Australians Travis Grant and Jamie Mitchell came coasting into the shoreline, side-by-side on the same wave, composing themselves for landfall. As the wave washed up onto the rocky shoreline, they leapt from their SUP boards and broke into a sprint. Mitchell was first around the yellow flag and made the climb up the rocky berm to the finish line, with Grant tight on his heels. But Grant had won. Mitchell had left his paddle with his board, and in the Men's SUP Technical Race, the paddle must be in hand at the finish. He would have to settle for second.
"We've had a couple sprint finishes between Jamie and I, he's actually the faster guy, so I knew I had to basically bust balls and try to get there first; that wasn't the case, but he ditched his paddle, which never happens; we got to the top, and I said, 'I think you're supposed to get your paddle,'" Grant explained. "It's a lot of luck in this race, but at the same time we did everything we could to win, so one-two is unreal."
After his silver-medal finish, Mitchell was happy with Team Australia's showing, but not so much with his personal performance. In the preliminary round, he lost his board into the shore after a wave swamped him - having chosen to compete without a leash - dropping him from solidly in first position to the back of the pack. He ended up having to work harder than anticipated to qualify for the Final, coming in second behind New Zealand's Paul Jackson. Mitchell wore a leash in the Final.
"Look, you can try and have tactics as much as you want but really it comes down to the start and some good luck; we had a good start, [Travis Grant and I] were next to each other and I'm like, 'Let's go!" said Mitchell, of the duo's strategy to pull away early. "I'm pretty bummed that I made a really uncharacteristic mistake for myself, I made two today, I'm not sure what's going on there, but I'm stoked we got one and two."
In the Women's SUP Technical Race, USA's Brandi Baksic led wire to wire, with room to spare over silver-medalist Angela Jackson of Australia (wife to Paul Jackson, who won bronze in the Men's race). Just over two months ago, the 39-year-old Baksic was more-or-less retired from SUP racing.
"After I got second at the Battle of the Paddle in 2011, I kind of thought, I've got a family, a job, lots of wrinkles (laughs), so I was going to be done and then maybe go start doing triathlons again. But then they asked me to be on Team USA, and it's kind of something hard to say 'No' to," Baksic said. "It's my first gold, so hey, that's cool, especially with the inaugural event. I know this is just going to be the stepping stone for future years of really, really good events by the ISA."
Austria's Karina Figl won the Bronze Medal, the first the country has ever won in ISA competition, proving that a country without an ocean can produce an ocean sport contender. Brigette van Askwegen of South Africa won the Copper Medal.
In the last race of the long day of competition, five teams took to the starting line for the Finals of the Team Relay: Australia, Peru, South Africa, Spain and USA. Each team sent a male and female SUP racer and a male and female paddleboarder through the course to determine the final standings. The Team Relay is an original ISA idea, one which serves as an example of how SUP and Paddleboarding could exist in the Olympics, which is part of the ISA's larger goals for the sports.
After the first leg, Australia and USA were even, as Travis Grant and Matt Becker came to the beach on the same wave. Then Grant handed the race to phenom paddleboarder Jordan Mercer, and the gold medalist from the Women's Paddleboard Race opened a lead that Team Australia never relented, winning by over a minute.
"It's important to relax [when the race is close] even though this means so much to us," Mercer said. "I knew what I had to do and I guess that's what I did. It's all about going 110-percent the entire way and still managing to make the right decisions. And then when you come in, there's all the team here cheering you on; it's a fantastic feeling."
Tomorrow is the final day of competition for the first ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. The action is scheduled to begin at 7:30am local time (4:30am PST) with the Women's SUP Surfing Repechage Final. At 9:00am, the Men's and Women's SUP and Paddleboard Marathon races will begin the 18-kilometer course from La Herradura to La Pampilla, finishing at the site of the SUP Surfing. The webcast will be live at Isawsuppc.com/live beginning at 7:30am with the first SUP Surfing heat.
The ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship is made possible with the support of the following event partners: IPD, ADO, Club Waikiki. Repsol, Movistar, Casa Andina, Sticky Bumps, NSP, Terra, Municipalidad de Lima, Municipalidad de Miraflores, FENTA, Marina de Guerra del Peru, JAO, and Securitas. The media partners are Terra, StandUp Latino and Surfos.
Men's SUP Technical Race Final Results
Gold - Travis Grant (AUS) - 17:00
Silver - Jamie Mitchell (AUS) - 17:00
Bronze - Paul Jackson (NZL) - 17:39
Copper - Matt Becker (USA) - 17:44
5 - Eric Terrien (FRA) - 17:45
6 - Jay Wild (USA) - 17:59
7 - Felipe Rodríguez (MEX) - 18:00
8 - Gaetan Sene (FRA) - 18:03
9 - Chris Bertish (RSA) - 18:33
10 - Román Frejo (SPA) - 18:46
11 - Héctor Gonzales (SPA) - 18:47
12 - Luis Guido (BRA) - 19:18
13 - Gonzalo Miranda (ARG) - 19:20
14 - Belar Díaz (SPA) - 19:29
15 - Steeve Fleury (SWI) - 19:39
16 - Pietro Muscas (ITA) - 20:49
17 - Tamil Martino (PER) - 21:01
18 - Mark Slater (GBR) - 21:04
19 - John Harvey (GBR) - 21:06
20 - Greg Bertish (RSA) - 21:28
21 - Sebastián Barbero (ARG) - 21:40
22 - Jean-Luc Maffroid (SWI) - 22:31
23 - José Gómez (PER) - 23:19
24 - Ed O' Farrell (IRE) - 23:32
25 - Gian Paolo Lombardi (CHI)
25 - Alexandre Araujo (BRA)
25 - Dave Owens (IRE)
25 - Carlos Navarro (CHI)
25 - Giovani Benitez (VEN)
Women's SUP Technical Race Final Results
Gold - Brandi Baksic (USA) - 19:12
Silver - Angela Jackson (AUS) - 20:49
Bronze - Karina Figl (AUT) - 21:06
Copper - Brigette van Aswegen (RSA) - 21:29
5 - Barbara Brazil (BRA) - 23:04 (+1 minute penalty)
6 - Pat Hernández (SPA) - 23:40
7 - Brissa Málaga (PER) - 29:51
8 - Lorena Cemersoni (ARG) - 30:37
9 - Rossany Álvarez (VEN) - 31:12
10 - Ángela Lombardi (CHI) - 33:22
DQ - Jane Downes (IRE)
Team Relay Final Results
Gold - Australia - 18:27
Silver - USA - 19:30
Bronze - South Africa - 20:53
Copper - Spain - 23:01
5 - Peru - 23:39
6 - Argentina - 53:58
DNF - Chile