Osaka, Japan, 22nd September 2019: Michael Booth takes victory on the final day of action at the Osaka SUP Open presented by Remax Japan, in a thrilling distance race that thread its way through the beautiful waterways of this bustling City.
Always a favorite coming into the distance race, Michael had some ground to make up after a disappointing 9th place (quarterfinal) finish in the sprint racing. As expected, the powerful talent from down under shot to an early lead, breaking away from the pack and holding the lead for the duration of the event, and resisting a heroic comeback from the New Caledonian phenom, Titouan Puyo in the closing stages of the race.
Michael maintained his composure and kept his head down to come out on top, taking the distance win, and in doing so, the overall win for the Osaka SUP Open presented by Remax Japan, with ties being broken in favor of the distance result at Stop #3 of the 2019 APP World Tour.
However, beyond this event victory, Michael has been able to take the lead in the Overall Rankings after Osaka, getting ahead of the current World Champion Arthur Arutkin by the smallest of margins (just 250 points), meaning that we have an incredibly exciting title race on our hands coming into the backend of the year.
Make sure to check out a replay of both the sprint and distance races here in Osaka, view the full results, as well as photos and video highlights from what has been an incredible 3rd stop of the Racing Tour in 2019: you can see all this and more at appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Titouan Puyo from New Caledonia came out of the gates all guns firing back at stop #1 in London, making a clear statement that he is a real threat on the APP World Tour both in distance (which we have come to expect), but also sprint racing. Using New York as his wildcard, Titouan was clearly back for more here in Osaka. However it did not start well, with a disappointing finish in the sprint racing on Day 1 that saw him exit early, followed by an early mistake in the distance that did not bode well for the New Caledonian talent.
However, Titouan was able to regain his composure and pull back from what seemed to be an impenetrable lead that Michael Booth had built up, to challenge the eventual Champion all the way to the Finish Line.
While his current rankings do not reflect the sheer talent and potential that Titouan has this year (currently sitting in 9th place overall, but with only 2 out of 3 results so far this year), he did secure a 5th place overall for Osaka and posted another strong distance result towards his overall ranking as he will have his eyes on Red Bull Heavy Water and Paris, still to come in 2019.
Arthur Arutkin, the current World Champion, continues to impress here on the APP World Tour, posting another strong result for the 2019 season, keeping his hopes of retaining his hard earned and well deserved World Title alive after stop #3 in Osaka.
Despite slipping to #2 in the World after the Osaka SUP Open presented by Remax Japan, he is only trailing by 250 points, making it one of the most exciting Title Races yet starting to develop in the Men's fleet: with Michael in the lead, Arthur is followed by Casper Steinfath in 3rd, who while he is over 6000 points behind, is currently only counting two distance races towards his overall World Ranking.
Arthur continues to look confidant and is without the most consistent and one of the most well rounded athletes on Tour, with one event win so far this season, and another podium finish here in Japan.
Stay tuned for more on this developing Title Race as well as APP World Tour Racing Champion Arthur Arutkin and check out broadcast replays, highlights, photos and much more from the Osaka SUP Open presented by Remax Japan at www.appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Casper Steinfath from Denmark once again proved that he is one of the World's very best Sprinters, if not the best, with another dominant performance at Stop #3 of the 2019 APP World Tour in Osaka. Coming off a win in the New York SUP Open Sprints, Casper transitioned to the flat water arena with ease to take the well deserved win amidst a stacked final featuring some of the sport's greatest legends.
In the distance, Casper was able to do enough today to take 9th place, tying with the eventual winner Michael Booth from Australia for points, with the tie being broken in favor of the distance race here in Osaka (it was sprints in New York).
Despite not taking the event win, Casper has climbed further up the leaderboard after his performance in Osaka this weekend, currently sitting in 3rd place overall behind Arthur and Michael and putting him within striking distance of the top spot. This is particularly the case given that he is missing one distance race in his overall results (he did not take part in the distance race in London due to injury).
There is no doubt that the APP World Tour Sprint Racing arena created at the Rose Garden on Nakanoshima Island not only provided some of the most exciting racing yet this season, but was also a massive hit amongst the local Osaka crowds that came to take in this World Championship Tour Event.
Outside of the Top 3 overall athletes featured above, a well established legend of the sport reasserted himself in the mix at Stop #3 of the 2019 APP World Tour in Japan: Danny Ching proved that he is far from a one trick pony, putting on a sprint performance to remember in front of an ecstatic local crowd to finish 2nd in the sprints and 4th overall for the event.
Multiple times World Champion Connor Baxter from Hawaii also put on a show worthy of note, coming out of the gates strong in the sprint racing and eventually finishing in 3rd behind Danny Ching and Casper Steinfath.
Finally, Rai Taguchi, a young local talent proving himself truly worthy of his Wildcard, fed of the crowd's excitement and fervor, putting on an incredibly impressive performance, almost making it all the way to the finals. Rai is certainly a face to look out for on the APP World Tour moving forward and we are excited to see how he performs away from the comfort of his home crowd later in the year.
There were so many more moments to remember from what has been a truly remarkable weekend of racing here in Osaka, so make sure to go back and relive it all on the Live Broadcast Replays at www.appworldtour.com and @appworldtour and through photos, highlights and much more.
Outside of the Pro Competition, over 200 people joined to the 2019 Osaka SUP Open presented by Remax to participate and come together as a community for an incredible weekend of competition and camaraderie.
However, beyond the action on the River, the APP Pool saw non stop action, between yoga clinics, youth and adult paddle sessions and the United Sports Foundation special event that featured activites in the pool, learning about the danger and problems caused by plastics in the ocean and waterways with Sea2See, and seminars on safety in the water by Japanese water patrol.
To cap all the activities off, the industry expo, athlete meet and greets, live music and hula provided a very complete experience for everyone from experienced paddlers to complete newcomers to the sport and put Osaka on the map as a phenomenal venue for the sport.
As always, the hospitality in Japan has been second to none, and the APP World Tour is excited to journey back to its new found home in Osaka next year for another dramatic edition of the Osaka SUP Open. A big thank you to the Prefecture and City of Osaka for all their support of this incredible event.
Next up, Red Bull Heavy Water: join us next month for the World's most extreme SUP Race and the next stop on the 2019 APP World Tour, with a holding period from the 15th October - 7th November.
OSAKA SUP OPEN PRESENTED BY REMAX JAPAN: RESULTS