The 2016 Stand Up World Series is about to get underway next week in the beautiful Kanagawa Prefecture, at Zushi Beach in Japan. The location is ideal for bringing together the World’s best with local paddlers of all levels, whether they be World Championship Contenders like Kenny Kaneko or entry level enthusiasts coming to Zushi to take in the energy and be a part of the excitement at this first World Championship stop of the season.
Competition will kick off next Friday 13th with the long distance race, that in 2016 will feature the all new ‘Super lap’ – a concept proposed by athlete Paul Jackson a few year’s back, the Super Lap works perfectly at a location such as Zushi Beach, where a lap course will keep the action close, and the addition of the super lap will allow real race strategy to come to play and avoid excessive draft trains that can often take a lot of the excitement out of racing.
The racing will then continue on Saturday 14th with infamous World Series Sprint Racing, the heat format elimination sprints that provide a truly dynamic racing spectacle for the crowds on the beach, but also nail biting racing for the athletes themselves.
It will all end on Sunday 15th with open and intermediate races, clinics, fun racing and much more, as Japan celebrates the kick off of the 2016 World Series, the start of the summer, and an all new season for the sport in the land of the Rising Sun.
Last year’s VIctoria Cup Japan saw some legendary racing from the greats, as we saw a familiar battle between 2014 World Champion Connor Baxter (Starboard) and 2015 World Champion Kai Lenny (Naish), with Connor taking the long distance and Kai the sprints, with Kai just taking the edge by a few places in the sprints to take the overall win.
However, there were some stand out performances from the likes of Mo Freitas (Focus SUP), Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) and Casper Steinfath (Naish), all right up there in contention for the win, so there is no doubt that the 2016 edition will be the most dramatic and exciting yet, as the Worlds best congregate to do battle in Japan.
Last year saw a striking performance from the eventual 2015 World Champion Candice Appleby (Infinity), who came out of the gates in stunning form to take bullet wins in both the long distance and sprint racing, a theme she would repeat throughout the year on her way to her maiden World Title.
However, right behind her were a few young new faces clearly making names for themselves and laying their claim at the top end of performance SUP Racing: Manca Notar (Naish) from Slovenia put on a stellar performance to take second overall, while Fiona Wylde (Starboard) kicked off her season in style by taking 3rd place, gaining momentum that she would only build on through the back end of the year to take 2nd overall in 2016 behind Candice Appleby – an incredible achievement from this young talent from Oregon.
Watch out for both these young talents, but also established greats such as Angie Jackson and many more as they step up to do battle in Japan next week.
We saw a great surge of Japanese talent stepping up to do battle in 2015 and we hear that there are even more stepping up to do battle in 2016 as we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds at this first stop of the 2016 World Championship Series in Japan.
Next up will be the Mercedes World Cup of SUP, stop #2 of the 2016 Stand Up World Series that will take place in the beautiful seaside town of Scharbeutz, just outside of Hamburg, Germany. This welcomed return to Germany in 2016 spells a new era for the World Series and the sport in N. Europe, with an exciting future in store and some of the most competitive racing yet on the World Championship Series to come this summer.