PARIS, France - As we come to the close of the 2018 Racing Season, what better place to envisage crowning the APP World Tour Racing Champions than amidst the biggest single race in the sport: The Paris SUP Crossing. As 800 avid paddlers take to the water on Sunday morning to paddle through the heart of Paris, down the stunning River Seine, the World's very best athletes on the APP World Tour will be lining up to do battle for one last time in 2018. This is the prestigious final event of the Tour where World Champions will be crowned!
The Nautic Paddle now in its 9th year, has successfully captured the spirit of fun and camaraderie through this iconic paddle through the heart of Paris, as each year not only sells out in terms of participation, but in 2018, over 2,000 entries were received for the 800 allotted spots. Despite the fact that early December in Paris is not known for its soaring temperatures and great weather, people from all walks of life come together in celebration of the sport for a truly unique experience. To be able to combine this with the final stop of the 2018 APP World Tour is undoubtedly a very special opportunity.
In addition to the race down the River Seine, there is the transformed Sprint Racing component of the Paris SUP Open that will take place in the Salon Nautique (Paris Boat Show) itself on Saturday afternoon (8th December) from 2pm CET. For the first time ever, the best in the world will take part in a unique man-on-man elimination format that promises to deliver some of the most exciting and ground breaking racing of the year.
Australia's Michael Booth and France's Arthur Arutkin will be going head-to-head for the men's title. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour
It has come down to this: tension mounts as the 3 real Contenders remain in the mix for the 2018 APP World Racing Title. And what an exciting title race it is this year, with a new face on top of the World, Arthur Arutkin from France. Although Arthur is a relatively long time contender on the APP World Tour, Arthur seems to have found himself this year, and proven to himself and the rest of the World, that he is capable of not only taking on the best of the best, but beating them. From his gutsy performance in London to come back from behind, to another incredible result in New York that saw him take the win in one of the most dramatic, and iconic races of the year, followed by a strong showing at the Pacific Paddle Games in Dana Point, Arthur is sitting in a strong position at the top of the leaderboard, with 45,750 points.
However, it is far from over for this year, as the powerhouse Michael Booth (39,250 points) is well within reach, and a strong finish in France could propel the Australian to the top of the World. Likewise, a great 2nd half of the season by Connor Baxter (37,750 points) has proven that he is very much still in the mix and certainly looking to defend his 2017 World Title this year in Paris.
Behind these 3 Contenders is a whole host of talent that could easily upset any of these 3 Champions dreams of a World Title: from the Great Dane, Casper Steinfath (Naish), the ever dangerous Hawaiian Mo Freitas (Rogue), the Hungarian power duo Bruno and Daniel Hasulyo, to legends, Danny Ching and Travis Grant, who have shown time and time again, that they are still very much the guys to beat. It is going to be a battle to the end, and we can't wait to see how it all unfolds this weekend in Paris for the final stop of the 2018 APP World Tour.
Candice Appleby (center) will be going up against her protégé, Shae Foudy for the women's title. | Photo Courtesy: APP World Tour
It will all come down to this: team mates and great friends, Shae Foudy and Candice Appleby will battle it out for the 2018 APP World Title.
Shae: After a dominant start to the season in London, Shae Foudy clearly demonstrated that she has come of age and is ready to take down the best of the best on the World Championship Tour. In New York, her approach was similar, but was bested by team mate, mentor and great friend, Candice Appleby who has been on the comeback of all comebacks this year, after injury plagued her start to the 2018 season.
Candice: The turning point for Appleby was New York, where a decisive win in the iconic distance race around the Statue of Liberty set her on a winning streak that saw her secure the overall win in New York followed by the dramatic Pacific Paddle Games at the infamous Doheny Beach, now an official stop on the APP World Tour.
With just 1,000 points separating them in the overall rankings, with Shae just ahead of Candice, it will come down to these final two races in Paris, the sprints in the pool and the long distance on the River Seine to determine the 2018 APP World Racing Champion.
While the title has become somewhat of a two-horse race, 2017 World Champion Terrene Black has been on a tear since New York, and will be looking to finish the year on a high in Paris for racing and then Gran Canaria for surfing. Also to watch out for in Paris, will be the ever impressive Yuka Sato from Japan, who kicked off the year with a win in the iconic race to the Houses of Parliament in London and is also looking to wrap the year on a high in Paris.
Meanwhile, the local talent will without doubt make their presence felt, with the likes of Olivia Piana and Amandine Chazot on the start line and ready take on the best of the best. Whatever the outcome, it will be a weekend to remember, as World's best descend on the beautiful City of Paris for the final showdown of the season, and join the single biggest and one of the most iconic races in the World. Watch it all go down LIVE from 1:45pm on Saturday afternoon at appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Photo Courtesy: APP World Tour
About the APP World Tour and Waterman League International
The APP World Tour is the Professional World Championship Tour for the Sport of Paddlesurfing (also known as SUP / Stand Up Paddling / Paddleboarding), officially sanctioned by the IOC recognized Federation for Surfing Sports, the ISA (International Surfing Association). Re-branded in 2017 as the APP World Tour (previously known as the Stand Up World Tour and Series) the APP has been crowning the sport’s World Champions for both Men & Women across Racing and Surfing since 2010.
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