing Australia and to be here with such an amazing team. Peru’s done a fantastic job and so has the ISA. It’s a fantastic competition and I can’t wait for the next couple of years.”
Mercer completed the five-kilometer course in 45:03.
“She has a massive, massive future ahead of her if she decides to take [paddleboard racing] seriously – the sky is the limit,” said Jamie Mitchell, who’s the captain of Team Australia and also won the Molokai-to-Oahu race 10 times, including in 2011. “She’s only 18 and she’s already got the record at Molokai and now she’s won the first ISA gold medal [at this event]; she’s one talented girl.”
In SUP Surfing action, the waves increased in size throughout the day and the winds remained calm, which led to some high scores in both the Men’s and Women’s heats. Australian Jackson Close and Brazil’s Caio Vaz logged the highest heat totals of the event, 17.33 and 17.17, respectively.
“Today it’s really clean, the waves are coming, and if you get the right ones and don’t fall – that was most important for me – you were going to get a good score,” Vaz said. “Team Brazil has been really good, everybody is clapping, and altogether. Yesterday there were a lot of people, yelling ‘Yeah! Caio! Caio!” I was a little nervous. But today when everyone was yelling, I wasn’t hearing it, I was more focused.”
Finn Mullen, of ever-popular Team Ireland, also advanced through the competition, winning his Repechage heat after losing in the morning to “the best of the best, Colin McPhillips.” Team Ireland has been making friends and making people laugh since they arrived.
“You’ve definitely got to keep it sunny-side up,” Mullen explained. “Look, we’re just trying to have a good time here, and part of having a good time is being sure everyone else is having a good time, because that’s what it’s all about.
“I think we definitely win whitest team here,” Mullen joked. “We’ve got an in-house competition to see who can come back [to Ireland] with the best sunburn tattoo. I’m working on mine – you can see it right here (pointing to his chest); we’ve got a bit of third degree burn going on.”
Competition resumes in the morning, with the Repechage Round 3 for Men’s SUP Surfing, followed later in the day (10:00am local time) by the next paddleboard event, the Men’s Paddleboard Race.
The webcast, which will feature both the surfing and paddling, can be viewed live at isawsuppc.com/live, beginning at 8:00am local time (5:00am PST).