Standup paddling’s greatest athletes, philanthropists and filmmakers came together for a historic night with SUP magazine at the 2014 SUP Awards presented by Tommy Bahama. With hundreds of guests gathered at the Casino in San Clemente, Calif., SUP magazine honored the sport’s best.
Returning hosts Sam George and Dave Boehne passed out the hardware as Florida’s Izzi Gomez received top honor as Female Paddler of the Year, while Connor Baxter of Maui was awarded Male Paddler of the Year.
“I’m so grateful to share this sport with all of you,” Gomez said. ”It means a lot.”
“I’m so stoked to be in the situation I am,” said Baxter of being on top of the paddling world.
Also honored for their athletic achievements were Nicole Pacelli and Annabel Anderson, who were voted second and third in the women’s category, as well as Maui’s Kai Lenny and Caio Vaz of Brazil, who came in second and third respectively on the men’s side.
“I’m super honored,” Pacelli said.
“I’m excited to be here tonight,” Lenny said. “Without the support of everyone in this sport I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Acknowledging the outstanding young guns breaking into the sport, Fiona Wylde was awarded Female Breakthrough Performance of the Year for her big win in Santa Cruz at the Surftech Shootout, her second place finish at the Payette River Games and her performance in Hood River where she ended third, while Travis Baptiste took home Male Breakthrough Performance of the Year for his incredible performance at July’s Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships where he ended 5th overall, despite paddling a 14-foot board in the stock class.
“This entire group…You all inspire me,” Wylde said.
“This means a lot to me,” said an overwhelmed Baptiste.
Recognizing her impressive world championship win at the Molokai 2 Oahu, Germany’s Sonni Hönscheid was awarded Female Performance of the Year, alongside 2014 Male Paddler of the Year, Connor Baxter, who was honored with Male Performance of the Year for his win, also in the Molokai 2 Oahu.
“I want to thank everyone for this award,” Hönscheid said. “This is so awesome!”
Will Schmidt’s long distance paddle from Canada to Mexico took home the Top Expedition award, while Paddle Second Chance was named Top Philanthropic Effort for its relentless commitment to serving wounded veterans and helping them transition back into civilian life. Filmmaker Brent Deal’s “H2MexicO” was also awarded, taking Movie of the Year.
“This is crazy, right?!” said Schmidt. “How great is it to be the first, to pioneer something and raise the bar?…I’m here today because standup paddling saved my life.”
The room filled with excitement as legendary surfer Mickey Munoz was presented with the SUP Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award for his tremendous impact on the sport. Munoz’s unwavering efforts in supporting the progression of standup paddling are unmatched, as he played a key role in the pioneering and promotion of the sport. Some of his longboard designs were the first to be used for standup paddling when the sport was in its infancy. The 2014 SUP Awards featured an amazing array of talent and was a memorable night for standup paddling.
“Everybody that’s been up here tonight is why I’m doing this,” said Munoz. “It’s really about the people—I love you guys.”