Men’s, Women’s World No.2 confirm participation in India’s first-ever International Stand Up-Paddling event

March 4, 2024
The Men’s and Women’s World No. 2, Spain's Fernando Perez and Esperanza Barreras, will be the big attractions in a strong line-up that will vie for the top honours in the upcoming India Paddle Festival

Mangalore, March 4 (IANS) The Men’s and Women’s World No. 2, Spain’s Fernando Perez and Esperanza Barreras, will be the big attractions in a strong line-up that will vie for the top honours in the upcoming India Paddle Festival, India’s first-ever international Stand-Up Paddling event to be held here next week.

India’s challenge will be spearheaded by the Sekar Patchai, the reigning national champion along with Manikandan D. and Akash J. Shetty. The India Paddle Festival is scheduled to take place at the picturesque Sasihithlu Beach, Mangalore, Karnataka, from March 8 to 10 and will be conducted before the launch of the 2024 APP World Tour. The three-day international event is sanctioned by the Association of PaddleSurf Professionals World Tour (APP), the official professional World Championship Tour for the sport of Stand-Up Paddling.

Other top-ranked international stand-up paddle surfers, which include the likes of Antonio Morillo, Pluem Koman, and Fernando Perez, have also confirmed their participation in the championship. A total of 45 stand-up paddlers will be competing across four different categories, Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Junior U-16 Boys, and Girls. Spaniard Esperanza Barreras, a four-time International Surfing Association (ISA) SUP World Champion, 2022 European Champion, and a three-time International Canoe Federation (ICF) World Champion, will be the biggest name in the Women’s Open category.

In the Men’s Open category, the spotlight will be on current World No. 2, Fernando Perez of Spain. Perez, the APP Korea 2023 Champion, secured a seventh-place finish in the ISA Long Distance and ICF Long Distance competitions.

Antonio Morillo of Spain and Pluem Koman of Thailand, currently ranked 16th and 17th, respectively, will also vie for the top honour in the Men’s Open category. Morillo achieved notable finishes, securing 2nd, 3rd, and 5th places in the European Technical Race, Technical ICF World Title, and Long Distance ICF World Title, respectively. On the other hand, Koman earned the title of SUP Thailand Championship.

Bianca Toncelli, the rising star from Italy and the current SUP Junior Champion, has been making waves in the world of paddle boarding. She finished in the TOP 5 in the 2023 Gran Canaria Pro Euro Tour SUP and will lead the charge in the Junior U-16 girls’ category.

Ranked 1 in India and 18th in the SUP World Rank (ISA) in 2018, Sekar Patchai will be responsible for leading the Indian Contingent as he competes in the Men’s Open Category. He is also a 25-time National Stand-Up Paddling champion. Manikandan D., the top 2 SUP athlete in the country, will also be a focus in the Men’s Open category.

The Association of PaddleSurf Professionals World Tour (APP) announced its entry in India with the country’s first-ever International Stand-Up Paddling championship last month. The India Paddle Festival will be the first step in an exciting new development journey for the organisation as a significant growth of the sport in the region over the coming years.

Presented by Karnataka Tourism and organised by the Surfing Swami Foundation, the India Paddle Festival will welcome a selection of top athletes from the APP World Tour, as well as other aspiring professionals from the region.

–IANS

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