U.S.’s Emily Merrill, Brandi Baksic, Slay it at World SUP Champs in Peru; Help propel Team USA to Overall Silver

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While the Aussies won the team event (and coveted Club Waikiki Trophy) of the inaugural ISA World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championships in Lima, Peru, two U.S. SUP gals helped the U.S. secure a second-place finish. Emmy Merrill, 18, ripped her way to first place in the women’s SUP surfing final with a point score of 15.94, and Brandi Baksic swept the women’s marathon.

In the final, Merrill ended the event the way she began: sticking to her strategy and overwhelming the competition with the control of her board and power. Entering the Final she had won every heat she had surfed in the event, and by 10 minutes into the heat, she had the three other surfers in the combination situation, each requiring two scores to catch her score of 15.94. Merrill held on for the remainder of the heat and won the USA’s second individual Gold Medal.

“Coming into this event, I felt like I didn’t really have a name or expectations because nobody really knew who I was, so it’s great just coming in as the underdog and for people to just think, ‘Oh, who’s that?’” Merrill says. “I’m really honored to be the first Women’s SUP Surfing Gold Medalist and to win a medal at such a young age.”

And the U.S. gals weren’t through. In the Women’s SUP Marathon, USA’s Brandi Baksic completed the sweep of the SUP races, again winning with minutes between her and the next closest division competitor. “I’m super stoked. I would have been mad at myself if I didn’t get the second gold,” she says. “A couple months ago I thought I was done with racing SUPs. But now I have two golds and I helped USA win the Silver. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

Australian Angela Jackson won the silver behind Baksic, her second medal of the event.

In the marathon event, it was all Aussie.

“I wanted to redeem myself from yesterday because I made a few silly mistakes,” says Jamie Mitchell, in regard to losing a gold because he didn’t properly complete the Men’s SUP Technical Race. “I’m glad I got it.”

Mitchell’s gold medal-winning performance in the Men’s SUP Marathon division was the beginning of a parade of medals won by Australia on the final day. Just behind Mitchell came teammate Travis Grant, and shortly behind him, another teammate, Brad Gaul, the winner of the Men’s Paddleboard Marathon. The win was Gaul’s third of the event. Gaul was followed by Joel Mason, who also won the Silver Medal behind Gaul in the shorter paddleboard race three days prior.

Australian Jordan Mercer also proved herself to be among the elite paddleboard racers in the world, winning the Women’s Paddleboard Marathon by several minutes, and, like Gaul, earned her third gold of the five-day event.

“Three races and three golds; we can’t ask for anything more,” Mercer says. “Coming to Peru was just a phenomenal experience. I’m honored that I could come with the Australian team to be involved in such a prestigious competition. This may be the first year, but this is history that’s being made, and hopefully these are some records that are going to stand for a long time.”

Taking the silver behind Mercer was South Africa’s Anna Notten, who won the bronze in the shorter course earlier in the week, and was extremely satisfied with her second-place showing in the Marathon. But the course took its toll.

“I’ve never been so dead in my life,” she said after crossing the finish line. “I’ve never paddled this far in my life. Coming in hearing the vuvuzelas was amazing.”

Much like the women’s surfing final, the Men’s SUP Surfing Final was decided early. By the 10-minute mark, France’s Antoine Delpero had the field in the combination situation, with a pair of excellent scores for a total of 17.56. He also won the gold in the Men’s Longboard at the ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica in 2009.

Both Merrill and Delpero will have their names engraved on the perpetual Hector Velarde Trophy, which will be presented annually to the winners of the Men’s and Women’s SUP Surfing divisions. Velarde, who was born and raised in Lima, won the Peruvian national championship in 1963. He donated the trophy to the event.

With its strong showing on the final day of the event, Australia locked-up and ran away in the team standings, winning the Club Waikiki Trophy, which will be awarded annually to the overall team champion, in honor of Peru’s most famous surf club, which was founded by Carlos Dogny in 1942.

At the Awards Ceremony, where medals were handed out to the top four finishers in each of the 12 divisions, ISA President Fernando Aguerre expressed his gratitude to the Peruvian hosts, including Peruvian National Olympic Committee President Jose Quinones, and also had a message to those teams and countries who couldn’t come to compete in the inaugural event.

