Juliette Duhaime and Shuri Araki are victorious at the 2023 Viana SUP Open winning the overall results for both the sprint racing and downwind.
Juliette Duhaime has been getting stronger, faster and even more well rounded these past few years to where she is without doubt a real World Title Contender. Here in Viana do Castelo, she once again showed her sprint prowess with an impressive win and solid 4th place in the downwind distance race to secure the overall event Title and Rankings lead after stop #2. Starting with her strongest suit, sprint racing, Duhaime maintained her composure through the elimination and peaked at the right time to take victory on day number one of the Viana SUP Open. With a 3rd place in Alicante followed by a 1st place here, she is off to a solid start in terms of strong finishes in the 2023 season.
Her victory was especially impressive given the caliber of competitors she faced here at the Viana SUP Open, in particular the rising star Duna Gordillo who proved to be on stellar form here at Stop #2 and Esperanza Barreras, currently one of the most dominant Ladies in the sport. Also worth a strong mention was Mariecarmen Rivera, who put in another solid performance with a 2nd place finish in the sprints and a 3rd place in the distance placing her in 4th place overall for the event.
Drawing on his lifelong experience in the ocean, Shuri ‘Shrimpy’ Araki navigates a beautiful downwind course flawlessly to take the win for the day, but also the weekend with his 2nd place finish in the sprints. Viewed as ‘the ultimate experience’ in SUP Racing, downwind courses allow athletes the opportunity to ride open ocean swells and transform a straight endurance pursuit into something more magical. Hailing from a small fishing village in the north of Okinawa, open ocean paddling is in Shuri’s blood, and it was on full display for the final day of action at the 2023 Viana SUP Open, as was the magnificent coastline and natural environment of Viana do Castelo.
With a bump in swell providing an exciting start through the surf, athletes then turned the buoy for the 14km downwind stretch to the River entrance. From the start, Araki, along with multiple times World Champion Connor Baxter demonstrated their expertise in this form of racing, taking different lines, but leading the race from the first buoy.
Coming into the final River run to the finish, things got tougher, as a side wind and tide that was starting to drop created a new obstacle for the contenders. However, Araki came into his own here, maintained a stunning pace and crossed the finish line first despite a late surge by a fellow athlete from Okinawa and top contender Rai Taguchi, followed by Baxter in 3rd.
This win, together with his 2nd place in the Sprints from Day 1 of competition secured the overall event win for Araki, as while he did not yet take the ratings lead after stop 2 of the APP World Tour, he is within inches of Baxter, who remains in pole position as we look forward to the Busan SUP Open in October.
We are excited to see how the remainder of the season unfolds as the competition on Tour is only getting more intense as we look ahead to the Busan SUP Open in October. Check out highlights, broadcast replays, photos and full results and rankings at www.appworldtour.com and @appworldtour and join us in the beautiful town of Busan, South Korea for stop #3 of the 2023 APP World Tour taking place from the 7th – 9th October.
A big thank you the City of Viana do Castelo, the European Capital of sport and all our partners for their support of this inaugural Portuguese stop of the APP World Tour, as we look forward to building an exciting new legacy here for the future.