Brazil’s Arthur Santacreu and South Africa’s Tarryn King charged to victory in the men’s and women’s stand-up paddle sprint events as action resumed today at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Wanning in China.
King’s performance secures a first-ever SUP gold medal for South Africa and comes just over a year after she gave birth and returned to elite-level SUP surfing and racing.
She built a decisive lead and crossed the finish line first in 1 min 04.16sec to the cheers of her team on the shores of Shenzhou Peninsula.
"I’ve put in a lot of time and a lot of training," King, whose husband Thomas celebrated on the beach with their one-year-old son" King said.
"I am so stoked.
"To win gold in the sprints is a dream come true.
"It’s been quite a journey from giving birth to being world champion.
"I stayed fit during my pregnancy and once I gave birth, I bounced back quite quickly.
"I really focused on coming to compete in the ISA and it all paid off."
Italy’s Caterina Stenta took the silver medal in 1:05.00, while the United States’ Jade Howson claimed the bronze in 1:05.49 and Australia’s Terrene Black the copper in 1:05.68.
After a morning of quarter-finals and semi-finals, the men’s SUP sprint final saw Santacreu come out on top.
The 2017 bronze medallist continued his string of first-place finishes through the qualifying heats, earning the gold medal in 51.72.
"I am so grateful," Santacreu said.
"All my training worked really well.
"My team knows how to encourage me.
"Their support fully played a part in my gold medal."
New Zealand’s Trevor Tunnington followed with the silver medal in 53.25, while the bronze went to America's Connor Baxter in 53.60 and the copper to France’s 16-year-old Noic Gariou in 54.47.
Notably absent from the final was 2017 gold medallist Casper Steinfath as the Dane narrowly missed out on qualification from the semi-finals.
With two bronze medals for the US and only one copper medal for Australia in the sprint races, the Americans have built upon their lead in the team standings.
They have a total of 15,824 points to Australia’s 15,518.
New Zealand have jumped up to third position with 13,971 points, thanks to Tunnington’s silver medal.
They are closely trailed by France and Spain with 13,847 and 13,509 respectively.
Five sets of medals are still to be awarded with distance races scheduled for tomorrow and relay races due to take place on Sunday (December 2).
"The SUP sprints have been an exciting addition to the event since 2016, adding a new element of power and explosiveness," ISA President Fernando Aguerre said.
"We are proud to continue crowning the best SUP and paddleboard athletes world champions, and today was no exception.
"We have two days of competition left in Wanning and the team points are heating up."