September 3, 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark – Standing on his Naish Maliko 12’6”, Casper Steinfath raised the Danish flag, proudly over his head, to a cheering crowd of his fellow country man as the 200m Sprint Champion of the 2017 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard World Championship. Also returning to rocket form was Slovenian phenom Manca Notar, blasted across the racecourse on her 12’6” Maliko to secure the gold medal.
This was Steinfaths fifth ISA World Title but the true reward came with winning in his home country. Steinfath was quick to respond when contacted by Naish, describing the race with great detail.
“The 200 meter sprint was an awesome race right in the heart if Copenhagen. It took place between the Opera House and the Royal Danish Palace. The level was super high and after a nail bitter semi final where I knocked out Connor Baxter and Slater Trout, I found myself in the final. My body was shaking and full of nerves as the final kicked off. I focused on breathing and taking just one stroke at a time. I got off to a good start and my Naish Maliko 12’6” took off just like a rocket. I couldn’t believe the speed underneath my feet and with the crowd going nuts on the sideline, I had everything I needed to push myself to another level. I’ve never paddled so fast in my life and when I crossed the finish line I was simply in shock when the crowds erupted in the biggest cheer I have ever heard!” stated Steinfath.
Steinfath also secured a bronze medal in the technical races in his hometown of Klitmøller or as its referred to, Cold Hawaii.
Manca Notar, representing her home country of Slovenia, had her work cut out for her after competing in the 18 km distance race the day before the sprints. While Notar’s name has been somewhat absent in the stand up world over the past year, she has not let her speed waive. “I’ve been training a lot during the whole year and I’ve been getting pretty good times at home while training alone but I never knew how good I am comparing to my competition,” said Notar about her preparation for the event.
Leading into the final race Notar’s sole focus was the finish line. “I didn’t have a good start, but I put my head down, concentrated on paddling, keeping my Maliko board planing. I didn’t look around until few meters before finish line where I saw that I won the race,” said Notar who was overcome with joy on her win. “Crossing the line was very emotional, all the hard training payed off, I proved to myself and team that’s behind me that we were doing it right.”
Equipment selection was crucial and Notar is especially selective and tuned in with her setup. “I also chose the perfect board for the race, my Maliko 12’6”, which felt like a rocket under my feet,” said Notar.
Other stand out performances throughout the event from Naish athletes included Annie Reickert, who represented Team Hawaii. At only 16 years of age, Reickert showed how well rounded of a paddler she is, competing in every event. While she didn’t bring home any hardware, Reickert posted impressive results in the sprints, distance and technical racing and will certainly be a force in the years to come.
This was the first time Denmark hosted an event of this magnitude and Casper Steinfath, who also serves as Vice President on the ISA board, was instrumental in his home country hosting the event. With teams from 42 countries in attendance the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship continues to show the growth of stand up paddling on an international scale. While a location has not yet been announced for the 2018 championships, it’s clear that warm water is not a limiting factor. For now, we will let Steinfath revel in his victory at home.
“Winning a World title and gold medal at home in Denmark is the craziest thing I have experienced in my life! I am completely overcome with joy and emotions especially because I got to win in front of my family and friends in Copenhagen,” responded Steinfath to Naish “It meant the world to me.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Jill Christina Photography
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