While it’s still unclear who will lead the U.S. and Hawaiian teams to next year’s ISA World Championships, Australia is set to roll. Ten-time traditional paddleboarding World Champion Jamie Mitchell will lead the TravelSIM Team Australia to next February's inaugural International Surfing Association World Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship in Peru.
The titles will be held at Miraflores, Lima from February 20th-25th and will feature more than 20 countries with upwards of 100 surfers competing in SUP surfing, SUP racing and prone paddleboard divisions.
Team Australia boasts an imposing line-up including Mitchell, the 10-time Molokai Paddleboard Champion and former Battle of the Paddle SUP winner.
He will be joined by OC champion and fellow Battle of the Paddle winner Travis Grant, former Molokai champion and current Australian SUP surfing champion Shakira Westdorp and defending Molokai Champion Jordan Mercer. Also in the team are current Australian SUP Surfing Men's Champion Justin Holland and current Australian Longboard Champion Jackson Close, who finished second to Holland at the National SUP Titles.
Divisions include SUP Surfing, a 2-5km SUP Technical Race, a 20km SUP Marathon, and an 8km Prone Paddleboard Race. The SUP technical race will follow the Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle format, which involves paddling several laps of a course that takes competitors in and out through the surf.
Mitchell said being part of a team provided an exciting new element to the sport:
"I'm really looking forward to it as while what we do is still a very individual activity, now it is just not about individual results, we're also racing for our team and country," Mitchell said.
"I'll be ramming home to the team that while individual results are great, our goal is to come back as the winning team. I'd much rather get a bunch of seconds and win the title than a couple of wins but still lose the team title.
"Hawaii and the United States will have separate teams and both will be strong, but we have a solid team as well and on paper it's certainly a team that can win."
TravelSIM Team Australia:
Men's 8km paddleboard: Joel Mason (Macksville, NSW); Brad Gaul (Sydney, NSW)
Women's 8km paddleboard: Jordan Mercer (Sunshine Coast, Qld)
Men's 2-5km Technical SUP Race (Battle of the Paddle format, 12'6 and under boards): Jamie Mitchell (Currumbin, Qld), Travis Grant (Palm Beach, Qld)
Men's 20km SUP Marathon (12'6 boards and under): Jamie Mitchell (Currumbin, Qld), Travis Grant (Palm Beach, Qld)
Women's 2-5km Technical SUP Race (Battle of the Paddle format, 12'6 and under boards): TBA
Women's 20km SUP Marathon (12'6 boards and under): Angie Jackson (Palm Beach, Qld)
Men's SUP Surfing: Justin Holland (Gold Coast, Qld), Jackson Close (Coolangatta, Qld)
Women's SUP Surfing: Shakira Westdorp (Casuarina, NSW)
Stay tuned as SUP magazine follows this story.