The scene is set for a gripping final day of action at the 2022 International Canoe Federation Stand Up Paddling World Championships in Poland with gold medals in the technical races up for grabs.

The men’s and women’s gold medalists from both the sprint and the long distance races are all through to Sunday’s semi-finals. In the men’s competition Australia’s Michael Booth and American Connor Baxter are set to lock horns, while fellow American April Zilg and Spain’s Esperanza Barreras are among the women’s semi-final qualifiers.

All four paddlers will be chasing their first technical race world title. Baxter won silver in both 2019 and 2021, Barreras took silver last year and Zilg bronze.

Also through to the men’s quarter final is defending world champion Noic Garioud of France. Denmark’s Christian Anderson was the fastest qualifier in the men’s heats, while France’s Iona Rivet posted the quickest time in the women’s heats.

Joining the women’s semi-finals line-up will be 2019 silver medalist Susak Molinero of Spain.

Two gold medals were decided in Gdynia on Saturday, in the men’s and women’s open inflatable races. Michael Booth picked up the gold in the men’s race.

“It was much better conditions then yesterday, and I wanted to try out this new board and it fitted into the schedule for me to do the inflatable race, so I’m really happy to take home this title,” Booth said.

“It’s actually surprising how well the inflatables react, because we are so used to paddling hardboards so to get to jump on one for a race, it really surprises you.”

Italy’s Paolo Marconi finished second and Germany’s Normen Weber took the bronze medal.

In the women’s race Canada’s Danielle Holdsworth, who has been competing in the women’s 40+ masters division, led from the start to take the world title.

“It was awesome, conditions have flattened right out, and I’m a flatwater paddler, so I was really sad to pull out of the distance race yesterday because conditions were really too big for my comfort,” Holdsworth said.

“So today, to have this is so amazing. It was really fun, inflatables have come so far in technology. Right now I’m super excited, but I’m sure I’ll feel a little bit tired tomorrow before the technical finals, but I’m really excited.”

Hungary’s Nora Kover finished second and Israel’s Esti Froimovici took the bronze.

Sunday will wrap up the 2022 International Canoe Federation Stand Up Paddling World Championships with the technical finals.

Pics by Georgia Schofield

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