A select crop of SUP athletes recently focused attention south of the border, turning out for the second annual Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic. Check out the gallery from the two-day competition, March 12-13, that brought serious standup competition to this sleepy destination surf town 35 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
In a stacked SUP surf contest field, standout SoCal charger Sean Poynter, 21, beat out local favorite Guillermo "Tigre" Cardena (second place) and Garrett McNamara (third) for the title.
"The waves were a little small—about 1-3 foot through the competition, and up a little on the final day," said Poynter, who used his Starboard 7'11" custom to maintain speed for critical turns through the challenging conditions. "I was definitely playing the patience game and that certainly went into my strategy, and then just trying to keep speed and get good scores."
The weekend competition also included an SUP Elite and 10K Distance course. Maui's Slater Trout, 16, notched back-to-back wins in both races, while the podium runners-up followed suit: Anthony Vella and fellow Maui racer Zane Schweitzer followed Trout in second and third place, respectively, in both SUP race events. Reigning Battle of the Paddle champ Candice Appleby of Hawaii took the women's Elite title, while Schulyer Robbins won the 10K distance race. (Complete results HERE.)
"It was all-time, everybody had a killer time and everyone was super friendly—a fabulous event and really professionally done," said Poynter, pictured below. " A ton of beach-goers came to watch, probably several thousand people checking it out through the weekend."
"The small waves did not diminish the great community vibe and aloha spirit that surrounded the weekend event,” said Kevin Roberts, a principle with event organizer Punta Sayulita."Moreover, with surfing legends Gerry Lopez and Jericho Poppler competing and holding their own against the younger surfers, it was really a special experience for the competitors and spectators alike."