The 9th stop of the EuroTour presented by Rogue took place in Scharbeutz,
Gemany from June 29th to July 1st.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup was week 9 of the EuroTour and the 7th stop of The Paddle League World Tour. This event was first held in Hamburg back in 2009 making it one of the world’s oldest races. Paddlers from 26 nations were met with perfect weather in the seaside town of Scharbeutz this year.
Scharbeutz’s long pier creates a perfect amphitheatre for spectators, which, combined with the amazing weather, produced a large crowd all weekend. The weekend also featured celebrity races and amateur events; stand out performers in the amateur field included Caroline Künzel (Denmark) who won the open race in just her second ever SUP event.
The Mercedes Benz SUP World Cup is considered by athletes to be one of the most professionally organised events in the sport, and it's helped elevate SUP to a more mainstream level with major media distribution in Germany and major backing from brands such as Mercedes-Benz and L'Oreal.
elite race was a 10km course race featuring 6 laps, with a stiff ocean breeze giving competitors both downwind and headwind bumps on the longer stretches, which in turn made drafting difficult and produced big time gaps on the results sheet.
The tight nature of the course, although sometimes confusing as the men's and women's fields overlapped (women have already been promised their own separate race at next year's event), produced some of the most exciting racing we've seen all season for the crowd on the beach, along the pier and watching online around the world; at one point, Sonni and Olivia were battling side-by-side just metres ahead of the duel between Lincoln and Boothy.
The host nation favourite Germany’s Sonni Hönscheid, Starboard looked set to claim victory after opening an early lead; the only woman who could match the pace early was USA’s Seychelle Webster (SIC) who was just a couple of board lengths behind on the opening two laps
However France’s Olivia Piana (425) found her rhythm and charged up into the virtual lead on lap three before pulling away in the second half of the battle for a clear win. Olivia eventually won by a minute, denying the home crowd a national celebration but still receiving a big cheer from the fans. The difference came down to Olivia’s speed around the buoy turns and incredible ability to milk the tiny downwind bumps on the longer stretches.
Seychelle was looking very strong in third, with another podium that caps off a big European season for the American
Australia’s Angie Jackson produced one of the performances of the day, coming back from a hectic start that caused confusion and left half a dozen women starting from the back of the field; the Australian fought all the way up to fifth but was left to lament what could have been if the start had been clearer.
Another impressive performance was from Fiona Wylde (Starboard), who started the final lap in 7th but charged home in the bumps to claim 4th
In the men’s race of the strongest fields of the season came together to create one of the most intense races we've seen in a long time. Despite the incredible talent on the start line, the two most in-form athletes of the season so far, duelling Antipodeans Michael Booth (Starboard) and Lincoln Dews, opened up a gap almost immediately and were never threatened.
Over the next hour, the contest became an extraordinary arm-wrestle as the Australian duo battled side-by-side, stroke-for-stroke from buoy to buoy. There was an ever-present feeling that Boothy would eventually break clear, just as he's done almost every race this season, however Lincoln refused to give in and then turned the tables by making the first attack in the second half of the contest.
The Quickblade team rider eventually broke free in the small bumps on lap five, before grinding out a tense final loop to claim his first major title. Victory was particularly sweet for the underdog considering he's been runner-up at the previous two EuroTour stops (Bilbao/Hossegor), with Lincoln, who could barely talk at the finish line after giving it all on the water, calling it a “huge relief” to finally hit the top step of the podium.
The Aussie boys were full of compliments for each other, with Lincoln saying "It was an honour to race against Boothy, he's been the man to beat the past 12 months," and Boothy humbly adding that "Lincoln paddled fantastic and was the best man on the day; I did everything I could but he just kept pulling away."
Behind the battle royale at the front of the field, Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) raced solo virtually start to finish to claim a very impressive third place, while Connor Baxter picked up another top five result that would be a delight to anyone else but wasn't the one he was looking for. Marcus Hansen continued to shed his dark horse status by rounding out the top five on a day when many established names finished outside the top10 or even top 20. Bruno Hasulyo (Starboard) continued showing his good form in varied conditions by claiming sixth, while consistent Frenchman Martin Vitry (SIC) took 7th place for the fourth time this year
Georges Cronsteadt (425, 8th), Noic Garioud (9th) and Josh Riccio (F.One, 10th) all raced superbly and would have won most mid-level events with their performances--the fact they were only just inside the top 10 highlights just how strong the field is in Europe these days; big names such as Mo Freitas and last year’s World Cup runner-up Casper Steinfath were left stranded outside the top 10 after an intense hour of racing.
Check out the website with all the RESULTS
Pictures from the weekend: here
Stay tuned as The EuroTour goes to Finland for our last stop#10 VI Sieravuori SUP Masters
so get ready for another great weekend of action on the 7th & 8th of July.