Shuri “Shrimpy” Araki Sets New Records on Distance Race Day at 2023 ISA World SUP & Paddleboard Championship

September 30th, 2023

Spanish duo Esperanza Barreras and Duna Gordillo dominant once again

Anna Tschirky wins Switzerland’s first ever ISA medal

Back-to-back World Championships for Yurika Horibe (JPN)

Long-awaited first gold medal for Spain’s David Buil

Les Sables d’Olonne, France – September 30, 2023

Four World Champions were crowned in the distance races of the 2023 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship (WSUPPC) during another incredible day of action at Les Sables d’Olonne’s La Grande Plage.

The athletes couldn’t have asked for better conditions as they tested their endurance on the 18km course that featured the Finals of the Men’s and Women’s Paddleboard Distance Races and the Men’s and Women’s SUP Distance Races. Though the majority of the podium finishes featured former winners, each of the copper medals went to first-time medalists.

Until today France had kept themselves on top of the team rankings, but five additional medals for Spain in the distance races, including two gold medals, has rocketed the 2022 team silver medalists into the lead ahead of the final day of competition. France retains second, Japan third, Italy fourth.

Shuri Araki proves unstoppable, keeping a 100% winning record at the ISA

In 2022 Shuri Araki (JPN) set records, becoming both the youngest World Champion in his division and the first man to win the SUP Technical & Distance Races in the same year, a feat which the 17-year-old has repeated in 2023, to remain undefeated in any discipline he has entered in the ISA.

Araki started out with a strong pack that included former World Champions Michael Booth (AUS) and Titouan Puyo (FRA), teammate Rai Taguchi (JPN), former medalists Fernando Perez (ESP) and Noic Garioud (FRA), and Aaron Sanchez (ESP), each of whom stayed tight for much of the race, Garioud and Booth each taking the lead at different points. It wasn’t long before Araki made his break however, and once he did he maintained an incredible stamina to stay ahead, earning a 1 minute, 20 second lead over the pack to win the gold medal.

“I forget all winning, today is another day,” Araki said. “And tomorrow is another day, just challenging, just keep paddling.”

Taguchi and Puyo ended up in a sprint for the finish line, both on water and on land. Puyo was able to take advantage of a wave ahead of Taguchi, winning silver. Taguchi was barely one second behind to win bronze, Sanchez another 12 seconds back to win his first medal, copper.

Shuri Araki, Team Japan. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Spanish duo Esperanza Barreras and Duna Gordillo dominant once again

The Spanish duo of 2022 World Champion Duna Gordillo and 2019 World Champion Esperanza Barreras were once again the pace-setters in the Women’s SUP Distance Race, the teammates communicating throughout as they drafted off each other. Anais Guyomarch (FRA) and Mariecarmen Rivera (PUR) initially managed to keep pace for a solid portion of the course, but before the final stretch the Spaniards had well and truly broken away.

Coming into the beach, Gordillo and Barreras remained in a draft formation until a wave split the two, Barreras able to sneak onto it, while Gordillo was not. The elder of the two, Barreras at 39-years-old, able to win her second SUP Distance gold medal, with 20-year-old Gordillo taking silver. Five women have won the SUP Distance and Technical Races in the same year, Barreras is the first to do it twice.

A late fall from Guyomarch allowed Rivera to break ahead and win her first SUP Distance Race medal, the bronze, and as the Frenchwoman further ran out of steam, Anna Tschirky (SUI) was able to gain on Rivera and take copper, the first ever ISA medal for Switzerland.

Yurika Horibe, Team Japan. Photo: ISA / Jersson Barboza

Back-to-back World Championships for Yurika Horibe (JPN)

For the third WSUPPC in a row, the Women’s Paddleboard Distance Race was largely fought between Yurika Horibe (JPN), Judit Verges (ESP), and Cornelia Rigatti (ITA). The previous two years had differing dynamics, but this year Horibe, the defending champion, definitively took the lead from the start, finishing over 3 minutes ahead of Verges to win the gold medal.

Verges and Cornelia Rigatti (ITA) were locked in a tighter battle with Jessica Georgelin (ENG) for the remaining medal positions, each far ahead of the rest of the pack. By the final lap of the course, Judit Verges (ESP) had moved forward into a comfortable second place, Rigatti in third, to match the exact results of Puerto Rico in 2022. Verges won the silver medal, Rigatti bronze, while Georgelin earned her first medal, the copper.

“I’ve been battling with Cornelia and Judit since El Salvador,” Horibe said. “We’ve kind of had a rivalry, but I’m very appreciative of their work. It felt really good to give it all of my energy, with the support of all of my team. I feel a great sense of gratitude to everyone.”

David Buil, Team Spain. Photo: ISA / Pablo Franco

Long-awaited first gold medal for Spain’s David Buil

Similar to the Women’s Paddleboard Distance Race, the men’s was a tight, three-way battle between 2022 medalists Julen Marticorena (FRA), Andrew Byatt (ENG) and David Buil (ESP). Marticorena, the 2019 World Champion, maintained the lead for the majority of the race, but never managed to truly break away and by the final stretch found himself well behind Buil and Byatt, who each earned the best results of their careers.

Buil was thrilled to win his first gold medal after previously winning silver (2019), bronze (2022), and copper (2014, 2018).

“I’m super happy,” Buil said. “I’m happy to have achieved this gold, and well, I was provided with the conditions and the strategy to end up achieving it. The truth is that I was behind the whole time trying to catch-up and I wasn’t comfortable in that position. But I rested enough and on the last lap I felt strong.”

Byatt earned the silver medal, Marticorena bronze, and Donald Miralle (USA) took copper in his first WSUPPC.

Competition will continue tomorrow at La Grande Plage at 10:00 am CEST with the Men’s SUP Sprint Race Round 1.


Women’s Paddleboard Distance Race
Gold – Yurika Horibe (JPN)
Silver – Judit Verges (ESP)
Bronze – Cornelia Rigatti (ITA)
Copper – Jessica Georgelin (ENG)

Women’s SUP Distance Race
Gold – Esperanza Barreras (ESP)
Silver – Duna Gordillo (ESP)
Bronze – Mariecarmen Rivera (PUR)
Copper – Anna Tschirky (SUI)

Men’s Paddleboard Distance Race
Gold – David Buil (ESP)
Silver – Andrew Byatt (ENG)
Bronze – Julen Marticorena (FRA)
Copper – Donald Miralle (USA)

Men’s SUP Distance Race
Gold – Shuri Araki (JPN)
Silver – Titouan Puyo (FRA)
Bronze – Rai Taguchi (JPN)
Copper – Aaron Sanchez (ESP)

Team Rankings
1. Spain
2. France
3. Japan
4. Italy
5. Puerto Rico

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