Casper Steinfath celebrates after claiming his first Standup World Series win at the Victoria Cup in Japan. Photo courtesy of the Waterman League

2016 Standup World Series Kicks-off in Japan

Casper Steinfath and Angela Jackson win season opener at Victoria Cup. 

The 2016 Standup World Series got off to a thrilling start this past weekend at the Victoria Cup in Japan. The season’s opening round saw the world’s fastest paddlers duking it out at Zushi beach with tight racing and ultra-close finishes resulting in an emotional first-time winner.

Danish paddler Casper Steinfath finally broke through to claim his first ever World Series win after edging out two of the fastest paddlers in the world–Kai Lenny and Mo Freitas–during Sunday’s sprint finals to grab the overall win. While Steinfath has come close to winning several times, the Victoria Cup marked the first time he has stood atop the podium in a World Series event.

After finishing a solid third during Saturday’s long-distance race, Steinfath saw Sunday’s sprint race–a discipline in which he excels–as a big opportunity. After cruising through his early heats, the finals had Steinfath in an epic three-way battle that would thrill the crowd. Mo Freitas got out to a hot start and led the majority of the race, but Steinfath dug deep in the final leg to overtake Freitas and then hold off a hard-charging Kai Lenny to be first up the beach.

Kai-Lenny racing japan

Defending champion Kai Lenny was digging deep en route to a third-place finish in the season-opening round of the SUWS. Photo courtesy of the Waterman League.

Finishing second overall in the men’s division was Connor Baxter–who won Saturday’s long-distance race and came in fifth on Sunday. Rounding out the podium was Kai Lenny, who came into the event as the defending World Series and Victoria Cup Champion.

On the women’s side, the overall results came down to a tie-breaker between Angela Jackson and Fiona Wylde. Wylde held off Jackson to win Saturday’s distance event, however, Sunday the roles reversed and it was Jackson who edged Wylde to claim the sprint event.

After finishing in a tie, the overall winner was determined based on the time gap between their finishes. Despite both finishes being close, Jackson’s win over Wylde was by a greater margin, thus earning earning her the overall victory. Rounding out the women’s podium was a strong showing by Candice Appleby, who finished third in the sprint race after a minor bump caused her to lose momentum while leading the race.

Women racing at Japan

From left to right: Angela Jackson, Fiona Wylde and Candice Appleby battled down to the wire in the sprint race. Photo courtesy of the Waterman League.

Up next for the world’s fastest paddlers will be the Mercedes World Cup of Standup Paddling taking place June 24-26 in Scharbeutz, Germany. With tough racing and close finishes highlighting a competitive first round, this year’s Standup World Series is bound to be as good as ever.

Stay tuned to for all the latest news, highlights and analysis from the 2016 Standup World Series season.


Get to know Round 1 winner, Casper Steinfath.

A look back at the action when the Standup World Series raced in Japan during 2014.