ENOSHIMA BEACH, Japan - Hosted at an all new venue for 2017, the beautiful Enoshima Beach in the Kanagawa Prefecture just south of Tokyo, the Japan Pro-Am presented by Hawaiian Airlines will take place from the 5th - 7th May, as the World's very best athletes descend upon this picturesque seaside town for a battle to remember.
Enoshima has a rich heritage in water sports activities, from surfing, Stand Up Paddling and prone paddling, to sailing, windsurfing and fishing and has already been selected as one of the venues for the 2020 Olympic Games for multiple disciplines. As a result, it is an ideal venue for this year's Japan Pro-Am: as one of the most popular coastal towns within reach of Tokyo, the event is also taking place during Golden Week, one of Japan's biggest holidays, meaning that it will be a hive of activity as the World's best hit the water for Stop #3 of the 2017 APP World Tour.
Both days of the event featuring Long Distance and Elimination Sprint Racing formats will be LIVE broadcast at www.appworldtour.com, so stay tuned for the detailed broadcast schedule and all other event information regarding the first of two exciting Asian stops for the Tour in 2017.
Beyond the on-the-water action, there will be live music and entertainment in true Hawaiian fashion throughout the weekend, along with social events, a nations parade and of course the Opening and Closing Ceremonies that will make this a weekend to remember in Enoshima, Japan.
The talent on the APP World Tour runs deep, as we anticipate some epic battles here at Stop #3 in Japan, as the Title race will intensify. | Photo via: APP World Tour
If there is one thing that the 1st racing stop of the Tour on Maui clearly showed, the talent runs deep here on the APP World Tour and we are going to see a battle to the end for the World Title in 2017.
Mo Freitas and Connor Baxter came out of the gates strong in Maui, with impressive finishes in both long distance and sprint races to take 1st and 2nd respectively in the overall (the tie-breaker went Mo's way on this occasion, where the sprints weighted heavier over the long distance this year on Maui). However, they had to fight for it, with Naish athlete Casper Steinfath once again showing his dominance in the sprint racing discipline to take his second straight win here on Maui and Michael Booth proving he is one of the most dangerous distance paddlers in the world, taking the win in the distance.
Behind these four though were a stack field of Australian, Hawaiian, US and European talent, with certain names rising to the top to clearly demonstrate that it will be an exciting Race through 2017.
- The Australians had a great showing, with rising star Lincoln Dews clearly showing he is a force to be reckoned with, finishing in 4th place overall for the event, along with Toby Cracknell who finished behind him in 7th. That is of course not forgetting the seasoned professional, Travis Grant, who demonstrated that he can mix it up and remains a serious contender, finishing in 5th place overall in Maui.
- The US contingent put on a solid showing, with the young Rob Funk (Starboard) clearly demonstrating he is one of the up and coming talents ready to do damage on Tour finishing in 7th place, along with Josh Riccio (F-One), who put on a phenomenal performance across both disciplines to finish in 11th. Then of course not forgetting the ever impressive Slater Trout, whose athleticism is second to none and from whom we expect great things in 2017
- The Europeans were headlined with another standout performance from the young French talent, Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic), who never fails to post a Top 10 finish, and is a likely Title contender in 2017 given his track record and how he has started the year. Behind Arthur, Leonard Nika (Starboard) is looking as dangerous as ever, but had a challenging first stop to the 2017 Tour. He will be looking for a major comeback in Japan and then of course heading home to Europe for Stop #4 in Germany.
Japan is a different playing field and will provide a new challenge for the very best in the world. Make sure to stay tuned for the build up to this event and watch it all go down LIVE at www.appworldtour.com
The Women's field is providing fiercer competition than ever, as the battle is on headed into the 2nd stop of the year for racing in Japan. | Photo via: APP World Tour
Terrene Black came out of the gates swinging in 2017, with a solid performance in the surfing at the Sunset Beach Pro, followed up by a dominant performance in the Maui Pro-Am, where she took the win in the sprint racing and 3rd place in the Long Distance. There is no doubt that Terrene is a force to be reckoned with and will have a target on her back coiming into Japan.
2016 World Champion Fiona Wylde (Werner Paddles) is still very much there however, with a 3rd in the sprints and 2nd in the long distance keeping her in a close 2nd overall for now after stop #1. Sonni Honscheid (Starboard) from Germany was a newcomer to the surf sprints, but came back strong in the long distance, dominating the field and making a statement of her strengths coming into Japan.
While it was a tough first event for her, there is no doubt that Candice Appleby will be back for redemption in Japan, with a great track record there, and of course her dominant World Title year back in 2015 clearly showing what she is made of. Watch out for this celebrated Champion coming into Stop #2 of the season, as she steps up to do battle refreshed and ready.
We will see the return of Angie Jackson in Japan, last year's event winner and always a major Contender here on the APP World Tour, along with fellow Australian Kate ......, Slovenian talent Manca Notar (Starboard) and of course the up and coming phenom from Maui Annie Reickert.
You can watch it all go down at the Japan Pro-Am presented by Hawaiian Airlines LIVE at www.appworldtour.com and follow it all across social media channels @appworldtour
Kenny Kaneko leads a rising tide of talent in Japan to step up to take on the best of the best at home at the 2017 Japan Pro-Am. | Photo via: APP World Tour
Stand Up Paddling has been on the rise in a major way over the past few years in Japan, as we now enter our 4th year visiting the land of the rising sun, and with this, has come a surge of young talent ready to take on the world.
Leading the way over the past few years has been the ever impressive Kenny Kaneko (JP Australia), who has become the leading light for paddling in Asia as a whole. There is no doubt that all eyes will be on Kenny to see how he performs in front of a home crowd at this year's Japan Pro-Am, but let it be known that Kenny is not alone: there is a whole host of talent rising up behind him to step up onto the global stage, with the Japan Pro-Am providing the opportunity for Japan's leading lights to be spotlit through this unique stop on Tour.
Likewise for the women, Takayo Yokoyama has been a major threat these past few years and a leading light for up and coming talent in the country. Takayo will be looking to build momentum through this Japanese stop on Tour to make her presence felt and see how she fares against the best of the best.
While Golden Week has placed restriction on mass participation, the Japan Pro-Am presented by Hawaiian Airlines does provide the opportunity for Japan's leading talents to step up and be counted, with an enlarged Main Event field and qualifier round for the Sprints.
Any athletes interested in taking part, whether budding international or local talents should email: [email protected] and for more info, please go to: www.appworldtour.com
About the Waterman League Group
The Waterman League Group is an event management and media production company headquartered in Hawaii focused on developing multi-disciplined water sports. The term 'waterman' refers to versatile athletes who can engage in various forms of water sports at the highest level.
As founders of the World Championships for paddlesurfing (also known as stand-up paddling), the Waterman League has been crowning Men's and Women's World Champions for both racing and surfing since 2010, with flagship events across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, now branded as the APP World Tour.
The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from all its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and Fox Sports Australia, supported by IMG Media.
Information is available at appworldtour.com and fans can follow events @appworldtour on Facebook and Instagram.