June 29, 2015, Barcelona, Spain – Team Naish achieved strong finishes in the sprint round for riders, Kai Lenny, Casper Steinfath and Manca Notar, leading to top overall scores for Kai and Manca at the first stop of the SUP World Series in Barcelona.
Highly anticipated, this new addition to the series hosts the world’s top professional SUP athletes. With five events held at various locations around the world, this stop in Spain was unique as the competition beaches were located amidst the bustling downtown of Barcelona, in the heart of the Mediterranean.
Traveling from Hawaii, Kai encountered one major roadblock along the way; he was unable to get his race board to Barcelona. Experiencing similar difficulties, Candice Appleby, a direct competitor in the women’s race, also had difficulty getting her board onto the airplane. Team Naish quickly came to the rescue and figured out a plan: Manca Notar would let fellow team rider Kai Lenny use her board for the men’s heat and Casper Steinfath would let Candice Appleby use his board for the women’s heat.
The 12 km long distance race took place on day one in front of thousands of locals and tourists, splitting heats between male and female contestants. The men’s race showcased plenty of new talent, forcing both new and seasoned experts to give it their all. The women’s race was just as challenging, with Candice leading for most of the race and Naish’s own Manca Notar right behind her. Explaining the conditions, Manca describes, “The wind started picking up and it got pretty strong during the race. We had everything from side-wind, upwind and downwind.” After snagging the 3rd position among 100 female contestants, amidst very challenging conditions, Manca remarks, “I’m really stoked on my result because this was a really strong competition. I’m looking forward to sprint races tomorrow.”
The second day showed perfect glassy conditions. Team Naish showed an even stronger presence on the second day sprints. Kai Lenny started out strong, coming in right behind Connor Baxter and earning 2nd. Casper Steinfath, known for his strong sprinting skills, kept position behind Kai the entire time, taking 3rd for himself. Casper summarizes the final heat of the day, explaining, “. . . I found myself in a tight battle with Connor Baxter and my team mate Kai Lenny. We all pushed each other hard in what was a really tight race. It came down to a photo finish between Kai and I running up the beach for second place. What a race!”
In the women’s final Manca was ready to put up a fight. Giving a stellar performance, Manca placed 2nd on the heels of Candice Appleby, who was also riding a Naish Javelin. For the overall place at the Barcelona World Series event, Manca was tied with Angie Jackson at 2nd, but was shifted to third by only a 3.2 second difference. After Kai took second in Sprints, this gave him enough points to take the second position overall in the men’s division. With Casper earning third in the Sprint, he was able to take the 5th overall position in the whole event.
To conclude, the weekend in Barcelona was a great time, with beautiful weather, ideal conditions and Naish boards decorating most top positions. Naish Team riders did very well despite challenges during travel and such a strong lineup of top competitors. The Barcelona World Series is the first event on the tour, next stop: San Paolo Brazil!
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