SAN DIEGO, California - After two months of deliberations and intense evaluations we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Supconnect Editor's Choice Awards. After nominating 30 or so men, women, groms and blogs per category, and an abundance of brands and shops in the stand up paddle industry we've finally narrowed down the extremely talented pool of nominees to the final chosen winners.
With just over 25,000 interactions and close to 22,000 unique viewers of the Awards it has been a very meticulous journey to get to this point. In following our criteria for choosing the winners (Ambassadorship, Involvement, Performance and Support), to help us decide the winners of these awards, we here at Supconnect go through an extremely rigorous process in selecting the winners. We consult and receive feedback from our advisory board, whose members are made up of those who are passionately involved in the sport of standup paddling and who have a unique take on the sport, we take into account the many thousands of interactions with the Awards from fans and consumers, we add in our own feedback from our editorial board and we've also had extensive feedback and contact with retailers in the industry. We've had hundreds of back and forth emails, personal phone calls and meetings in person at events, trade shows and demos to get the best feedback possible that we can on our nominees. So without further ado, here are the winners for the 7th Annual 2016 Supconnect Editor's Choice Awards:
1. Kelly Margetts
- One of the best paddlers in the world...and he's in his 40's beating guys in their 20's!
- When not competing and traveling, Margetts is a lifeguard in hometown of Queensland, Australia.
- Father of 2 daughters.
2. Zane Schweitzer
- Top rated SUP surfer on the Stand Up World Tour.
- 3x Master of the Ocean Champion
- Heavily involved and supports the world wide charity event Standup 4 a Cure.
- Hosts SUP youth clinics around the world.
3. Travis Grant
- Consistently a top 3 finisher in every event he enters.
- Builds canoes and works on boats when not paddling.
- Contagious smile and positive attitude.
1. Seychelle Hattingh
- Reigning female “Fastest Paddler on Earth”
- Guinness Book World Record for longest paddle in 24 hours.
- She teaches SUP yoga and fitness classes and loves to share her passion of SUP with others.
- She loves expedition paddling!
2. Sonni Hönscheid
- Top-ranked SUP racer
- 3x Molokai 2 Oahu Champion
- Hosts clinics around the world.
- Exceptional artist
3. Fiona Wylde
- Top Ranked SUP Surfer/Racer on the Stand Up World Tour and World Series.
- Contributor to Supconnect
- Hosts youth clinics all around the world with different events.
1. Valeria Salustri
- One of the top female youth paddlers from Costa Rica.
- Dedicated SUP surfer and racer.
- Placed second 2 years in a row in the Costa Rican SUP Nationals in the Women's Elite division.
2. Alek S. Ramos
- 2015 Puerto Rico SUP Games Champion
- Always has a positive attitude.
- Loves everything about SUP and enjoys improving his skills every year.
3. Itzel Delgado
- 3x Peru SUP Race National Champion.
- 2016 SUP Fiesta SUP Surf Champion 15-17 Boys.
- Extremely talented SUP Racer AND Surfer with a bright future.
Starboard is one of the most globally known SUP companies in the world. Starboard was founded and created by Svein Rasmussen, a champion windsurfer, in 1994. Starboard SUP is one of the leading innovators of Stand Up Paddling, with some of the most comprehensive range of shapes and technology options! You will find many of the top athletes in the SUP space riding a Starboard SUP, whether it be World Champion SUP racer Connor Baxter, or SUP surfing Pros and Champions Izzi Gomez, Sean Poynter and Zane Schweitzer. Starboard has a wide array of products ranging from expert levels to beginner boards and everything in between.
Based in Maui, Hawaii, Naish SUP was founded by champion waterman and windsurfer Robby Naish. Today, Naish is a leading force in windsurfing, kiteboarding, and stand up paddling. With multiple world championship titles in each sport and tens of thousands of sails, kites, and boards under our belt, Naish truly lives and breathes boardriding. Through innovative designs and engineering, state-of-the-art production techniques and advanced materials, Naish continues to push the envelope with industry leading boardriding products year after year. Naish delivers premium quality boardriding products that you can depend on session after session, day after day, for years to come.
