It’s been a tale of two years for elite SUP racer Annabel Anderson.

The Kiwi had a year for the ages in 2017, featuring dominate victories at several of the sport’s marquee races including the Carolina Cup and the Pacific Paddle Games. Unfortunately, 2018 has not been as kind.

After an injury forced Anderson to withdraw from defending her crown at this year’s Carolina Cup, her SUP raceboard was stolen while staying in Long Beach, California on Tuesday afternoon. And this wasn’t just any board, see if you can recognize it in the CCTV footage of the thief nabbing her sled.

The stolen board was Anderson’s trademark pink and purple raceboard with white lightning bolts streaking down the sides. You know, the same one she used to dominate most of those races last year.

This will help jog your memory. Photo: JP Van Swae

“While it can be a pain in the ass to have gear stolen, the reality is that it is simply just “stuff” and “stuff” can always be replaced,” said Anderson. “While it will be extremely difficult for someone to sell a piece of equipment that is so unique, I thank the wider community for keeping their eyes peeled in case it does show up soon or in the future.”

While the loss of a board with so much history and good memories is a tough blow, Anderson believes the theft highlights a greater issue in our society. One that is far bigger and more important than standup paddling or even sports in general.

“The reality is it was likely stolen for a quick buck to fuel someone’s next meth hit,” said Anderson. “We have a major meth problem in New Zealand as well and the ramifications of the grip that this drug has and the effects on the wider community are devastating.”

Despite the bad luck, Anderson managed to strike a positive note when discussing plans to replace her legendary ride.

“This board was likely to be retired from front line duties soon,” said Anderson. “Which may mean the foam sculptor extraordinaire Brian Szymanski may have an excuse to come up with the next work of art and go nuts with the spray cans.”

Of course, she would just prefer to have her old board back. If anyone happens to see the board or recognizes the person in the video, Anderson would ask that you contact the Long Beach Police Department and then send her a direct message on her Facebook page.

In the meantime, the lightning board will live on through the countless pictures of it in action and usually at the front of the pack.


Annabel Anderson out for the 2018 Carolina Cup.

Core commentary with Annabel Anderson.