Supalicious. That sums up the sup scene at the 2016 SUP Awards presented by Tommy Bahama, where the world’s top suppers, filmmakers and more gathered under the stars at Doheny State Beach, marking the first year at the new venue—also the site of the Pacific Paddle Games.
Returning SUP Awards’ hosts Dave Boehne and Sam George supplied a standup act as they presented the coveted awards, which were voted for by paddling fans around the world. Connor Baxter was voted top Male Paddler of the Year—for the fourth time in SUP Awards’ six-year history—and Candice Appleby, no stranger to the Top Paddler award herself, took home top Female Paddler of the Year honors.
“It was a great surprise,” Baxter said. “The results seem to mix up every year so it’s always interesting. I’m really stoked for my brother Zane and Kai, too. That makes (the top three paddlers) all Maui boys. It’s a great feeling.”
“I’m super surprised and very grateful,” Appleby said. “Thank you SUP the mag, the voters and God for blessing me. Looking forward to a great weekend at PPG!”
Zane Schweitzer (#2) and Kai Lenny (#3) were also honored as top paddlers for their impressive performances this year, along with Izzi Gomez (#2) and Annabel Anderson (#3) on the women’s side.
“I feel super blessed and grateful and want to thank SUP the Mag,” said Schweitzer. “This is what we love, thanks for letting us express ourselves and giving us the opportunity to follow our dreams.
“SUP Awards was lit!” Gomez said. “I love how everyone in the industry comes together for this event. It’s so much fun.”
With a record-breaking performance earlier this year at the famed Molokai 2 Oahu, Kai Lenny earned the award for Best Male Performance of the Year.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized for my race at M2O,” said Lenny after his acceptance speech. “My whole gameplay was to just do the channel as fast as possible and it ended up working out for me.”
Annabel Anderson accepted a well-deserved Top Female Performance award for decimating her competition earlier this year at the Carolina Cup – finishing almost a mile ahead of the runner-up.
Representing the sport’s promising future, the young Aussie Matt Nottage brought home the Male Breakthrough Performer award, bursting onto the scene this year with a fourth-place finish at the Carolina Cup and coming home third at the Olukai Ho’o. Floridian Seychelle Hattingh earned her award for Female Breakthrough Performer with a spectacular race year, earning impressive results on the Euro Tour and setting the new record for longest distance paddled in a single session–110 miles in 24 hours.
“Winning this award means so much to me,” a shocked and tearful Hattingh said. “Thank you so much to everyone.”
Rounding out the night’s honors, the award for Top Philanthropic Effort went to The Butterfly Effect – an organization dedicated to empowering women through standup paddling and positive attitudes. Movie of the Year honors went to Brent Deal’s new film, Chasing Gold – featuring the story of the US SUP Team’s improbable win at the 2015 ISAs in Mexico. Finally, the Atlantic SUPer Girls – Julieta “Jules” Gismondi and LouAnne Harris – won a SUP Award for Expedition of the Year for their epic 1500-mile journey from New York City to Miami.
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Sponsors: Tommy Bahama, GoPro, Kona Deep and California State Parks