3. SIC Maui
SIC “Sandwich Islands Composites” is the vision of master shaper/designer, Mark Raaphorst. SIC boards are inspired naturally by elite racing, but also from a lifetime of lessons learned. These lessons have led to a reputation for some of the fastest, smoothest gliding, most maneuverable boards in the world. SIC is also seen as an innovator whether it is in composite or hollow construction, its Active Steering System and its futuristic Standamaran™. Whether you are a seasoned pro in either open or flat water racing or the weekend surfer. Whether you are looking for better fitness, touring or just all-around fun; SIC has something for you.
Surftech was founded over 25 years ago in the sleepy coastal town of Santa Cruz, California and has become a globally recognized brand. Surftech is part of a global community of surfers, paddlers, shapers, designers, and craftsman who are connected through surfing and paddling and the pursuit of perfection. They take pride in every board they make and celebrate the millions of waves around the world that have been ridden.
John Amundson wants you to be stoked on the water. His passion for designing great boards is based on the hope that people will have a great time on his boards. With that hope in mind, he designs consistently crafted boards that are easy to paddle in various conditions and for people of varying skill sets. Just about everyone should have a good day paddling on an Amundson board. After the introduction into kite surf design, John was allowed to open his mind to other design concepts like stand up paddling. When he saw some of the first Maui guys stand up paddling, he knew this was the next design he wanted to dive into. Since that time John, along with Doug Hopkins and the Aquaglide team, have developed a very effective line of SUP’s.
1. 101 Surf Sports
101 Surf Sports (San Rafael, California) is a full service Water Sports Sporting Goods Shop specializing in Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), Prone Paddleboarding, Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, Surfing, and Kayaking. They offer the San Francisco Bay Area a full range of lessons, gear rentals, board repair, kayak storage, stand up paddleboard storage, boat storage, and guided tours. They carry gear from the premium manufacturers including Naish, Starboard, Jimmy Lewis, NeilPryde, O'Neill, SUPreme, SIC Maui, Severne, Carve Designs, Dakine, NRS, Bark, Surftech, and Focus Hawaii.
2. Big Winds
Big Winds (Hood River, Oregon) was founded in 1987 and is one of the largest windsurfing, kiteboarding and stand up paddleboarding product and accessory stores in the United States. Their staff members are experienced players who are passionate about their sports and equipment and ready to offer expert advice. In addition to an enormous rental/demo fleet for all skill levels, their windsurfing and stand up paddleboarding school is one of the best in the Pacific Northwest and their lesson programs include kids camps, junior camps, and private and group lessons for men and women of all ages.
3. Stand Up Outfitters
Stand Up Outfitters (New Bern, North Carolina) is a family-owned and operated specialty shop focused on supporting a community of paddleboard adventurers. They provide the best equipment, information, and experiences for you. They specialize in Stand Up Paddleboard sales, rentals, instruction, and coastal adventure provisions.
1. Distressed Mullet
Distressed Mullet is a blog created by John Beausang out of Wilmington, North Carolina. Beausang dedicates his blog to everything SUP. From surfing to racing and everything in-between, Beausang covers it all. http://distressedmullet.com/
2. SUP Racer
Chris Parker, the man behind the well-known blog SUP Racer, is a guy who is deeply involved in the SUP racing circuit worldwide. Parker travels the world and documents everything stand up paddle racing has to offer and gives his unique and inside take on athletes, events, the SUP industry and much more. http://www.supracer.com/
The PaddleFit lifestyle cannot be summed up with words. The videos, images, words of wisdom, links, and quotes are meant to help you in your journey and give you a front row seat into ours. Choose your path and go. http://blog.paddlefitpro.com/
1. Chad Baird
2. Stephan Pauls
3. Danielle Deforest
Congratulations to all of the winners of the 7th Annual Supconnect Editor's Choice Awards. We couldn't be more pleased with the results and we hope you are too. Stay tuned for the Supconnect People's Choice Awards launching November 1, where you, the consumer, fan, brand, shop, whoever, gets to nominate your favorite athlete, brand, photo, etc. and the winners are chosen on vote count alone! More details to come soon!