2012 SupConnect SUP Women of the Year Winners

Candice Appleby won the SupConnect 2012 SUP Woman of the Year Elite Division. Candice Appleby won the SupConnect 2012 SUP Woman of the Year Elite Division.

Two categories of women are being honored this year in the SupConnect 2012 SUP Woman of the Year Awards.  They include the Elite Division Winners and the People's Choice Division Winners.  Find out who took the top spots! 



Nikki Gregg - #2 2012 Elite SUP Woman


Talia Gangini - #3 2012 Elite SUP Woman


Morgan Hoesterey - #4 2012 Elite SUP Woman


Iballa Moreno - #5 2012 Elite SUP Woman


Alice Shih - #1 2012 People's Choice SUP Woman


Erin Finn Macdonell - #2 2012 People's Choice SUP Woman


Sarah Brenes - #3 2012 People's Choice SUP Woman


Ashley Clarkin - #4 2012 People's Choice SUP Woman


Karina Figl - #5 2012 People's Choice SUP Woman

DIEGO, California - This year, the competition for the SUP Woman of the Year was conducted in two separate phases.··The first was an open nomination process where anyone could be nominated to become the next SUP woman of the year.  The second phase involved a month of voting on pre-seeded athletes along with the top nominees from the first phase.  In the end the results were so incredible and exciting that there are two categories of women who will be honored this year. 

The first group to be honored is the Elite Division winners.  These winners were chosen based upon a 4 tier selection criteria including ambassadorship (conveying the cheerfulness and inclusiveness characteristic of the sport), involvement (attending events and gatherings, having a finger on the pulse of the sport), performance (showing proficiency in the sport, though top results are not a requirement) and support (having a following and votes to show you have some support to validate your credibility).  

The second group of women being honored is the People's Choice Division which is based upon public voting / community support. (Women honored in the Elite Division are not eligible for the People's Choice Division and vice versa.)
So without further adieu and after thousands of votes, the Elite women who have been selected as the SupConnect SUP Women of the Year are: 

#1 Candice Appleby - Candice Appleby is a professional ocean athlete from San Clemente, California.  She has been deemed by many as the "Queen of SUP", has had stellar performances for years and is arguably the most winning stand up paddler of all time.  This year she has won many races such as the Gorge Challenge, and the River Rocks SUP race. She was second at the Battle of the Paddle yet has won more Battle of the Paddle races than any other man or woman.  Candice has also been highly involved in spreading the SUP stoke to the youth in our sport and has really gone out of her way to help teach the groms to paddle well, but most importantly to love the sport.  There is no doubt that her ambassadorship, involvement, performance and support in stand up paddle make her the 2012 SupConnect Elite Woman of the Year.  

#2 Nikki Gregg - Nikki Gregg is from Ohio and owns a fitness training business.  Dubbed as "The First Lady of Stand Up Paddle Fitness," her passion lies in any and all forms of stand up paddling; from fitness, surfing, racing, flatwater, open ocean and even whitewater.  Nikki is one of the most well rounded athletes in this fast growing sport of SUP and was the overall winner at the whitewater SUP Championships.  She is also very much supported and appreciated throughout the SUP community.  It is with great pride that Nikki is the 2012 SupConnect Elite SUP Woman of the Year runner-up.

#3 Talia Gangini - Talia Gangini was born and raised in Maui, Hawaii.  She loves surfing, SUP, and Oc-1 canoe paddling.  In 2007, Talia became the youngest women to ever paddle the 32 mile Molokai to Oahu paddle board race on a team. This past July she finished that same race solo on a 16ft Stand-up board breaking the record in her division by more than 30mins.  For a phenomenal year, the young Talia is the 3rd place 2012 SupConnect Elite SUP Woman of the Year.

#4 Morgan Hoesterey - Morgan Hoesterey grew up as a competitive swimmer in Southern California. After high school, she moved from Southern California to Honolulu.  With just eight months of paddling experience, she became the first woman to attempt and complete the legendary Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race solo on a standup paddleboard.  This year she was 6th at the Battle of the Paddle.  Morgan is constantly spreading the stoke.

