All Photos: John Carter / APP World Tour
Paris, France 9th December 2019: With 1,000 athletes taking off in the dark to paddle the iconic Nautic Paddle route west along the River Seine, Paris came alive for the final day of action at the Paris SUP Open, the climactic Final event of the 2019 APP World Tour.
Coming into the Final day, Arthur Arutkin from France and Casper Steinfath from Denmark were both still in the running, with it would all come down to this final race of the season to decide World Championship Titles for 2019.
The start was impressive, like nothing we have ever seen before, with just under 1,000 paddlers gunning down the River Seine at day break accompanied by SUP Squatches (large inflatable multi-person boards) filled with excited paddlers in fancy dress, with music and even fireworks - it was a site to behold in every respect and a fitting backdrop for this all important final day of competition for 2019.
Out of the gate, a lead pack of 10 or so of the leading Men took control of the race, with Lincoln Dews, Michael Booth, Titouan Puyo and Connor Baxter heading up the lead pack, with the Title Contender Arthur Arutkin right on their heals. However, by the time that they rounded Notre Dame, Arthur had dropped back to around 10th, battling to keep up with the leaders, as the two Australians, Lincoln Dews and Michael Booth were starting to really take control of the Race.
By the Eiffel Tower, it was still Lincoln and Michael going stroke for stroke, following by Peru's Itzel Delgado and Ludovic Teulade from France, with Titouan Puyo coming back into the mix into the final stretch.
But as the athletes accelerated for the last sprint into the finish, it was Michael Booth who had saved the best until last, just outrunning Lincoln Dews on the final stretch to secure the well deserved win.
This was Michael's 3rd distance win of the season ouf of 4, firmly cementing himself as the most dominant distance paddler in the World and earning him the Distance Racing Title for 2019.
In addition to this, Michael was able to secure the overall event Title at the Paris SUP Open, his second of the season amidst a stacked field of the very best athletes in the World.
So congratulations go out to Michael Booth on a phenomenal season in 2019 and make sure to check out the highlights, galleries, full recaps and much more by going to appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Lincoln Dews from Australia has long been regarded as one of the most talented Racers in the World, consistently putting on World beating performances amidst the World's best.
Despite his board getting stuck in customs, unretrievable because of the major strike that somewhat paralyzed France during this past week, Lincoln was able to demonstrate his raw ability and sheer determination to battle the eventual winner all the way to the finish, to take a well deserved 2nd place in the distance race.
This, coupled with his 5th place in the sprints meant that he tied in points with the eventual overall event Champion Michael Booth, with the advantage going to Michael due to his race win, as per the APP Official Rules.
Despite narrowly missing out on the event win in Paris, Lincoln clearly showed exceptional form to wrap this 2019 season finishing in 6th place overall for the year. As a result, he has positioned himself as a major front runner for the 2020 season, as we anticipate great things from this understated talent from down under who has proved himself a threat regardless of conditions, course length or format.
Titouan Puyo from New Caledonia has long been known for his incredible skill in downwind racing, but more recently has proved that he is by no means a one trick pony: think back to his sprint racing display in London, where although a costly mistake in the Final left him in 4th place, his pace was unmatched at that event, as a shot across the bows was fired to kick off the 2019 season.
As we wrap it all here in Paris, Titouan once again showed moments of brilliance, with an amazing battle in the distance race to finish in 3rd place and some strong performances through the sprint racing heats on Day 1, putting him in 6th overall for the event.
Small mistakes at key moments are the reason why Titouan is not higher than his 7th place overall finish for 2019, and if he can eradicate those inconsistencies in 2020, there is no doubt that he is every bit a major contender for the Title.
After a stunning performance in the Pool on Day 1 of the Paris SUP Open, Connor Baxter looked hungry for victory off the start in the distance race. Staying in the mix with the lead pack around Notre Dame and through the midway point of the Race, it looked as though Connor might back up his Day 1 victory with a strong finish in the distance as well.
Unfortunately it wasn't to be, as his distance result was not enough to secure victory at the 2019 Paris SUP Open. However, it was enough to put him in 3rd overall for the event, notching up yet another podium finish for this multiple times World Champion as he finishes in 5th overall for 2019.
Connor's performance on Day 1 was mindblowing, and clearly a statement of what is to come in 2020: there is no doubt that Connor will once again be one of the major Title Contenders in 2020 as we look forward to another dramatic year on the APP World Tour.
Overall Event Results for the Paris SUP Open:
Casper Steinfath clinches his Maiden World Title in Paris
It's official: Denmark's Casper Steinfath has clinched his maiden World Title here in Paris amidst a raucous welcome on the Riverbanks from a solid contingent of Danish fans. With a second place in the sprints yesterday, it really came down to what 2018 World Champion Arthur Arutkin could do today, needing to win the distance in order to have a shot at the Title.
Unfortunately for the young French talent, a disappointing finish in the sprints yesterday led to a strong start in the distance today, as he stuck with the pack for the first half of the course, but seemed to hit a wall around the midway point, falling back in the race and out of contention for the 2019 World Title.
With that being the case, Casper Steinfath was able to finish his race today in the knowledge that he is the all new 2019 Overall Racing World Champion: an incredible achievement to cap what has been an incredible year for the Dane.
Stay tuned for the full recap and highlights from the weekend's action here at the Final stop on the 2019 APP World Tour, the Paris SUP Open at www.appworldtour.com and @appworldtour. In the meantime, here is the Overall Top 10 from the 2019 Season, with full rankings to be updated by tomorrow:
Overall Top 10 for 2019