Photos from the 2017 Hobie-Salt Life WB SUP Surf Pro Am

Photos from the 2017 Hobie-Salt Life WB SUP Surf Pro Am

Photos from the WB SUP Surf Pro Am, courtesy of Carolina Paddleboard Co. and Glantz Photography! It was an amazing year, and we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.

In the 2017 Hobie and Salt Life Wrightsville Beach SUP Surf Pro Am the conditions were almost as amazing as the level of competition. Standup paddle surfers from around the world were greeted with waist to chest high, glassy swells for all the morning heats with a cool breeze and sunny skies. Typical of North Carolina, as the afternoon heats progressed the winds gained strength and made the semi-final and final heats more challenging. Although, looking at the maneuvers in the final divisions, one would never think they were being challenged.

After battling all day, and surfing numerous back to back heats Martin Letourner, Hobie team rider, from the small city of Saint-Malo in Brittany France stayed in good form to advance in both the Longboard style and Men’s Pro divisions. By keeping his cool and advancing into the final heats of these two divisions, he secured his place on the Haywood Newkirk Sr. All Waterman Award trophy. Martin admitted with a smile, “I am very at home in these conditions. My home surf spot is always windy with small waves, so these conditions would actually be a very good day for us. Plus, this is better because I’m not wearing a wetsuit!” Martin has been on SUP for 15 years, and has finished in the top 10 in the Battle of the Paddle, Pacific Paddle Games, and was the runner up in the French Championships for 2016. He also competes in SUP surf events in France, and has made numerous final heats.

The Men’s Pro division saw some of the most intense competition of the entire day, with each semi-final heat having the makings of a world-class final. The 2015 and 2016 All Waterman Award winners Fisher Grant and Bullet Obra were unable to secure a slot in the finals, knocking them out for a repeat. Georgio Gomez was another surfer that was on point after a disappointing heat in last year’s event, he surfed strong and made his presence known here in Wrightsville Beach with a 3 rd place finish. Similarly, last year’s event saw an early end to Mo Freitas’ day, but this year he came back with motivation and drive, and that was very obvious in his surfing. Some of the most radical maneuvers of the day came out of Mo, as he took to the waves with style and grace, and wowed the Wrightsville Beach locals with his Hawaiin style. Just off the plane from a fist place finish in the SUP Surf component of the Ultimate Waterman challenge (currently aired on Redbull TV), Caio Vaz from Brazil surfed strong in in the semi-final heat and looked to be one of the crowd favorites. However, the level of competition in Saturday’s event was so high, only four tenths of a point separated the top 4 men, and Caio had to settle for the 4 th place position here in Wrightsville.

In the Women’s Pro, Izzi Gomez returned for her third win in a row and also advanced into the finals of the mixed (men’s and women’s) longboard style SUP division. There is no doubt that Izzi is a World Champion and ISA Gold Medalist. Surfing at an equally high level this year was Lexi Alston from Dana Point, CA. At 15 years old, Lexi took runner up in this year’s Pro division. After last year’s win in the Amateur, she decided to step up to the plate, and young Lexi knocked this one out of the park. Fellow Hobie Team rider, and local April Zilg took the third place position ahead of Florida native Kristin Moyer. Kristin also won the Women’s Amateur division. Perhaps the most inspirational performance in the Women’s Pro division came from the always-smiling Tanvi Jagadish. In a stacked finals heat of 5 women, Tanvi held her own and caught waves on a board completely new to her. Traveling all the way from Mulki, India to compete in both the SUP Surf Pro Am and next week’s Carolina Cup, Tanvi saw the start to her international SUP career at the ISA Championships in Fiji in October where she was the first woman to represent India in an international SUP event. Now 17 years old, her dream is to continue to train and compete with the best women in the world despite social conventions where she lives. Little does she know she is already a huge inspiration to women everywhere. Tanvi also took the third position in the Amateur division.

New to this year’s event was the traditional Glider division, where participants rode surf boards that were 10’6” and longer. Three-time world champion longboarder Colin McPhillips took the win in this new division, as well as the win in the Longboard SUP open. Full results are available at www.wbsupsurfproam.com/results.html

All Waterman Award

– Martin Letourner

Men Pro

1. Mo Freitas (Oahu, Hawaii)

2. Martin Letourner (Saint-Malo, France)

3. Georgio Gomez (California, USA)

4. Caio Vaz (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Longboard Open SUP

1. Colin McPhillips (California, USA)

2. Fisher Grant (Florida, USA)

3. Martin Letourner (Saint-Malo, France)

4. Bullet Obra (Big Island, Hawaii)

Glider Open

1. Colin McPhillips (California, USA)

2. Georgio Gomez (California, USA)

3. Bullet Obra (Big Island, Hawaii)

4. Byron Kurt (California, USA)

Women Pro

1. Izzi Gomez (California, USA)

2. Lexi Alston (California, USA)

3. April Zilg (North Carolina, USA)

4. Kristen Moyer (Florida, USA)

5. Tanvi Jagadish (Mulki, India)

Men Amateur 15-49

1. Brycen Jergnigan (North Carolina, USA)

2. Chad Evans (North Carolina, USA)

3. Justin Schay (South Carolina, USA)

4. Jacob Thronburg (North Carolina, USA)

Men Amateur 50+

1. Haywood Newkirk (North Carolina, USA)

2. Byron Kurt (California, USA)

3. Randy Harris (North Carolina, USA)

4. Rick Weeks (North Carolina, USA)

Women Amateur

1. Kristin Moyer (Florida, USA)

2. Sherry Correll (Virginia, USA)

3. Tanvi Jagadish (Mulki, India)

4. Lexi Malone (North Carolina, USA)

Grom

1. Saylor Emmart (North Carolina, USA)

2. Jenna Blackburn (North Carolina, USA)

3. Betsy Lewis (North Carolina, USA)

4. Elle Newkirk (North Carolina, USA)