Australia’s Michael Booth crosses the finish line to win the Gold Medal after a grueling 17km Distance Race. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans
Fiji, November 17, 2016 – With the stunning visual backdrop of Fiji’s natural island beauty, day four of the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship saw Australia’s
Michael Booth and New Zealand’s Sam Shergold emerge victorious in the divisions of SUP and Paddleboard, respectively, in an exhilarating 17km race from Cloudbreak to Musket Cove in Fiji.
Australia and France both earned two medals on the day. Both countries increased their medal counts to six and asserted themselves as the early favorites to compete for the overall Club Waikiki Peru World Team Champion Trophy that is awarded to the overall Team Gold Medalist.
Building further anticipation to the final three days of competition, a massive swell is marching across the South Pacific Ocean towards Fiji, set to provide 10 foot (3 meters) waves for the SUP Surfing Finals at Cloudbreak. This will likely result in the biggest waves ever seen in an SUP Surfing competition.
The Men’s SUP Racers kicked off the race Thursday morning from Cloudbreak where they traversed the channel towards the iconic, heart-shaped island of Tavarua. Breezy cross winds and high temperatures made for challenging conditions for the world’s best SUP and Paddleboard racers.
A pack of seven quickly defined themselves as the lead group which featured, both Brazilian and French paddlers, Tahiti’s Georges Cronstead, Booth and Hawaii’s Kai Lenny.
As the racers began to near Musket Cove, Booth pulled to the front of the train and eventually began to create separation from the rest of the pack. Booth held this lead all the way to the finish line, reaching his goal exactly at the two-hour mark.
The race was magic,” stated Booth. “I was really feeling uncomfortable at the start but when I came around the reef I pushed hard and pulled ahead.”
“I really wanted this win. I love wearing the green and gold for my country. When I heard my teammates screaming for me from the boat that kicked me up that last little bit.”