Men's podium from the Mercedes-Benz 2016 event. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour
SCHARBEUTZ, Germany - Stop #4 of the 2017 APP World Tour is quickly approaching and excitement is building as the action moves on from Japan and over to Europe for the Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup in the beautiful seaside town of Scharbeutz, Germany.
With action to kick off as early as the 30th of June with Media and promotional racing and special events, leading to the main event on Saturday, featuring the World Tour Sprint Racing Elimination as well as World Qualifier Series Racing. This is then capped off on Sunday with World Tour & Qualifier Series Long Distance Racing as well as Amateur and other divisions for a complete weekend of action on the water in Scharbeutz.
To compliment the action on the water, a full weekend of social activities, live music and entertainment, making Scharbeutz the place to be from the 30th June - 2nd July for Stop #4 of the 2017 APP World Tour.
The coveted yellow jersey is being shared for the first time in history here in Germany, as fellow Hawaii-born athletes Mo Freitas and Connor Baxter come into Stop #4 of the 2017 APP World Tour tied for first place. After two epic stops of racing in Maui and Japan, the two have posted exactly the same results, with the event win going to Mo in Maui through the weighting being on the sprints, while the win in Japan went to Connor, with the weighting favoring the distance race.
Heated competition ensued between the men at the 2016 event. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour
Whatever happens, the tie will be broken in Germany and there will be just one athlete wearing the yellow jersey going into the North American leg of the Tour this year, not to mention the prospect of the athletes that are right on their heels and ready to strike in Germany. It will without doubt be a pivotal stop on the 2017 World Tour as the World's best step up to be counted, and to come out on top.
While the leaders are established in the Men's fleet, it is still extremely early in the season to make any real calls. There is no doubt that Connor Baxter and Mo Freitas have both had phenomenal starts to the year, but right behind them is the Vice World Champion from 2016 and one of, if not the fastest sprinter in the world, Casper Steinfath (Naish) from Denmark.
Casper was able to hold onto the yellow jersey last year in Germany, so historically it is a good event for him and close to home, as he will be looking to improve on his position at this year's high profile European stop. However, right behind Casper is a whole host of talent that are all preparing for their moment to shine this year, posting consistently strong performances and within inches of results that will put them firmly in the Title Race in 2017:
- Lincoln Dews from Australia: currently sitting in 4th place, this young Australian talent is clearly destined for great things, as his consistently strong performances across both sprints and long distance so far this year is a great testament of what is to come.
- Arthur Arutkin from France: always dangerous and again in 2017 showing he is right there with the best of the best as a true Contender for the Title. Like Casper, historically Arthur has posted great performances in Germany and will be looking to consolidate on his strong start to the year, currently sitting in 5th.
- Michael Booth from Australia: now in 6th place, but with consistently strong performances both last and this year, inclusive of a win in the long distance in Scharbeutz last year. While sprint racing has traditionally been his weaker suit, it was clear in Japan that he has been working hard to make sure that he closes the gap on the front runners to put him firmly in contention.
- James Casey from Australia: one of the leading all rounders in the World, currently sitting in 2nd overall for the combined surfing and racing Title behind Hawaii's Mo Freitas, James made a real surge in Japan, with a solid performance in both the long distance and sprint racing to move up into 6th place overall. Watch out for James in Germany.
- Ryan Funk from USA / Hawaii: one of the strongest up and coming talents in the sport that remains somehow under the radar continues to post consistently strong performances, now sitting in 7th place overall & looking to continue his rapid ascent to the top.
Clearly the talent continues to run deep, from Travis Grant, Kenny Kaneko and Toby Cracknell, to Leonard Nika, Martin Vitry and Slater Trout, the field is stacked and the competition promises to be fierce at Stop #4 of the 2017 APP World Tour.
Sonni Honscheid at the 2016 Mercedes-Benz 2016 event. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour
Meanwhile in the women's division, Terrene Black from Australia has been holding her own over the first 2 racing stops of the season, coming into Germany with confidence and a solid start to the season under her belt. However, right at her heels are the local favorite in Germany who has proved herself one of the very best distance paddlers in the World, Sonni Honscheid, and right behind her, the allrounder and 2016 World Champion Fiona Wylde (Werner Paddles) from Oregon, USA.
They are all very much within striking distance, with Fiona a mere 500 points behind Sonni and then just a few thousand points from Terrene. A big result from either of these two contenders could change everything, so it is all to play for here at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup in Germany.
Behind the Top 3 though are an A-list of World Class talent that will be looking for their moment to shine in Germany. In particular, 2015 World Champion Candice Appleby, who as had a slower start to the season than she would have wanted, is clearly as much of a contender now as she has always been and will be looking for redemption at this all important European stop on the 2017 APP World Tour.Ladies battle it out on the course at 2016's event. | Photo courtesy: APP World Tour
Behind Candice, we have a wealth of younger talent looking to breakthrough such as Chloe Walkerdene from Australia and Yuka Sato from Japan, but also more experienced contenders such as Angie Jackson who will be looking to come right back into contention after a lackluster start than she would have liked in Japan.
We will also need to watch out for the European talent that will be joining the fray in Germany, such as the ever impressive Olivia Piana from France, Susak Molinero from Spain, local favorite, Noelani Sach from Germany and Amandine Chazot from France to mention just a few.
Stay tuned for the build up to the Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup in Scharbeutz, Germany from the 30th June - 2nd July across social media channels #appworldtour and at appworldtour.com
About the Waterman League Group and the APP World Tour
The Waterman League Group is an event management and media production company headquartered in Hawaii focused on developing multi-disciplined water sports. The term 'waterman' refers to versatile athletes who can engage in various forms of water sports at the highest level.
As founders of the Professional World Championships for paddlesurfing (also known as stand-up paddling), the Waterman League has been crowning Men's and Women's Professional World Champions for both racing and surfing since 2010, with flagship events across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, now branded as the APP World Tour.
The APP World Tour is proud to have Hawaiian Airlines as its Official Airline for the 2017 Season, connecting the World with Hawaii via its N. American, Asian and Australian routes. The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from all its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and Fox Sports Australia, supported by IMG Media.
To see more APP World Tour news and updates click HERE.