“I’m sure that some people are wondering ‘Why didn’t we go?’ Don’t worry, don’t feel bad, we’ll be here or some other place next year, because this event is going to happen every year, with the support of the SUPers and the paddlers around the world,” Aguerre said. “We are here to stay and to share the Olympic and the Aloha spirit. The ISA has a dream: to promote and take our wave-riding sports around the world and every day we work for it.”

Results

Women’s SUP Surfing Final
Gold/Hector Velarde Trophy – Emmy Merrill (USA) – 15.94
Silver – Shakira Westdorp (AUS) – 10.66
Bronze – Penny Stemmet (RSA) – 10.34
Copper – Brissa Malaga (PER) – 9.37

Men’s SUP Surfing Final
Gold/Hector Velarde Trophy – Antoine Delpero (FRA) – 17.56
Silver – Justin Holland (AUS) – 12.50
Bronze – Sean Poynter (USA) – 12.20
Copper – Jackson Close (AUS) – 11.64

Men’s Paddleboard Marathon Final Results
Gold – Brad Gaul (AUS)
Silver – Joel Mason (AUS)
Bronze – Shane Scoggins (USA)
Copper – Ryan Butcher (RSA)
5 – Donald Brierley (RSA)
6 – Matt Becker (USA)
7 – Rodrigo Gamarra (PER)
8 – Carlos Di Pace (ARG)
9 – Luis Eduardo Escudero (PER)
10 – Fabio Velasco (BRA)
11 – Andre Turelly (BRA)
12 – Gilbert Baez (VEN)
13 – Guillermo Pena (SPA)
14 – Fernando Labad (SPA)
15 – Facundo Martin Diaz (ARG)

Women’s Paddleboard Marathon Final Results
Gold – Jordan Mercer (AUS)
Silver – Anna Notten (RSA)
Bronze – Gillian Gibree (USA)
Copper – Concepcion Escatllar (SPA)
5 – Rocio Larranaga (PER)

Men’s SUP Marathon Final Results
Gold – Jamie Mitchell (AUS)
Silver – Travis Grant (AUS)
Bronze – Eric Terrien (FRA)
Copper – Jay Wild (USA)
5 – Paul Jackson (NZL)
6 – Luiz Guido (BRA)
7 – Gaetan Sene (FRA)
8 – Rob Rojas (USA)
9 – Belar Diaz (SPA)
10 – Felipe Rodriguez (MEX)
11 – Roman Frejo (SPA)
12 – Chris Bertish (RSA)
13 – Alexander Araujo (BRA)
14 – Mark Slater (GBR)
15 – Gonzalo Miranda (ARG)
16 – Greg Bertish (RSA)
17 – Piero Muscas (ITA)
18 – Jean-Luc Malfroid (SWZ)
19 – John Harvey (GBR)
20 – Jose Schiaffino (PER)
21 – Sebastian Borbero (ARG)
22 – Bruno Garcia (PER)
23 – Gian Paolo Lombardi (CHI)
24 – Robert Etienne (SWZ)
25 – Ed O’Farrell (IRE)
26 – Keith Gorman (IRE)
27 – Carlos Navarro (CHI)
DNF – Hector Gonzales (MEX)

Women’s SUP Marathon Final Results
Gold – Brandi Baksic (USA)
Silver – Angela Jackson (AUS)
Bronze – Brigette van Aswegen (RSA)
Copper – Barbara Brazil (BRA)
5 – Pat Hernandez (SPA)
6 – Edimar Luque (VEN)
7 – Jane Downes (IRE)
8 – Lorena Cemersoni (ARG)
9 – Antonella Podesta (CHI)

Team Title Results
Gold/Club Waikiki Trophy – Australia
Silver – USA
Bronze – South Africa
Copper – Spain
5 ¬– Peru
6 – Argentina
7 – Brazil
8 – France
9 – Venezuela
10 – Chile
11 – Ireland
12 – Great Britain
13 – Mexico
14 – Switzerland
15 – New Zealand
16 – Italy
17 – Austria