Holly Mawdsley / 5 July 2022

US Open of SUP Provides a Dramatic Start to the 2022 Racing Season as the APP World Tour Returns with a Bang

The 2022 Racing World Tour commenced last Saturday with action-packed sprints in Santa Monica which delivered on all the thrills and spills that have become synonymous with APP surf sprints. No heat lacked drama with sprint finishes, buoy battles and fierce competition making it one of the most thrilling days of racing seen on the Tour. It was Connor Baxter and April Zilg who snatched the first win of the season, which in Connor’s words is “how you start a good year.” Sunday’s distance race then put the athletes through their paces as they embarked upon a 10.5-mile downwinder from Malibu to Santa Monica. April Zilg once again stormed the women’s field after a steady battle with Queen of SUP Candice Appleby throughout. The feat belonged not only to Zilg however, but to Team USA, as they once again occupied all three spots on the women's podium as Appleby took 2nd and Stephanie Shideler took 3rd.

Zilg commented after the race: “This is a little surreal. When I started paddling 10 years ago, being on the World Tour was only something I could’ve dreamed of doing and now I have won the first stop of the season. I feel like I am going to wake up at any moment.” The men’s distance race saw Peruvian Itzel Delgado claim his first ever win on the APP World Tour. This huge victory for Itzel places him as a as a serious contender for this year’s world title as just falls short of Connor’s overall score after an outstanding performance in both the sprints and long distance.

“When I realised I was in the lead and could take first place I just decided I was going to win so I put the hammer down and raced to the finish. I am super stoked. It is my first win on the Tour and this is just going to motivate me to keep training, keep pushing and go for more wins.”

15-year-old Bodie Von Allmen, finished just after Delgado in the distance race achieving a career-best result and beating out many of APP’s top athletes.

The Rise of the Young Guns

 Allmen’s triumph is just one example of the rise of the young guns last weekend. Other stand-out performances include 13-year-old Soryn Preston who placed 3rd in the sprints, just Allmen’s triumph is just one example of the rise of the young guns last weekend. Other stand-out performances include 13-year-old Soryn Preston who placed 3rd in the sprints, just behind SUP stars Zilg and Appleby, proving that the future is bright for Team USA’s sprint squad. 

Prior to the event, Preston was nervous to compete against the top women in the sport. “This is the first time I have raced against the top dogs in a big race and not as a junior. It is intimidating but I think I can hold my own against them.” And she was absolutely right. 
Shuri Araki aka ‘Shrimpy’ also put on a blazing performance last weekend in Santa Monica, placing 3rd in the long distance and 4th overall – keeping the top pros on their toes all weekend long. 

After stop #1, Zilg and Baxter have established a convincing lead in the World Championship race, but will they hold onto it after the London SUP Open? See all results and highlights here

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