Photos courtesy of Waterman League
Mo Freitas, Angie Jackson Win in Japan
Howling winds created extra excitement at the Standup World Series' inaugural Japanese event, the Shonan Chigasaki Pro. With nearly 100 standup paddlers competing over two days in Sprints and Long Distance races in 25mph winds, Australian Angie Jackson and Oahu's Mo Freitas came out on top with the big wins.
Jackson was dominant throughout the Shonan Chigasaki Pro, winning each of the three heats in the Sprints on Day 1, ahead of local standout Takayo Yokoyama, who finished on Jackson's heels in second place of each heat. Jackson made the wins look effortless, flying through the upwind legs, and skillfully rounding each buoy before cruising from bump to bump on the downwind legs.
On Day 2, Jackson continued her dominance in the Long Distance race with a strong start that allowed her to push ahead of the competitive field and increase her lead each lap. Again, she hammered through the course effortlessly to take her second big win of the event, and the overall event title over local racer, Yakoyama.
Taking second overall for the women, Yakoyama of Chigasaki showed consistency in the challenging conditions with solid second place finishes across the board. Yakoyama was right at home before the crowd of spectators that cheered her on to her second place finish in the Long Distance, ahead of third place Ashton Woods of Australia, and on to the overall second place in the Shonan Chigasaki Pro.
Freitas also had great performances throughout the weekend, looking strong in the Sprints heats before unleashing it all for the finals. Freitas took bump after bump on the downwind sections and powered through the upwind legs to take the win ahead of Australia's Toby Cracknell and Beau O'Brian.
Sunday, Freitas sealed his event win with a second place in the Long Distance to Australian Paul Jackson. Jackson battled Freitas, who took the lead briefly during the second lap, but wasn't ready to give up the win, and powered through the course to take first ahead of Freitas, O'Brian and Cracknell, making it a dominant day for the Jackson couple.
Next up on the Standup World Series is the Huntington Beach Pro, Stop 1 of the US Trilogy of Events.