SAN DIEGO, California - After more than six weeks of deliberations and intense evaluations we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Supconnect 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 over 100,000 views and more than 26,000 interactions 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 brands and 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 10th Annual Supconnect Awards:
1. Casper Steinfath
Denmark's Casper Steinfath is the viking of the sport, having come from a frigid cold, country to become one of the most respected names in SUP. He has earned nearly every single title in Europe and is widely considered the greatest European paddler, if not at least one of them. Aside from his life as a competitive athlete, Steinfath is the Vice President for the ISA (International Surfing Association), which represents the sport in the eyes of the Olympic Committee, considering possible new inclusions of sports into the Olympic Games and he just recently organized a 24-hour relay event called the Midsummer Viking Challenge. Casper has time and time again been an amazing ambassador for the sport and has shown that's he's in it for the long haul.
2. Michael Booth (Australia)
Michael Booth has been on fire for the past few years. He’s been the consistent powerhouse at each event he’s entered and he is the man to beat. His consistency (which is incredibly hard to do) and domination has not gone unnoticed.
3. Enzo Bennett
A Tahitian powerhouse, Enzo Bennett has been steadily climbing the ranks of elite SUP racers and has earned himself a top 3 ranking on the EuroTour in 2019 against quite an impressive field. Enzo has a true passion for the sport and it shows in his attitude and support from his fellow Tahitians.
1. Tarryn King
South Africa's Tarryn King is well known in her local SUP scene in Capetown but really stepped up to the international stage at the 2018 ISA World SUP & Paddleboard Championships in Wanning, China. Tarryn wow'd by winning a Gold Medal in the Sprints, which not only was an amazing accomplishment for herself, but for her country as well with it being the first Gold ever for her country. But to make it all the more inspirational, Tarryn won the Gold only a year after giving birth to her first child. What a rockstar! When not racing Tarryn also loves to paddle out in the lineup and catch some waves and truly embodies all that we look for in Supconnect's Woman of the Year.
2. Fiona Wylde
Fiona Wylde's raw talent and discipline has been apparent for a number of years and has led her to the world stage and the top of the stand up paddle competitive scene but not without hardship. Just as she was climbing the ranks she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and had to find a balance between being a top athlete and staying healthy. Now, at 22 years old, Fiona has become the most accomplished cross-discipline SUP athlete on the planet. She competes and wins surf events, flatwater race events, downwind events and sprint events, as well as being an incredible SUP Foiler.
3. Victoria Burgess
Victoria Burgess from Florida is an inspiration for women of every age. Her drive and determination to excel in her goals is amazing. The best thing is that she shows us all how you can accomplish goals in the SUP industry at any level, age or ability. Victoria is currently the Guinness Book of World Records Record holder becoming the first female to cross the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Key West paddling 115 miles in 27 hours and 48 minutes (and even beat the mens time who did it)! Victoria also works with the Special Olympics in her area and tries to empower women of all ages in everything she does. She’s a founder of surfers for autism, head SUP coach for Broward County special Olympics, president of the South Florida Longboard Association and sports nutritionist for Paddle Monster. A great ambassador for our amazing sport.
1. Annie Reickert
Maui's Annie Starr Reickert was raised on the island of Maui so it was pretty much a given she would make her way to the water. Annie started surfing on the front of her parents’ boards eventually graduating to one of her own and once she got a paddle in her hands, she was hooked on stand up paddling. Annie shines in both surfing and racing and has already started competing on the women’s APP World Tour where she’s been turning heads with her impressive skill set. To top it off, Annie has been one of the few females who have been at the forefront of foiling and was the first female to compete in the M2O on a foil. Annie loves charging big waves and she is soon to make her presence known worldwide. Congrats to our 2019 Grom of the Year.
2. Noic Garioud (New Caledonia)
In 2018 Noic Garioud stepped it up and quickly put himself on the radar, not only to his fellow groms but also the best racers in the world. Noic catapulted himself into the top 10 in the world rankings in the and has kept his top 10 ranking since. As a 17-year-old kid Noic’s track record has been incredibly impressive and we’re very excited to watch him bloom into a full-time elite racer as he graduates from his grom status.
3. Jade Howson (California)
Jade Howson was inspired by one of the best (Lina Augaitis) and is now ranking among the best. Jade has been one of the up-and-comers to keep an eye on for awhile now and she’s proving that she’s only just getting started. With each event she enters she appears to be getting faster and stronger and will in no time be the woman to beat.
1. Red Paddle Co
Red Paddle Co started in 2008 as a germ of an idea. Paddleboarding was just getting going, and we had this crazy idea that it could be made better with inflatable boards. People thought this was a bit strange. Surely you could never make the boards stiff enough to get the kind of performance you’d expect from a hard board? You’d just end up with a lilo, all bendy in the middle, right? Over time, we’ve dispelled the doubts, and those people have come round. They’ve been quite nice about it, really. From the beginning we’ve had a two-fold mantra: 1)We believe riding an inflatable board shouldn’t be a compromise. 2) We make boards that deliver an authentic paddleboarding experience. Our background is in pro watersports competition, and we wanted to make a product that even the experts loved. So we engineered a quality, high performing board you can take with you wherever you go
2. 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.
BOTE Boards is a Stand Up Paddle brand, a lifestyle brand made up of racers, surfers, anglers, industry leaders, and technical innovators. The technical innovations are what allow the BOTE Boards brand to STAND APART. From designing the world’s first fishing specific stand up board, to creating a proprietary carbon/innegra weave, BOTE continues to push our sport forward. These innovations allow our customers to paddle faster, further, and with purpose.
1. Standup Panama
StandUp Panama offers a great variety of SUP boards for all levels and budgets, they are superb with the latest accessories and customer service. They also coordinate SUP tours, explore/tourism bringing the best sights to be discovered. The shop offers the best brands in the market and are always ready to give you the best advice for the sport. The shop is family owned and has years of experience. The owner, Arturo, is a great guy and always do his best for his clients. His coordinates trips, classes, and personal time, make a huge difference in comparison with other stores. The shop has worked really hard to create a SUP community in Panama and the support for this family-owned business really shines through.
2. Big Winds
Big Winds (Hood River, Oregon) was 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. South Shore Paddleboards
South Shore Paddleboards (Babylon, New York) is not only the largest paddleboard shop on Long Island, but a space where people will feel at home. South Shore Paddleboards want to make sure that everyone is happy in the store as they will be out paddling. They promise that choosing the right board will be fun and using the right board will be amazing. After losing everything in a fire last year the shop has reopened even better than before and even expanded to include a marina rental business. The owner Karen is a true friend to SUP and lover of the water.
TotalSup is the first global and multilingual platform dedicated to the SUP community. http://www.totalsup.com/
2. 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/
Up Suping was born in early 2012, with the idea of creating a magazine of our favorite sport: the Stand Up Paddle. When we were in the middle of the digital era and thanks to our design knowledge, we decided that the digital format was digital. http://www.upsuping.com/
1. Leisa Bee
2. Jack Nelson
3. JB Messenger
Congratulations to all of the winners of the 10th Annual Supconnect Awards. We couldn't be more pleased with the results and we hope you are too. For a detailed breakdown of why we selected our winners click HERE.