Top Seeds Deliver Intense Action on Day One of 2023 ISA World SUP & Paddleboard Championship

September 25th, 2023

Strong start for defending champion Lucia Cosoleto (ARG) in battle with 2019 Gold Medalist Justine Dupont (FRA)

Kapono Fukuda (JPN) and Wes Fry (AUS) lead men’s action in opening rounds


Les Sables d’Olonne, France – September 25, 2023

Clean lines of three-to-four foot swell at Plage de Tanchet set the stage for the start of the SUP Surfing competition for the 2023 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship (WSUPPC). Men’s and Women’s Main Round 1 were completed, along with the first two heats of Men’s Main Round 2.

The first heat of the day started slow but finished with a bang when Omelv Garcia (PUR) found a buzzer beater to win Main Round Heat 1. Australians Wes Fry and Kai Bates stepped it up a notch in Heats 4 and 5, with Fry collecting the highest single wave score for the men, an 8.17, and Bates claiming the highest heat total for the men, 14.10, over 2019 Gold Medalist Benoit Carpentier (FRA), who progressed in second. Peru’s Sebastian Gomez also delivered a great performance in Heat 7.

Heat 5 of the Women’s Main Round 1 was undoubtedly the heat of the day, featuring the previous two gold medalists, Justine Dupont (FRA) and Lucia Cosoleto (ARG), along with Lise Richard (CAN). The highly anticipated match-up did not disappoint.

Lucia Cosoleto, Team Argentina. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

Dupont, who is currently 5-months pregnant, opened strong with a huge floater, but struggled to find more than one turn on her waves. Cosoleto, on the other hand, earned the highest single wave score of the day, an 8.33, for a combination of three solid backhand re-entries. The Argentine backed it up with a 7.00 for a 15.33 heat total, easily the highest of the day, while Dupont’s second place heat total would have won any other heat in the round.

“I’m very happy,” Cosoleto said. “It’s always an honor to represent my country. I’m so happy to be here as a part of the Argentinean team. I wish there could have been more of us but we are a strong team. I’m very happy to be back competing at an ISA event and I want to give it my best.”

Kai Bates, Team Australia. Foto: ISA / Sean Evans

Two powerful surfing nations came up against each other in Women’s Main Round 1, Heat 6 as Brazil’s Aline Adisaka and Kilvia Cardoso took on Evette Terblanche and Tarryn King of South Africa. Though King was the 2018 SUP Sprint Race Gold Medalist and has also competed in multiple ISA World Longboard Championships, today marked her first appearance in SUP Surfing at the ISA level. King pushed Adisaka, the 2022 Bronze Medalist, throughout the heat and the two progressed together into Main Round 2.

The final heat of the day, Men’s Main Round 2, Heat 2, also delivered excitement, with 2022 APP World Junior Champion Kapono Fukuda (JPN) bringing his lightning fast forehand hits up against the strong backhand of Wes Fry (AUS), along with Main Round 1 standouts Bobo Gallagher (USA) and Leonard Nika (ITA). With Gallagher and Nika unable to find the rhythm they held earlier in the day, Fry and Fukuda battled it out, both surfers waiting on the sand to find out who would win the heat, though both progressed in the Main Round.

“It was very hard conditions, but I did my best,” Fukuda said. “I’m so happy to win this heat. Wes received an 8-point ride in Round 1 so I was kind of nervous going into the heat. I’m pushing myself really hard so I got into it with the claims, which I kind of felt bad about, but I was so happy to get the scores.”

Competition will begin tomorrow at Plage de Tanchet at 8:00 am CEST with the continuation of Men’s SUP Surfing Main Event Round 2.

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