Kona, HI. – Hall of fame triathletes Heather Fuhr and Paula Newby-Fraser will be hitting the water for the Ford Ironman World Championships once again. Only instead of donning their swim caps and goggles, they’ll be standing atop two Surftech 12’1” Laird stand up paddleboards to lead the swim leg of the 2008 race.
Paula Newby-Fraser, winner of 8 Ironman World Championships, spent much of the 2008 Ironman World Championship qualifying season on Surftech stand up paddleboards leading races in Arizona, Couer d’Alene, Idaho and Lake Placid, NY. Providing visual guides to the swimmers, this visibility has helped build awareness of the cross training value of stand up paddling to the triathlete community. “We’ve been having a blast on the Surftech boards this season,” comments Paula. “We’re incorporating them into our training programs as well as leading the Ironman races on them”.
Joining Paula in leading the race is Heather Fuhr, a fellow former Ironman World Champion. The race, considered the pinnacle event for Ironman athletes, caps off the inaugural introduction of the sport of stand up paddling to the triathlete community. Ironically, the first major introduction occurred at last year’s IM World Championships when pioneering watermen Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama led the same race. 2008 has clearly progressed from the initial buzz, culminating in this Saturday’s race where Ironman Hall-of-Famers Paula and Heather will lead the same iconic event, showcasing how well embraced stand up paddling has become in the world of triathlon. “I’ve been paddling a bunch before and after most of the races this year,” comments Heather. “So it’s going to be great to get out in the water with all of the competitors and lead the swim leg for the first time”.
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Duke Brouwer, Surftech Events & Promotions firstname.lastname@example.org
Team “Love”, the three member SUP team of Leah Dawson, Bianca Valenti and Geodee Clark swept the competition in Surftech’s inaugural Women’s SUP Challenge held in conjunction with the ROXY Jam Cardiff. The relay style event featured a unique format that awarded team points based both on paddling speed as well as surf skills. Each team member was required to charge the shorebreak and paddle around an offshore buoy before riding a wave and passing the board and paddle to their fellow team member. “The Stand up event was unlike anything else I have experienced”, commented pro surfer and Love team member Leah Dawson. “I hope we can have something like this at every event. It was super fun and showcased how great stand up paddling is as a cross training for surfing.“
While the initial rounds required a quick learning curve from the competitors, the finals featured some serious competition as the teams strategized about their lineups, the conditions and the different Surftech SUP models to choose from. Many top longboarders from the ROXY Jam took part in the challenge including the above Team Love members as well as notable athletes Jen Smith, Kassia Meador, Ashley Loyd, Kelia Moniz as well as a host of other competitors and non competitors alike. While all six teams were neck and neck through the first 10 minutes of the heat, Team Love took a clear lead halfway through the heat while Team H.P.D maintained second position. Despite an amazing wave ridden by Jen Smith of Team H.P.D towards the end of the relay, the combination of wave scores and added points for finishing first, cemented Team Love’s win of the event.
Thanks to all the competitors and the ROXY organization for their support and efforts to make the first Surftech Women’s SUP challenge a great success and a great stepping stone to more women focused stand up paddle surfing events.
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1. Team Love Points 27
2. Team H.P.D. Points 24.5
3. Team ONE Points 23
4. Team Roxy 1 Points 22.5
5. Team Cheddar Points 20.5
6. Team Santa Cruz Points 19.5