San Clemente Times, Photos by Daniel Ritz

Doheny State Beach welcomed the stand-up paddleboarding world over the weekend, as the third installment of the Pacific Paddle Games was contested.

The event, which is the largest gathering of the SUP community on the planet, featured closely contested SUP races, both in the technical and distance variety, along with open division contests for paddlers of all ages and skills.

After a full day of seeding heats on Sept. 30, the finals for the professionals were held on Oct. 1 and they delivered plenty of excitement.

23-year-old Connor Baxter won his third consecutive men’s professional combined title and Annabel Anderson claimed the women’s professional title.

Baxter battled his way to a win in the men’s pro technical race and was pushed to the limit by Australia’s Lincoln Dews. Dews chased down Baxter late in the race, which features paddlers navigating through buoys, and the two were side-by-side for the final 10 minutes. It came down to a sprint to the finish line and Baxter won, finishing just two seconds ahead of Dews.

Earlier in the day, Baxter claimed the men’s pro distance race, finishing nine seconds ahead of runner-up Michael Booth and Danny Ching, who placed third.

Ching placed second in the overall championship and Matt Nottage placed third.

Annabel Anderson won the women's pro combined title at the Pacific Paddle Games. Photo: Daniel Ritz
Annabel Anderson won the women’s pro combined title at the Pacific Paddle Games. Photo: Daniel Ritz

Anderson dominated in both the technical and distance categories.

The New Zealand native cleared the next closest competitor, Fiona Wylde, by 23 seconds in the women’s pro distance race.

The Kiwi saved her best performance for the technical finals.

Anderson finished 29 seconds ahead of Dana Point’s Shae Foudy to seal the overall title.

Olivia Piana claimed second overall in the women’s pro combined title race and Foudy took third. Foudy also placed sixth in the distance race.

A SUP youth movement would be a theme at the Games, as a young class of paddlers showed they can compete on the biggest stages. Baxter, Dews, Piana, Foudy, Wylde and Titouan Puyo all reached the podium in the professional division and all six paddlers are 26-years-old or younger.

Matt Poole and Lizzie Welborn claimed the men’s and women’s pro prone combined division titles, respectively, while Ryan Funk and Jade Howson claimed the boys and girls pro junior titles, respectively.

Here is a list of the top-3 finishers in each professional SUP division:

Men’s Pro Combined: 1. Connor Baxter 2. Danny Ching 3. Matt Nottage

Women’s Pro Combined: 1. Annabel Anderson 2. Olivia Piana 3. Shae Foudy

Men’s Pro Distance: 1. Connor Baxter 2. Michael Booth 3. Danny Ching

Women’s Pro Distance: 2. Annabel Anderson 2. Fiona Wylde 3. Olivia Piana

Men’s Pro Technical: 1. Connor Baxter 2. Lincoln Dews 3. Titouan Puyo

Women’s Pro Technical: 1. Annabel Anderson 2. Shae Foudy 3. Olivia Piana

Men’s 40+ Technical: 1. Kelly Margetts 2. Paul Jackson 3. Tamas Buday

Men’s 40+ Distance: Kelly Margetts 2. Tama Buday 3. Gregory Closier

Boys Pro Junior Combined: 1. Ryan Funk 2.Noic Garioud 3. Christian Andersen

Girls Pro Junior Combined: 1. Jade Howson 2. Erika Benitez 3. Delila Quinn

Boys Pro Junior Distance: 1. Noic Garioud 2. Ryan Funk 3. Keoni Sulpice

Girls Pro Junior Distance: 1. Erika Benitez 2. Jade Howson 3. Delila Quinn

Boys Pro Junior Technical: 1. Ryan Funk 2. Noic Garioud 3. Tiavairaut Chang

Girls Pro Junior Technical: 1. Jade Howson 2. Erika Benitez 3. Delila Quinn

Men’s Pro Prone Combined: 1. Matt Poole 2. Lachie Lansdown 3. Luke Cuff

Men’s Pro Prone Distance: 1. Matt Poole 2. Luke Cuff 3. Lachie Lansdown

Men’s Pro Prone Technical: 1. Matt Poole 2. Lachie Lansdown 3. Luke Cuff

Women’s Pro Prone Combined: 1. Lizzie Welborn 2. Harriet Brown 3. Abby Brown

Women’s Pro Prone Distance: 1. Lizzie Welborn 2. Harriet Brown 3. Abby Brown

Women’s Pro Prone Technical: 1. Lizzie Welborn 2. Harriet Brown 3. Abby Brown

 

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