Underdogs Capture Thrilling SUP Sprint Gold Medals


Mens Final Sean EvansMen’s Sprint final underway. | Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

WANNING, China – Team Brazil’s Arthur Santacreu and South Africa’s Tarryn King respectively charged to victory earning the Men’s and Women’s SUP Sprint Gold Medals at the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Wanning, China. King’s performance is the first-ever SUP Gold Medal for South Africa and comes just over a year after giving birth and returning to an elite level for SUP Surfing and Racing. King’s husband Thomas celebrated on the beach with their 1-year son.

With two Bronze Medals for USA and only one Copper Medal for Australia in the Sprint Races, USA built upon their lead with five medals remaining to be awarded. Team New Zealand jumped up into the third position with Trevor Tunnington’s Silver Medal, closely trailed by Team France and Spain.


Men’s Sprint paddle battle. | Photos: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

BRA ARTHUR CARVALHO JIMENEZ 2Arthur Santacreu, from Bronze in 2017 to Gold in 2018. | Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

After a morning of Quarterfinals and Semifinals at Shenzhou Peninsula, the Men’s SUP Sprint Final featured Arthur Santacreu (BRA), Connor Baxter (USA), Kenny Kaneko (JPN), Trevor Tunnington (NZL), Noic Gariou (FRA), and Claudio Nika (ITA). Brazil’s Santacreu, who earned the SUP Sprint Bronze in 2017, continued his string of first place finishes through the qualifying heats and didn’t let up in the Final to earn the Gold.

“I am so grateful,” said Santacreu. “All my training worked really well. My team knows how to encourage me. Their support fully played a part in my Gold Medal.”

New Zealand’s Trevor Tunnington followed with the Silver, USA’s Connor Baxter with the Bronze, and France’s 16-year-old Noic Gariou with the Copper. Notably missing from the Final was Denmark’s 2017 Men’s Gold Medalist, Casper Steinfath, who just missed out qualifying for the Final by three tenths of a second in the Semifinals.

Womens Final Sean Evans 2Women’s Sprint finals. | Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The Women’s SUP Sprint Final finished off the day of action, with France’s 2017 Silver Medalist Amandine Chazot matching up against Italy’s Caterina Stenta, USA’s Jade Howson, South Africa’s King, Australia’s Terrene Black, and Japan’s Yuka Sato. King built a decisive lead and crossed the finish line in first place to the cheers of her team on the beach.

“I’ve put in a lot of time and a lot of training,” said King. “I am so stoked. To win Gold in the Sprints is a dream come true. It’s been quite a journey from giving birth to being World Champion. I stayed fit during my pregnancy and once I gave birth, I bounced back quite quickly. I really focused on coming to compete in the ISA and it all paid off.”


Tarryn King rejoices with her son after earning a historic first-ever SUP Gold Medal for Team South Africa. | Photo: ISA / Pablo Jímenez

Silver, Bronze and Copper positions were too close to call with the naked eye, but upon further review Italy’s Stenta prevailed with the Silver, USA’s Howson with the Bronze, and Australia’s Black with Copper.

With two days remaining in the event, the SUP and Paddleboard Distance Races and Team Relay will round out the event, determining the 2018 Team World Champion.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“The SUP Sprints have been an exciting addition to the event since 2016, adding a new element of power and explosiveness. We are proud to continue crowning the best SUP and Paddleboard athletes World Champions, and today was no exception. We have two days of competition left in Wanning and the team points are heating up. We have five Gold Medals left to determine who will be Team World Champion.”

The ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship will be streamed live on isasurf.org Nov 23 – Dec 2.

Check out the video recap below.