#5 Iballa Moreno - Iballa Moreno is a passione Stand Up Paddler who started just 2 years ago in between windsurfing sessions and whenever she had time off tour.  She is the current leader in PWA Windsurfing wave tour and together with her twin sister, Daida Moreno, they have dominated the sport of windsurfing for the last 13 years.  Now Iballa is starting to combine the two Sports she loves: windsurfing and Stand Up Paddle.  Iballa feels that with Stand Up Paddle she has found a new sport in her life where she can perfectly combine windsurfing and SUP. No wind: SUP or surf. Wind: Go sailing!  

In the People's Choice Division of the 2012 SupConnect SUP Woman of the Year, the winners are:

#1 Alice Shih - Alice has made huge waves in paddleboard communities around the world in the last 5 years, as the founder of the world’s first women-specific paddleboard company, Paiwen. Alice has endless passion for the sport and a commitment to build beautiful, high quality boards to suit women’s body types, riding practices, and styles. Alice is constantly traveling from her home in Vancouver B.C., connecting with other stand up paddlers, and teaching anyone interested in the sport. She has collaborated with fitness and yoga instructors to push the limits of conventional stand up paddleboarding. The company is built on her personal belief in attaining a healthy lifestyle through stand up paddleboarding. With her big heart and love of adventure, Alice has spread her enthusiasm and has affected many lives through the sport.

#2 Erin Finn Macdonell - Erin Finn Macdonell is a true ambassador to the sport of SUP. She is a passionate Stand Up Paddler and encourages everyone to "Get On Board". She has often allowed first time paddlers to use her personal racing equipment so that they could experience SUP. She has brought SUP'nGIRLS to Canada, promotes WPA certified instructors and assists with various paddle business here in Ontario. Erin is always the first to assist with organizing, running and participating with community SUP events. She does this for no financial or business gains, but rather to assist others to enjoy the sport. Erin is a proud representative of Sweet Waterwear. She is a tough competitor and has participated in numerous races in Ontario and in the States.  Erin suffered cracked ribs this summer and still battled hard at races. She personifies the aloha of SUP, is an amazing role model and inspiration that WE all exel to.

#3 Sarah Brenes - Although Sara Brenes is relatively new to the sport of paddle boarding, she has embraced it wholeheartedly and ignited the SUP passion in so many others. Sara founded a charity last year when she was fifteen to help save sharks and help spread ocean conservancy. She is now offering SUP eco tours as a way of fundraising for her 100% non profit organization. During the tours participants paddle over shark nurseries to experience the beauty of sharks up close and personal. While paddling Sara explains the value of sharks to the oceans eco systems, why they are important and what is happening to them that they are in danger of extinction. Sara also teaches participants to please care for the ocean by picking up garbage any time on or in the water and dispose of on land so that the oceans can be kept clean. She also educates people on the local flora, fauna and wildlife. The SUP community is embracing her and Sara is embracing it right back. Sara is a role model to others.

#4 Ashley Clarkin - Ashley began supping early in the game. She has been teaching the people of Fort Lauderdale, FL to SUP for about three years. She is a true SUP Lifestyle ambassador, from SUP racing, surfing and running her own business, Pure Surf Life, to managing Precision Paddleboards. Her most recent undertaking, the Precision Paddleboard Stand Up Paddle Academy (SUPA), takes novice paddlers and improves their skills from tail turns and negotiating surf breaks, to training people to enter and compete in their first SUP race. Ashley's love of the sport ensures the future growth and development of SUP. She embodies the welcoming nature of the sport with enough southern sass to keep things interesting.

#5 Karina Figl - Karina is an amazing woman! She has been SUPing for over 4 years. She also kite boards and used to be a ski and snowboard instructor in Austria when she was younger. She now lives with her family in Cape Town South Africa. In 2012 she took Bronze in the SUP World Championships for her home country Austria.  In 2011 she started SUPsistas (www.supsistas.co.za) - an initiative that aims to introduce as many girls and women to the sport of SUP, thereby empowering them to face their fears, push their boundaries and to most importantly have FUN, all whilst raising funds support local children who have been orphaned. 

A special thanks goes out to all the people who voted and shared the SUP stoke during the SupConnect SUP Woman of the Year 2012 Awards.  Thank you.

Join the latest 2012 SupConnect contest, the SUP Photo of the Year Contest here: http://bit.ly/SupConnectPhotoOfYearContest2012


Last modified onWednesday, 01 July 2015 18:23
Erin Blunt Robbins

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