San Diego, CALIFORNIA - Now that the 2021 Supconnect Awards have wrapped with our winners announced we wanted to give a special shout out to those who had the most votes, what we call, the People's Choice Awards. These folks are the ones who had the largest support from their friends, family and SUP community and we want to give these nominees that extra bit of recognition.
As a reminder, the Supconnect Awards official winners are chosen by following our criteria of Ambassadorship, Involvement, Performance and Support. To help us decide the winners of these awards, we here at Supconnect go through an extremely rigorous process that includes consulting and receiving 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. You can dive deeper into our Awards history and selection process here.
Without further ado, here are the People's Choice from the 2021 Supconnect Awards.
Man of the Year
Canada's Mike Shoreman is the inspirational powerhouse of the sport. Having lost his mobility in 2018, Mike has shown what it means to climb back up on our boards. Mike set off a global movement, with a viral talk, unifying thousands of paddle boarders around the world to come together to support people struggling with their mental health. The amount of attention Mike has brought to the sport of paddle boarding through various platforms is unparalleled bringing millions of eyes to the sport around the world. Mike has founded 'Paddle Across America' an International day of mental health uniting thousands of paddle boarders and water enthusiasts benefitting the USA's National Alliance of Mental Illness and Canada's #1 Mental Health Organization for Youth. Mike will set out during 'Paddle Across America' from New York attempting to become the first person with a disability crossing international waters from one country to another.
Woman of the Year
Fiona Wylde (Hood River, Oregon, USA) comes from the American capital of wind and kite surfing. So (no surprise!) she is into both of those sports. But more interestingly, she comes from one of the greatest kids SUP programs, hosted by the late Steve Gates, owner of Big Winds. Wylde's raw talent and discipline found a catalyst in that venue and group, catapulting her into the world stage and the top of the stand up paddle competitive scene. After graduation, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. But that has not stopped her. Instead, Wylde is now becoming all the more of an inspiration for the millions of people who face that challenge while aiming to continue to live that outdoors athletic life. Wylde has become a major threat on the APP World Tour in both Race and Surf and won her first World Title in 2016 and she continues to be a powerhouse in every event she enters.
Grom of the Year
12 year-old Thien-Cathrin Tusche (Germany) is an up-and-comer that loves to race. Thien-Cathrin has been killing it at her local race scene and has already racked up four German Youth Championships in Sprint, Technical Race and Distance. She also has earned three Tschech Youth Championship wins in Sprint, Technical Race, and Distance. If Thien-Cathrin keeps on this track she'll be a World Champion in no time!
Shop of the Year
South Shore Paddleboards
South Shore Paddleboards is not only the largest paddleboard shop on Long Island, but a space were people will feel at home. With comfortable clothing and flip flops, creatively designed accessories and some beach gifts for your 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. Because experiencing the glide is one of the best feelings ever!
Brand of the Year
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 Benoit Carpentier, Shakira Westdorp, and Zane Schweitzer. Starboard has a wide array of products ranging from expert levels to beginner boards and everything in between.
Sales Rep of the Year
Florida's Jeramie Vaine is a passionate standup paddler that loves to do it all: surf, yoga, race, adventure. This is what makes him great at his job. Currently, Jeramie is a Sales and Marketing Specialist at Imagine Surf, a Sales Associate at Blueline Surf and Paddle Co and he's also a Yoga Instructer.