Baxter and Lafenetre win final golds of ICF SUP World Titles

American Connor Baxter won his second world title for the weekend and Frenchwoman Melanie Lafenetre won her first ever ICF crown as the International Canoe Federation Stand Up Paddling World Championships came to an end in Gdynia, Poland, on Sunday.

Baxter added the men’s technical gold medal to the sprint gold he won on Friday, winning a controversial final which saw Italian Claudio Nika disqualified after he fell and dragged Frenchman Noic Garioud, the defending champion, from his board. Both paddlers were part of a lead group at the time.

Baxter had to outsprint Frenchman Titouan Puyo on the final stretch, and was ecstatic to win two titles in Gdynia after not winning any gold at last year’s world titles in Hungary.

“It’s crazy how visualization can come to life, I’ve been training so hard, so much time and sacrifice go into these kind of events,” Baxter said.

“To come here with one thing on my mind, to win, and just focusing on sprint and technical and to go home with two gold medals, baby.

“Going into the race I told myself it doesn’t matter, don’t give up until I cross that finish line. This just fuels the fire, now I’ll have a bunch of hungry guys chasing me into next year.”

Puyo finished a clear second, with Japan’s Rai Taguchi third.

Lafenetre also had to survive a frenetic finish to claim her first world title, reeling in leader Duna Gordillo of Spain at the final turn to set up an epic finish. The two paddlers were neck-and-neck with 100 metres to go, but when Gordillo lost her balance and tumbled from her board, the gold was Lafenetre.

“At the turn I knew I was in second and I had nothing to lose,” Lafenetre said.

“I’m just so happy I could keep it together until the end. I’m so excited to be a world champion.”

Denmark’s Caroline Kuntzel overtook Gordillo to take the silver, with the Israele eventually crossing in third place.

In junior races, Italy’s Cecilia Pampinella won her third good medal for the weekend in the women’s technical, while Spain’s Sergio Cantoral won the men’s gold.


BAXTER Connor   (USA) 5:17.40
PUYO Titouan      (FRA)  5:19.65
TAGUCHI Rai        (JPN)  5:21.38

LAFENETRE Melanie  (FRA)  5:56.16
KUNTZEL Caroline      (DEN) 6:02.19
GORDILLO Duna          (ESP)  6:10.78