Candice Appleby with a Target on Her Back


May 14 & 15, 2011, Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii


Candice Applby claiming her victory at the Battle of the Paddle Hawaii in 2010.


Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii – Candice Appleby will have a target on her back this weekend at the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle, presented by Quiksilver Waterman Collection, but she won't be looking behind to see who's taking aim. In the rapidly advancing world of stand-up paddling (SUP), the swelling tide of serious female participants has grown so fast that there isn't time to look back.

Twelve months ago, Appleby aced the elite women's field at the Battle of the Paddle Hawaii. She went on to do the same at  the Battle of the Paddle California in October of 2010, by which time the level of competition had become even more intense. If it has been a battle to this point, then expect Saturday's elite race to be an outright women's war. Furthermore, Appleby doesn't even know who her most serious challengers will turn out to be; this will be their first assault. More than 50 women from around the world have pre-registered for the Battle of the Paddle Hawaii, regarded as the proving ground of the sport; that's already double last year's turnout. (Registration remains open for beach entries both days.)

"It's crazy to see how fast the sport has grown and how good everyone is getting," said Appleby, during her final preparations. "The women of SUP are doing great things and literally getting faster by the day. "Obviously I know that I have a big target on my back going into this race, but that just motivates me to be better. I always feel the pressure going into The Battle, but as an athlete, I'm continually setting new goals for myself which makes me my own biggest competition. Achieving my own personal goals is what's most important to me. "I know who some of the toughest competitors are, but there are also some newer faces on the scene that are quickly coming up in the ranks. Heather Baus from Puerto Rico is super fast and I also heard about a new girl named Krisztina Zur, who is a world champion kayaker. It's going to be a tough race for sure."

In a world where many eyes tend to focus on the men of sport, the Battle of the Paddle has shown that the intensity and athleticism of women make SUP one of the most level playing fields on Earth. Appleby finished 32nd overall in an elite field of more than 100 last year - 95 per cent of them men. Expect this year's significantly larger field of women to command their share of the limelight.  Live, global, start-to-finish coverage of the Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez Battle of the Paddle, presented by Quiksilver Waterman Collection, will be delivered May 14 & 15 from historic Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki. Tune in to www.BattleOfThePaddle.com from 10am. In Hawaii, watch live on television on Oceanic Time Warner Cable digital channels 250 & 1250HD, starting 11am each day.


Do you think Candice will claim the title once again?


Last modified onFriday, 13 May 2011 13:22

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