Medals on the Mind of Powerful New Zealand SUP and Paddleboard Team
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 June, 2017 - Podium finishes and medals are on the minds of twelve athletes named in the New Zealand Team that will compete at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Champions this September.
The New Zealand Team has continued its rise up the world rankings with a fourth place finish in 2015 followed by a bronze medal in 2016 when the event was held in the tropical waters of neighbouring Fiji.
2017 event hosts, Denmark, could not be any further removed from Fiji but this years team will be searching for the same outstanding performances spurred on by defending champions, medallists and potent new recruits to the team.
New Zealand will defend titles in the Women’s SUP Technical Race through Penelope Strickland (Auck) and Men’s Prone Distance Race through Sam Shergold (Mnt). Both athletes return this year with Strickland also competing in the Women’s SUP Distance Race.
Strickland is joined by Queenstown paddler Annabel Anderson who has held the SUP Racer number one ranking for several years and will be a major force in technical, distance and sprint races.
Three Australian based athletes join the team in Trevor Tunnington, Cory Taylor and Jasmine Smith. Tunnington will have a big workload as he competes across the SUP Technical and Sprint Races as well as the SUP Surfing Discipline.
Tunnington, who returned to New Zealand in January to win the National Championships, will be joined by Sean Hovell (Gis) in the surfing discipline.
Hovell is one of three Gisborne athletes in the team with sisters Jasmine Smith (Prone Technical) and Stella Smith (SUP Surfing) also in the team.
At 15 years of age, Stella Smith is the youngest member of the New Zealand Team. She won the National Championships in January and has shown form that will see her rival the best in the world come September. She is joined by Kaikoura’s Lucy Te Moananui in the surfing discipline.
Stella’s oldest sister Jasmine competed at the event in 2015 where she placed fourth and received the copper medal. This year she returns to the team with two years extra experience competing against the best in Australia as well as coming off the back of her first Molokai to Oahu race being held in Hawaii during July – a race considered the pinnacle of long distance paddling.
Another athlete returning to the team is 17-year-old Ollie Houghton. Houghton last competed at the event in 2015 but had to forgo his place in the 2016 team due to school commitments. This year he returns to race in the SUP Technical Race.
Houghton is joined by Marcus Hansen (Whangarei) who finished inside the top ten in both the distance and technical races that he will again contest this year.
Australian based 2015 double medallist Cory Taylor returns to the fold in 2017 to contest the Prone Technical Race. Taylor is a regular participant in the famous Australian Ironman Series.
Rounding out the team is Jessica Miller who will contest the Paddleboard Distance Race. Miller has big shoes to fill following the two silver medals achieved by Danielle McKenzie (Auck) at the 2016 event.
Australia go into the event as the defending champions while France finished second in 2016 with the highly touted Hawaiian’s in fourth.
The 2017 Denmark event is expected to attract over 30 nations with its close proximity to other European nations.
The schedule for the event is as follows:
September 1: Opening Ceremony, Parade of Nations and Sands of the World
September 2: Men’s and Women’s SUP and Prone Distance Races
September 3: Men’s and Women’s SUP Sprint Races plus medal ceremonies (Distance and Sprint)
September 5 - 10: SUP Surf, SUP and Prone Technical Races, Team Relays, Closing Ceremony
Please see below for the full team that will compete at the 2017 ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship being held in Denmark from 1-10 September 2017.
Trevor Tunnington (AUS based) – SUP Surf, Endurance and Sprint Races
Sean Hovell (Gis) – SUP Surf
Stella Smith (Gis) – SUP Surf
Lucy Te Moananui (Kaikoura) – SUP Surf Women’s
Marcus Hansen (Whangarei) – SUP Distance and Technical Races
Oliver Houghton (Auck) – SUP Technical Race
Penelope Strickland (Auckland) – SUP Distance and Technical Races
Annabel Anderson (Qtown) – SUP Endurance, Technical and Sprint Races
Sam Shergold (Mount Maunganui) – Paddleboard Distance Race
Cory Taylor (Gold Coast) – Paddleboard Technical Race
Jessica Miller (AUS based) – Paddleboard Distance Race
Jasmine Smith (Gis) – Paddleboard Technical Race
Manager – Rosie Houghton (Auckland)
Assistant Manager – Gavin Houghton (Auckland)
Paddleboard Coach – Scott Cowdrey (Mount Maunganui)