September 21, 2019, Osaka, Japan – Casper Steinfath moved one step closer to his goal of becoming the 2019 APP Sprint World Champion with the 2020 Maliko this weekend at the third stop of the APP World Tour in Osaka, Japan.
It was in Japan where Casper won his first ever SUP World Cup in 2016 and has been a favorite stop of his with great food and an incredibly enthusiastic SUP community.
Day one of racing was the sprint races on Saturday. For Casper, this was the main event that he had his sights set firmly on making the final. “Noic Garioud, Connor Baxter and Arthur Arutkin were on my heels and I knew a strong result here could help me separate from the pack. But it was not easy!” said Casper.
Racing underneath an ancient bridge in the Heart of Osaka, the course featured a 300 meter distance with three 180-degree buoy turns and ran four man heats. The races got going with an eager crowd of Japanese spectators screaming and yelling at us. Heat-by-heat, Casper advanced on the Maliko until the finals. From the start through the finish, Casper gave it his all and pushed his Maliko and self to the limit – and took the win!
“I was over the moon! I had blasted my way through the final and claimed the top podium spot that day. The taste of victory was sweet and I was now one step closer to lifting that World Title trophy in Paris later this year,” said Casper
The following day was the 11 km distance race down the Osaka River. Traditionally distance races have not been Casper’s strength, nor his favorite discipline, but with the confidence of the previous days victory and a fast Javelin under his feet, Casper was confident in his ability to keep his momentum going.
“I fought with everything I had and watched as top names began dropping one by one. First Connor Baxter, then Danny Ching… I kept my head down and didn’t stop until I saw I had passed the finish line,” said Casper. “On the last 200 meters I jumped into attack mode and put my Javelin into overdrive and jumped from 11th to 9th place. By no means a big result, yet I was proud to still be in the mix with the top distance specialists in the sport. Little did I know in that moment, that this 9th place would be so crucial for my overall result.”
A ninth place in the distance put Casper and Australian Michael Booth, who finished ninth in the sprints and won the long distance, tied for first place in points for the overall event.
“I was stoked! Not only had I completed my goal of winning the sprints, but also performed in the overall rankings of the event.” Unfortunately, the tiebreaker went to Michael as more weight was given to the distance results. Caspers result in Japan leaves him in a third place on the Overall Year Rankings for distance and sprinting.
From Japan, the tour now heads to California for the Red Bull Heavy Water where Casper is defending champion. The holding period begins October 15th and will only run should a large swell come in during that time.
“It will be an exciting finish to this season with Red Bull Heavy Water and Paris yet to come. I’ll be focused on winning the APP Sprint World Title in Paris, but now also dreaming of that elusive Overall win, which Heavy Water potentially could help give me,” said Casper.
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PHOTOS: John Carter | APP World Tour