APP Crowns 2023 SUP Surfing World Champions

GRAN CANARIA, Spain - After a weeklong event in the Canary Islands amidst the best standup paddle surfers in the world, the APP World Tour has crowned its 2023 SUP surfing World Champions.

Longboard SUP


The rationale behind the integration of the SUP Longboard division was once again proven as we saw an epic display of surfing from the world's very best, truly capitalizing on the conditions on offer. As the rounds progressed, there were clear standouts in this division, with 2022 SUP Longboard World Champion Leco Salazar from Brazil illustrating a flawless mix of SUP longboarding to take the win in what was, without doubt, the heat of the day.

Semifinal #1 saw Leco match up with fellow Brazilian Leonardo Gimenes for a show to remember, as both athletes went blow for blow to take the win, with Leonardo even posting a 10 point ride in the process. However with a pair of nines, Leco once again came out on top mixing powerful turns with more traditional nose riding to advance onto the Finals.

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Top: Taka Inoue, Bottom left: Benoit Carpentier. | Photos: APP World Tour / Carter

The much anticipated match up between 2022 World #2 Benoit Carpentier from France (also reigning World Champion on the regular APP World Tour) and Taka Inoue from Japan did not disappoint. While the conditions were slower for this semifinal, both athletes demonstrated incredible ability, also going blow for blow, with Taka just taking the edge to advance onto the finals despite an impressive performance by Benoit, the standout performer of the event so far.

This meant that the final heat pitted the reigning SUP Longboard World Champion Leco Salazar against the young Japanese talent, Taka Inoue, another highly anticipated match up that did not disappoint, and it was another incredibly close affair. While Leco's magical mix of controlled power and flow was undeniable, Taka's flare and unique approach to riding the nose proved just enough to take the win and the Title for 2023.


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Kaede Inoue wins both the SUP longboard and Junior girls division. | Photos: APP World Tour / Carter

Kaede Inoue dominated both SUP longboard and U18 regular SUP divisions with another impressive performance at La Cicer. As reigning World Champion from 2022, and leading lady from last year's mixed men & women SUP longboard division, there was no doubt that Kaede was the one to beat at this year's Gran Canaria Pro-Am.

However, the victory across both divisions was not achieved without a battle, particularly in the SUP longboard division, where we saw a close match up between the great French talent Camille Dubrana in semifinal #1. While Camille was not able to overcome Kaede, there is no doubt that she is a major talent to watch out for in this division, with smooth and well put together surfing worthy of the podium finish she achieved.

In the final it was a family affair, with Kaede's sister Sakura having overcome 2018 World Champion and local favorite Iballa Moreno in semifinal #2. Despite Sakura's best efforts, she was unable to match her sister in the final, with Kaede securing victory with a dominant performance.

It was a similar story for the U18 girls, with Kaede making it a clean sweep across the best of 3 format introduced for this event. In second, was once again her sister Sakura, followed by a promising newcomer from France, Prune Guerin, who is certainly a name to watch out for in the future.


GC23 DAY3 3206 copyKapono Fukuda, your new U18 champion. | Photo: APP World Tour / Carter

Kapono Fukuda retains his APP Junior World Title with another impressive performance this year at the 2023 Gran Canaria Pro-Am. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour

Kicking off the day in the Main Event of the Gran Canaria Pro-Am, Kapono Fukuda was able to advance directly to the 3rd round ahead of one of the event favorites, Wellington Reis (who has now come back through a victory in his Repechage heat). With his confidence boosted by this great achievement, Kapono switched back into U18 mode for the finals of this division. Coming up against the up and coming young Spanish talent Enrique Perez Serra, Kapono looked comfortable throughout the 30 minute final and was able to find the right waves to post a couple of solid scores.

While Enrique put on a great performance in his first APP World Tour event, it was not enough to overcome the current Japanese #1, as Kapono was able to take victory and retain his Junior World Title once again in 2023. At just 16 years old, it is clear that this impressive talent has a bright future ahead of him.

Women's SUP Shortboard

While it was a more challenging forecast to navigate at this year's Gran Canaria Pro-Am, the best was saved for last as a new and groomed long period swell hit the line up mid afternoon on Sunday providing great conditions for competition to get back underway. This morning, the women's semifinals were met with ideal conditions to get underway early and it was clear from the outset, that the 2018 World Champion, Iballa Moreno from right here in Gran Canaria was not only on form, but had her targets clearly set on victory.

Due to the tighter window of conditions to provide the best opportunities for the athletes, a four woman format was adopted for this final day of competition. Iballa kicked off the day well, posting a solid 7 point ride to earn her place in finals along with Luchy Cosoleto from Argentina, the other stand out of the competition so far. But in the finals, Iballa was able to step it up further, securing two strong rides to take the well deserved victory over last year's champion, Kaede Inoue from Japan in 2nd, with the Argentinian Luchy Cosoleto finishing in 3rd and the younger Inoue sister, Sakura, in 4th.

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Clockwise: Luchy Cosoleto, Aline Adisaka, Kaede Inoue, Iballa Moreno. | Photos: APP World Tour / Carter

At 45 years old, Iballa continues to make history on the APP World Tour and for sport in general, securing her second World Title and second event win here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a phenomenal achievement at any age. Her performance this year once again clearly shows that she is far from done and we can expect more from this incredible talent in the years to come.

Men's SUP Shortboard

After an epic quarterfinals round held in a building swell on Sunday afternoon 26th November, the semifinalists were set, consisting of 4 Brazilians (Luiz Diniz, Wellington Reis, Leco Salazar and Leonardo Gimenes), Benoit Carpentier from France, Taka Inoue from Japan, Sebastian Gomez from Peru and Moritz Mauch representing Gran Canaria here at this World Championship Tour Final.

Benoit Carpentier set the pace in semifinal one, advancing alongside the Japanese talent Taka Inoue, while in the second semi, the eventual winner Luiz Diniz made a clear statement of his intentions, dominating the stacked heat to take the win followed by fellow Brazilian Leonardo Gimenes.

As the final heat of the day got underway, all four athletes got to work posting solid scores, with the standout wave of the final and the entire draw coming once again from Leonardo Gimenes, as was the case in the longboard division completing what has been a great event for this young talent.

luiz dinizLuiz Diniz. | Photo: APP World Tour / Carter

But it was Luiz Diniz's consistency and linking of turns that won over the impressive line up of talent in the final to take the win, followed by an elated Taka Inoue, who wraps up another spectacular week of competition for the Inoue family to finish in 2nd. In 3rd was the high scorer Leonardo Gimenes, who was unable to get a good enough back up score to take the win and the ever impressive Frenchman, Benoit Carpentier in 4th.

So that wraps what has been an amazing week of action here at the Gran Canaria Pro-Am where we saw Junior (U18) Champions crowned for both Boys and Girls, Longboard SUP Champions for both Men and Women and Pro Men and Women Champions for 2023. While the conditions weren't as spectacular as the 2022 edition, we were lucky enough to once again score some beautiful surf and the action was exceptional. Make sure to check out all the highlights and full results from this year's Gran Canaria Pro-Am on the Gran Canaria event page at appworldtour.com.

Last modified onMonday, 27 November 2023 12:04

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