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SIC Team Athletes Seychelle, Vitry, & Taguchi At Kerama Blue Cup

Posted by SIC Maui on

Photo Courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465

Over the weekend, SIC Global Team riders Seychelle (USA) and Martin Vitry (France) arrived on the beautiful island of Zamami and joined the rising star of Japan and SIC youth development rider Rai Taguchi for the fourth stop of the Paddle League World Tour - the 2nd annual Kerama Blue Cup. Bright turquoise waters, friendly hospitality, and great turnout from the local paddle community along with top international talent made for an incredible event whether you were watching in person or tuning into the Paddle League live stream.

Photo courtesy of Georgia Schofield / The Paddle League @paddleleague

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

The Kerama Blue Cup, Japan's largest international race, featured both elite and open races, as well as a kid's race the following day. Despite the long journey to Zamami, team SIC was ready to race and give it their all Saturday morning, and had strong showings from the entire team.

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Seychelle set the early pace for her fellow female competitors, before battling it out for the majority of the race in the top 4 with Yuka Sato, Sonni Honscheid, and Fiona Wylde. This pack broke off and continued to create a large gap between the remaining female racers. In the end, Seychelle fought her way to a 3rd place finish making Seychelle one of the top contenders on the 2018 Paddle League World Tour and - as pointed out by Chris Parker during the Paddle League live stream - “Seychelle may now be the top ranked female from the U.S. on the Paddle League World Tour.”

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Photo courtesy of The Paddle League @paddleleague

Frenchman Martin Vitry had a strong performance on the men's side, finishing 7th overall. Martin is quickly emerging as a top competitor having taken out some of the biggest names last fall, where Martin took out legendary paddler Titouan Puyo to win the French Nationals (“Championnat de France de Stand Up Paddle”). At a ripe young age of 19 years old, and where boys become men, we are excited to this young man shine in the coming months and years.

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Photo courtesy of The Paddle League @paddleleague

Right behind teammate Vitry the rising star of Japan and 2017 Pacific Paddle Games winner of the youth technical (boys 12-14) and 3 place finisher in the 6 mile distance (boys 12-14), the 14-year-old Japanese SIC rider Rai Taguchi turned in a 9th place finish in the elite men’s division in his motherland at the Zamami event. Rai was one of only two Japanese riders to make the top 10 for the men, and at just 14 years old, it was a truly remarkable feat. Both Martin and Rai, as well as Seychelle, rode the RS 12’6” x 23.5” in the elite race division.

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465 

Beyond racing, Seychelle, Martin, and Rai were able to do some team bonding, as well as meet other local paddlers and ocean athletes in the area. During the kid’s race on Sunday, they had a chance to work with some of the up-and-coming Japanese groms during the junior and relay races. They even got an early morning surf session in with some locals of Okinawa in the days following the event.

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465

A special thank you to Takashi Utsumi who manages SIC Maui via BIC Sport Japan. Without his help with equipment and athletes this great weekend would not have been possible. Mahalo and arigato gozaimashita Utsumi san.

Photo courtesy of Nomi-465 / Facebook Nommy-465 photography / Instagram nommy_465

Team SIC is headed to Europe for the Euro Tour next. Be sure to check back soon for Team SIC event recaps.