France Earns Third Team World Title at 2023 ISA World SUP & Paddleboard Championship

October 1st, 2023

French teammates Noic Garioud & Melanie Lafenetre win first gold medals

Relay success for France solidifies victory

Spain wins team silver medals, Japan take bronze, Italy copper

Les Sables d’Olonne, France – October 1, 2023

Thousands of spectators packed the boardwalk and beach on a stunning Sunday at Les Sables d’Olonne’s La Grande Plage to watch the home nation of France win their third consecutive Team Gold Medal at the 2023 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship (WSUPPC).

Heading into the day Spain had a good hold on the rankings, but the situation changed as two first-time gold medalists, French teammates Melanie Lafenetre and Noic Garioud, pushed themselves to their limits in the SUP Sprint Races to stand atop the podium and deliver victory to the home nation.

Mariecarmen Rivera (PUR) took a significant early lead in the Women’s SUP Sprint Final, the 2022 bronze medalist looking strong the whole 100m out to the buoy turn, where Lafenetre gained ground. Rivera took the right buoy turn, Lafenetre the left, before the two came neck-and-neck all the way back into the sand, a fall from Rivera on the dismount likely costing her the win as the Frenchwoman raced ahead to claim gold, less than half-a-second ahead of the Puerto Rican.

2018 World Champion Tarryn King (RSA) and two-time Junior SUP Technical Race World Champion Cecilia Pampinella (ITA) were also locked in a tight race, with the South African edging ahead to win bronze, Pampinella equalling her copper medal performance from 2022.

It was Lafenetre’s first gold medal, and her first SUP Sprint medal, after two previous silver and bronze medals in different divisions.

“I’m so happy,” Lafenetre said. “I could understand all of the French people saying to me, ‘Go, go go!’ It’s super important for me to win here in France.”

Team France. Photo: ISA / Pablo Franco

After two previous SUP Sprint Finals, Garioud broke through to win his first gold medal. The 21-year-old from New Caledonia led the Men’s SUP Sprint Final from the start and didn’t let up. Ollie Houghton (NZL) and 2019 World Champion Claudio Nika (ITA) managed to gain ground on the return to the beach thanks to a bump, which also allowed Aaron Sanchez (ESP) to come from far behind, before he stumbled on the dismount, but Garioud was too far ahead to catch. Houghton collected silver, Nika bronze, Sanchez copper.

“We definitely needed the gold medal to put France in first in the country rankings,” Garioud said. “Definitely super happy to take that win in terms of personal achievement, but also for the team.”

Noic Garioud, Team France. Photo: ISA / Pablo Franco

The team relay finished out the event, delivering a flurry of action. Paddleboard Technical Race Gold Medalist Julen Marticorena earned France a huge lead, which didn’t slip as Lafenetre and 18-year-old Élise Daudignon continued the pace, before Clément Colmas closed it out. Spain also started strong, but ended up in a tight pack with Italy, Japan, and England. Leonard Nika managed to edge ahead and earn Italy the silver medal, Japan took the bronze, Spain copper.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:

“I would like to thank our hosts, the leaders of this beautiful place in France. What an amazing event. What an amazing week of intense competition, camaraderie, and friendship.

“A lot of you are going home very happy with medals, but all of you should be very, very happy because you came, you enjoyed this amazing part of France, this beautiful coastline, and you’re going home as ambassadors of Les Sables d’Olonne and Vendée.”


Men’s SUP Sprint
Gold – Noic Garioud (FRA)
Silver – Ollie Houghton (NZL)
Bronze – Claudio Nika (ITA)
Copper – Aaron Sanchez (ESP)

Women’s SUP Sprint
Gold – Melanie Lafenetre (FRA)
Silver – Mariecarmen Rivera (PUR)
Bronze – Tarryn King (RSA)
Copper – Cecilia Pampinella (ITA)

Gold – France
Silver – Italy
Bronze – Japan
Copper – Spain

Team Rankings
Gold – France
Silver – Spain
Bronze – Japan
Copper – Italy

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