It's World Championship time! Normally we see all the titles wrap up earlier in the year but across the board the title fights came down to the wire with some thrilling finishes determining just who got the title.(pictured Iballa Moreno)

World Champion Candice Appleby

The title of "World Champ" comes with a little confusion in some of the paddle sports. With the relative youth of the sport there is still some haggling over just who is the governing body that gets to bestow the "World Title". With the ISA running the country-based format and the APP World Tour running an open professional format we'll let you decide who is your champion and then we'll pick ours. 

All in all, it was a pretty special year. We have to say the performance Candice Appleby (pictured at right) put in last year has left us awe struck. To see one of the original originals of our sport powering on a decade later and taking it to what is one impressive array of ever-growing female talent is monumental. . 

worl champion ryan funkIn the future is bright department the USA is doing something right. In Australia the paddle sports are run like our little league baseball programs are here in America. It's hard to see how a scrappy group of Americans would even have a chance against this perennial powerhouse. In fact Australia has won the ISA World Championships 6 out of the 7 times it has been held. That's what makes USA's Ryan Funk (pictured at right) and Jade Howson's Gold Medal performances all that much more impressive. 

On the bridesmaid side of things we have to say actually that Connor Baxter had an incredible year. With quite a few second-place finishes across the various events Connor's name doesn't show up above. With that said if you backed up and looked at every event, across the whole year, you would have a good argument that Connor just may be the World's best all around paddler.

When it comes to laying down on the job USA's Hunter Pflueger has shown he is now among the world's elite. In Australia prone paddling is almost as big as bicycling. Ok ,so maybe a little exaggeration but not much.  In fact, we are ashamed to admint we would have had our money on Austraila's Lachie Lansdown.  Hunter Pflueger (pictured below) simply scorched us both. Not only did he win the distance race by over 1 minute in front of Lachie he also came in a tight second in the technical race with only 3 seconds separating him from the Aussie superstar. Nice work Hunter!

world champ hunter pflueger

Lasltly if you don't know the name Iballa Moreno allow us to introduce you. Iballa is multi time windsurifng world champion and all around waterman. Her story, and that of her twin sister is Daida, is both impressive and inspirational. Take a second to read about the Moreno Twins here.  Pictured below Iballa can do this with, our with out a sail. 

world champ iballa moreno

Paddle World Titles for 2018

APP World Tour Racing Men - Arthur Arutkin (FRA)
APP World Tour Racing Women - Shae Foudy (USA) 
APP World Tour Surf Men - Sean Poynter (USA)
APP World Tour Surf Women - Iballa Moreno (SPA)
ISA Distance Racing Men - Michael Booth (AUS)
ISA Distance Racing Women - Olivia Piana (FRA)
ISA Technical Racing Men - Daniel Hasulyo (HUN) 
ISA Technical Racing Women - Candice Appleby (USA)
ISA Overall Team World Champions - Australia
ISA Sprint Racing Men - Arhtur Carvalho (BRA)
ISA Sprint Racing Women - Amandin Chazot (FRA)
ISA Prone Paddle Men - Hunter Pflueger (USA)
ISA Prone Paddle Women - Grace Rosato (BRA)
ISA Prone Technical Paddle Men - Lachie Lansdown (AUS)
ISA Prone Technical Paddle Women - Grace Rosato (BRA)
ISA Surf Women - Shakira Westdorp (AUS)
ISA Surf Men - Sean Poynter (USA)
ISA Technical Racing Junior Men - Ryan Funk (USA)
ISA Technical Racing Junior Women - Jade Howson (USA)

With all that said our pick to 2018 Paddlers of the year is based not only on these performances but also those at the local level. We look across APP and ISA and integrate these to formulate our paddlers of the year  

world champ michael booth

Men - Michael Booth (AUS)

Women - Candice Appleby (USA)

These two performed not only on the world stage but also in local and regional events. Michael (pictured at right) even threw down some top 5 surfski performances in his free time. Candice just continues to be a source of inspiration for many and she is on her way to GOAT status if she keeps whoopin' up on these upoming youngins.

We look forward to another year of competition but for now it's time to focus on playing. The season kicks back up in gear at the end of March with the Santa Cruz Paddlefest getting things rolling. See you there. 


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