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Martin Vitry Wins European Championships, Qualifies for ISA World Championships

Posted by SIC Maui on

Photo via: Fédération Française de Surf

Global Athlete Martin Vitry of France was crowned Champion of Europe at the 2018 European SUP Championship in Sardinia, winning both the technical and long distance races. With these wins, Martin has officially qualified to represent Team France in the ISA World Championships in China this November. Martin’s victories confirm not only his excellent form, but also the excellent performance of the SIC RS boards.

From the start of the first competition, the Technical Race, Martin was clearly right on his game. After a strong start and a few tussles with Casper Steinfath and Tom Auber for the race lead, Martin made a final move to take the lead and finish a safe distance ahead of Casper, one of the favorites for the Technicals. With one win and two days of rest behind him, Martin was fully ready to show the same level of skill and determination in the Long Distance and quickly established a lead over Casper and Tom. Although theoretically a downwind, the race turned out to be much more complicated, but at the very top of his form, Martin paddled like a mad man and managed to take a lead that he never let go of. He finished more than a minute in front to pocket his second European title.

Photo via: Fédération Française de Surf

In the wave competition, National Ambassador Alexis Deniel hardly raised a paddle in anger. After a highly promising training building up to the contest, he was very motivated to compete, but the last chance of running any heats or finals passed with the water staying resolutely flat. So Alexis will have to wait and see what the French Surf Federation (FFSurf) has to say about his selection, or not, for the World Championships in China.

Photo via: Fédération Française de Surf

A Word From Martin Vitry

“After many challenging competitions, which started this past June, I am proud to have earned a spot on Team France after winning the European Championship of stand up paddle in Sardinia, Italy this past week. I am honored that I will represent my country (France) at the 2018 ISA World Standup Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship from November 23 - December 2 in Wanning, China.

During the European championships in Sardinia, there was a huge desire to do well and a little pressure. The professionalism of the staff and the organization puts us directly in the best conditions to perform and be in a maximum confidence. The technical race took place on Wednesday. Casper and Tom, my teammate on the French team, are big fans on this type of race. We obviously have a team strategy, but SUP remains an individual sport and everyone has their personal goals and wants to perform at their highest level.

Photo via: Fédération Française de Surf

The pressure was on for the start of the race in the afternoon. The conditions were good. Fifteen knots of wind kicks up bumps and this will play a major factor in the race. Off the starting line everything went as planned. I felt good on my SIC RS 12’6” x 23.5” and I turn the first buoy in 2nd position and then moved into the lead. On the 3rd leg, Casper made a move and accelerated past me. I took the opportunity to rest in his draft during an upwind leg. On the downwind leg I launched an attack, which allowed me to take the lead again and managed to create a gap that I was able to hold on to until the finish. I arrived at the finish first and was proudly victorious and brandishing the French flag.

Photo via: Fédération Française de Surf

We had a day of rest in between the technical race and the long distance and I spent it at the beach snorkeling and then in my hotel room resting and watching some movies. The long distance was amazing yet challenging. There were about five knots of side shore breeze early in the morning. I had a good and clean start and was 2nd at the first buoy. Paddling 14km on 12’6” in warm conditions and relatively flat water is challenging and tiring. I tried not to get excited and focused on paddling hard and catching any little bump there I could. Two days earlier we had spotted a wave that swept along the rocks. During the race I remembered this and took a course hugging the shore. I caught some waves and this put me out in front. For the rest of the race I decided I would paddle alone. There were 8 more buoys to go. I took one at a time and this helped me to maintain my focus.

Photo via: Fédération Française de Surf

While the other racers gained some ground on me in the challenging side winds, I dug deep paddling with my eyes fixed on the finish line. I wanted to win so badly. I felt like the bumps came out of nowhere and allowed me to breathe before the final sprint. I turned the last buoy in the lead with twenty seconds ahead and I could see the smiles of teammates who were there to compete in SUP surf and were looking on. They smiled and cheered me on and I quickly forgot the pain and crossed the line earning my second individual gold medal and secured a spot on the French team.

I could not have dreamed of a better finish on this first adventure with the French Team. I wish to thank enormously the French Federation of Surf for the implementation and the professionalism. I am looking forward to racing in China and representing my country and fulfilling my dream.”

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