When it comes to the biggest names in SUP, the U.S. certainly has its fair share of young guns on the list. But, we aren’t alone as the European scene is also producing its own young phenoms, like Denmark's Casper Steinfath. The blonde-haired 20-year-old has won several major races in Europe and has also found success in the US, making the podium at the Turtle Bay World Championship Finals in 2012. We catch up with Steinfath to find out more about his plans for 2013, his first trip out to Hawaii and what the racing scene is all about in Europe. --Phil White
SUP mag: How is standup racing developing in Europe?
Steinfath: The racing scene has really taken off in Europe. Last season big races were popping up all over the continent - from the cold waters of Scandinavia all the way down to the Mediterranean Sea. Standup paddling has definitely become a major sport in Europe and the level of competition is getting higher and higher. There are so many young, talented racers in Europe and I am sure that more and more of them will be among the world’s fastest in the near future.
SUP mag: How was your recent training trip to Hawaii?
Steinfath: Coming from Denmark, I have always dreamt of going to Hawaii. Back in October, I got the opportunity to go there to compete in the Turtle Bay World Championship Finals and do some board testing on Maui. It was amazing to experience Hawaii firsthand and feel the magic power of the Pacific Ocean. I had an unforgettable time there training and doing all kinds of water sports. It was too good to leave, so I ended up extending my ticket twice and I can’t wait to go back!
SUP mag: Tell us about your charity work with Athletes for Cancer.
Steinfath: While on Maui, my friend, Richard Hallman, introduced me to Tonia Farman who started the Athletes for Cancer project back in 2006. Athletes for Cancer gives people whose lives have been affected and changed by cancer the opportunity to experience the beauty and power of the different natural elements. The camps help build self-confidence and strengthen survivorship. I really loved the concept and was really happy to be a part of one of the camps. Together with some friends, I helped take a group of cancer survivors into the waves on the south shore of Maui. We went surfing in canoes and it was really heartwarming to see the big smiles on their faces while playing around in the waves.
SUP mag: After making the podium at Turtle Bay World Championship Finals in October, what are your goals for 2013?
Steinfath: Finishing in third place was unreal! The field of competitors at this event was stacked with most of the world’s fastest racers. This result was for sure my biggest achievement yet and it really inspired me to train even harder for the 2013 race season. I just recently graduated high school, so my goal for 2013 is to do my first full season of racing. I want to improve on my overall 8th place on the 2012 Standup World Series and be at the top in big events like the Battle of the Paddle. I will also be following the Standup World Tour this year, which should be fun. Standup paddling is such a young and exciting sport to be a part of, and I am really just looking forward to another great year of SUP racing and surfing all over the world.
SUP mag: What are your top 3 SUP surfing spots in Europe?
Steinfath: Europe has many fun waves for SUP surfing, so it is hard to choose just 3.
1. Klitmøller, Cold Hawaii, Denmark – This is my home spot and you can usually always find super fun waves to go SUP surf.
2. Iceland – This place is a bit cold but the wave quality is amazing and the landscape is magical!
3. La Torche, France – I have been going there the last 2 years to compete on the Standup World Tour. The waves there are super rippable and it’s hardly ever flat.
For more on Casper, click here.