Fernando Stalla finishes strong for the Men's Elite title. Photo: Will Taylor

Fernando Stalla, of Sayulita, Mexico, took the hotly-contested win in the Elite technical race of the US SUP Tour’s San Clemente stop today. He overcame athletes such as Matt Becker and Slater Trout in a battle out and in through the surf. Halie Harrison took the women’s elite win over Lucy Bell and Tamara Lentz.

Each lap of the races featured three buoy turns, the third of which was just offshore in the surf zone. Fans cheered for their favorite SUP athletes as they fell, bumped rails and scratched back onto their boards. More than one lead was lost and won in this area with racers often advancing three or four places on a well-timed wave while their opponents floundered in the whitewater.

Halie Harrison coming in for the Women's Elite win. Photo: Will Taylor

“The action was amazing,” Ian Cairns, the US SUP Tour contest director said. “This is how you grow a sport: you bring the action to the spectators.”

The action will continue tomorrow with the Elite and Open surf events to be held at Church surf break in San Clemente. Look for more coverage from SUPthemag.com.

Men’s Elite
1) Fernando Stalla
2) Matt Becker
3) Slater Trout
4) Ryan Helm
5) Brennan Rose

Women’s Elite
1) Halie Harrison
2) Lucy Bell
3) Tamara Lentz
4) Sarah Messina
5) Lara Claydon