Contenders at the Viana SUP Open

Men's start at 2023 Alicante SUP Open | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour Men's start at 2023 Alicante SUP Open | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour

ERICEIRA, Portugal - With the world's best athletes descending on the beautiful coastal town of Viana do Castelo in Portugal - 2023 European Capital of Sport - tension is mounting as we take a look at who to watch out for at this unique new Tour stop.


viana23 preview 1Connor Baxter at the Alicante SUP Open. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour

For the men, reigning World Champion, Tour veteran and winner of this season’s opening event in Alicante, Connor Baxter from Hawaii has been undefeated in the Sprint race. Known as one of the best downwind paddlers in the history of the sport, and with the famous 'Nortada' wind predicted to ramp back up for Sunday's Distance race, Connor is definitely a name to watch out for. And the new guard is coming through, led by the Japanese contingent on Tour - Shuri 'Shrimpy' Araki and Rai Taguchi - both from Okinawa and formidably talented, fast and determined. Shrimpy finished a close second to Connor last year, and Rai took a bullet win across both disciplines last year at the Busan SUP Open, as well as pushing Connor all the way to the finish line in London.

Meanwhile, 2018 French World Champion Arthur Arutkin is always dangerous and will be one to watch out for along with Denmark's Christian Anderson, while a strong Spanish contingent as well as Porto resident Bruno Hasulyo from Hungary, who will doubtless make their presence felt.


viana23 preview 2Espe Barreras all smiles at the 2023 Alicante SUP Open. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour

For the Women, it will be another “master and apprentice” story, with the well established Esperanza Barreras, who hails from just over the border in Galicia, Spain, looking to continue her dominant form in the Distance racing. However, it will be a battle with the up and coming talent from Mallorca, Duna Gordillo, who has been asserting her authority. These two will be joined by familiar World Tour competitor and World #2 in 2022, Juliette Duhaime from Argentina. Juliette is especially strong in the Sprint, but a great all-rounder - she’ll be looking to take it a step further in Viana do Castelo. Sprint specialist Caroline Kuntzel from Denmark will also be looking for the top spot here in Viana do Castelo as she continues her surge on the global stage.


Portugal will be well represented at the Viana SUP Open, with a young talent by the name of Tomas Lacerda from Madeira - sweeping through the ranks, with a strong start to the year in Alicante. We will also see the return of local favorite Angela Fernandes, a member of Surf Clube de Viana and a fierce competitor who has taken center stage at many events on the APP World Tour over the years. Alongside her will be young talent Mia Soares, who will certainly be a name to keep an eye on for the future.

We await to see how both Men's and Women's fields transition to the unique downwind experience that the Viana SUP Open will provide, with an epic forecast of strong winds and some swell set to provide an epic showdown for the World's Best.

viana23 preview 3Photo courtesy: APP World Tour


The World Tour Sprint Racing elimination - live from 2pm local time on Saturday 15th July with the Distance race live from 2pm on Sunday 16th July at appworldtour.com and across YouTube and Facebook. For visitors, the event is open to everyone, with participation opportunities for all and entertainment throughout the weekend - so come down and enjoy what will be an epic summer celebration of the sport! Registration is still open for all participation opportunities, and information on schedule, accommodation and other travel and logistics is available online.

Last modified onThursday, 13 July 2023 09:50

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