Aussie rider untouchable at World SUP Challenge
This was the 7th stop of on the EuroTour's 'Summer of SUP' with an awesome race on Saturday with Starboard Dream Team riders once again delivering exceptional results as hundreds of amateurs and kids also took to the water in a record-setting event (of almost 300 paddlers).
Michael Booth's incredible solo performance was the talk of the weekend ~ the Aussie powerhouse played his signature hand to break away from the lead pack, but this year he did it significantly earlier than ever before leaving chase pack (with the biggest names in SUP racing) who were simply not able to respond, leaving them to fight it out for second place. Booth won the 12km elite race in a super fast time of 1:01:17 to collect the 2,500 EUR cash purse.
After being on Tour for some weeks now, Boothy seems like he is going from strength to strength ~ here is the SUP-star's recount of Saturday's high stakes racing;
"I honestly couldn't be happier with the way the European season has gone so far. Another win in Bilbao and my forth win on theEuro Tour this year makes it a very special year for me. Coming into Bilbao I was definitely mentally drained from all the racing, but physically it was the best I'd felt all tour so far. Flying in for the event there was a lot of fresh, powerful and strong guys joining the tour, which added to the challenge for me. On the start line I was cautious not to have a bad start and make the mistake I made last year. I decent start and utilised the guys around me to the first can and I came out of it in second. Here I felt a few of the guys had pushed very hard and exhausted themselves in the process so, with a bit of luck, a bit of backwash and a lot of effort I attacked and I broke. It was a long way on my own but with the combination of a shortened course and the belief in myself I was able to hold off an extremely strong pack of athletes.The atmosphere at the event was impeccable. The city of Bilbao was holding what I believe is the 'white night' which is something that the town really comes out for… 'til all hours of the morning! During the race the banks of the river were lined with droves of spectators and I believe its the most watched SUP race by the general public that I've been a part of. After the event the festivities started and it was a great night had by all. Big thanks to everyone who put on these showcase events! The Starboard Sprint 14 x 21.5 is my favourite board, its fast, stable, and its really proven itself in all conditions now. I feel extremely comfortable on it and I'm so lucky to be part of a brand who puts so much time and effort into their race boards as it really gives us elite riders the edge over the competition!"- Michael Booth
Also worth noting was the incredible hard work from that of fellow Starboard Dream Team rider Daniel Hasulyo (Hungary) who pulled the lead pack early on with that an intensity that saw the lead pack start to stretch out quite significantly.
Bruno Hasulyo's (Hungary) valiant performance saw him finish in a solid 8th position and put him on the podium as well.
"Bilbao was a real World Class Show! I personally love to race in rivers and believe that events and locations like this are truly encouraging the growth of the sport and the transformation to mass participation in sport. The water arena of Bilbao, with the iconic Guggenheim Museum in the background, is one of the most spectacular places one can be fortunate to race boasting one of the biggest international athlete turnouts of the season, made the 2018 edition of the Iberdrola Bilbao World SUP Challenge an unforgettable experience for me."- Daniel Hasulyo
2018 Bilbao World SUP Challenge Elite Men's Results: 1st: Michael Booth 1:01:17 (Australia; Starboard) 2nd: Lincoln Dews 1:01:50 (Australia; DEEP/QB) 3rd: Mo Freitas 1:01:52 (Hawaii; Rogue) 4th: Titouan Puyo 1:01:54 (France; NSP/QB) 5th: Daniel Hasulyo 1:01:55 (Hungary; Starboard) 6th: Noic Garioud 1:01:56 (New Caledonia; Sunova) 7th: Martin Vitry 1:01:56 (France; SIC) 8th: Bruno Hasulyo 1:01:58 (Hungary; Starboard) 9th: Arthur Arutkin 1:02:00 (France; Fanatic) 10th: Tom Auber 1:02:05 (France; Fanatic)
2018 Bilbao World SUP Challenge Elite Women's Results: 1st: Olivia Piana 1:13:27 (France; 425) 2nd: Seychelle 1:13:29 (USA; SIC) 3rd: Fiona Wylde 1:13:41 (USA; Starboard) 4th: Yuka Sato 1:14:13 (Japan; Starboard) 5th: Kate Baker 1:14:40 (Australia; ONE) 6th: Laura Quetglas 1:15:31 (Spain; Starboard) 7th: Amandine Chazot 1:16:00 (France; Starboard) 8th: Angie Jackson 1:17:32 (Australia; ONE) 9th: Susak Molinero 1:18:12 (Spain; RRD) 10th: Caterina Stenta 1:18:48 (Italy; RRD)