The third International Canoe Federation Stand Up Paddling world championships in Poland saw new champions crowned, former champions re-crowned, and, perhaps most importantly, new athletes emerge from around the world.

The big international names were out in force in Gdynia; Baxter, Booth, Zilg, Barreras – four athletes who we can expect have many more years at the top. But the future for the sport is also in very good hands.

One of the most impressive performers in the women’s competition was Spain’s Duna Gordillo, competing in her first year as a senior after sweeping three gold medals last year in her final year as a junior. Gordillo had Sunday’s technical gold in her hand before a small mistake sent her into the water.

She was second in the long distance, in incredibly difficult conditions and after leading for more than half the race, and fifth in the sprint. Meanwhile in the juniors, 16-year-old Italian Cecilia Pampinella has emerged as a definite star of the future, matching Gordillo’s performance of 2021 with three world titles over the week.

But first she has two more years of junior competition.

South Africa Cameron Tripney SUP Gdynia 2022

In the junior men, France’s Vaic Garioud, the younger brother of two-time world champion Noic, showed his class with a gold medal in the long distance, silver in the technical and bronze in the sprint.

Spain’s Sergio Cantoral is also a name to watch after his impressive win in the junior technical final, silver in the long distance, and fifth in the sprint.

And a totally new name who made his mark in Gdynia; South Africa’s Cameron Tripney, whose raw speed on day one blew all his opponents out of the water in the sprint. A disappointing race in the semi-finals of the technical left him in the B-final, which he then went out and won comfortably in a junior time bettered only by the winner of the A-final.

Also pleasing for the ICF is the continued crossover from paddlers from other canoe disciplines. Among the starters this year were former Olympic canoe sprint athletes Tommy Buday of Canada and Vadim Korobov of Lithuania; former Olympic canoe slalom athlete Hermann Husslein of Thailand; four-time canoe marathon world champion Marton Kover of Hungary; and wildwater canoeing medalist Normen Weber of Germany.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko said the continued growth of the ICF Stand Up Paddling World Championships is a credit to everyone involved.

“This year’s world championships provided several challenges, not least the terrible weather which forced us to delay the start of the long distance races,” Mr Konietzko said.

“When you hold an event as big as a world championships, there will always be lessons to be learned. But the fantastic feedback we are getting from athletes and officials gives us confidence that we are continuing to play a major role in the growth of SUP.

“And seeing all these athletes from different paddling disciplines taking part in Gdynia shows how truly global stand up paddling is as a sport. The continued growth of inflatable boards is making SUP more accessible, and I predict next year’s world titles will be even bigger than this year.”

Mr Konietzko also highlighted the very successful first ever SUP clinic run for Special Olympic athletes, which gave young athletes the chance to paddle and learn from top international athletes.

Pics by Georgia Schofield

Spain Duna Gordillo SUP Gdynia 2022

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