Gisborne four in NZ paddleboard team

Podium finishes and medals are the mission for 12 athletes

Podium finishes and medals are the mission for 12 athletes

Four Gisborne athletes will help fly the New Zealand flag at the World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship in Denmark in September. Sean Hovell in this picture, by Cory Scott/NZ Surfing Magazine.
Sisters Jasmine (right in the picture) and Stella Smith (next picture), and Cory Taylor are in a 12-strong Kiwi team looking to improve on the country’s third overall placing at the 2016 champs in Fiji. Hovell and Stella will contest the surfing discipline, and Jasmine and Taylor, both of who are based on the Gold Coast, will compete in the prone technical paddle section. Over 30 nations are expected to take part in the champs. Picture by Ben Reed.
Stella Smith, pic by Col/Surf2Surf.com

PODIUM finishes and medals are the mission for 12 athletes named in the New Zealand team to compete at the International Surfing Association World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship in September.

Gisborne competitors make up a third of the team who will be looking to continue the country’s rise up the rankings after a fourth place overall finish in 2015 and third last year in Fiji.

The Gisborne contingent are sisters Jasmine and Stella Smith, Sean Hovell and Cory Taylor — Jasmine and Taylor being based on the Gold Coast.

This year’s host country, Denmark, could not be any further removed from the tropical island paradise but the New Zealand team will be searching for the same outstanding performances spurred on by defending champions, medallists and potent new recruits.

New Zealand will defend titles in the women’s SUP technical race through Penelope Strickland (Auckland) and men’s prone distance race through Sam Shergold (Mount Maunganui).

Strickland will also be competing in the women’s SUP distance race.

She is joined by Queenstown paddler Annabel Anderson, who has held the SUP racer No.1 ranking for several years and will be a major force in technical, distance and sprint races.

Three Australian-based athletes join the team — Trevor Tunnington,and Gisborne’s Cory Taylor and Jasmine Smith.

Tunnington will have a big workload as he competes across the SUP technical and sprint races as well as the SUP surfing discipline.

Tunnington, who returned to New Zealand in January to win the national championships, will be joined by Sean Hovell (Gisborne) in the surfing discipline.

At 15 years of age, Stella Smith is the youngest member team and will compete in the surfing discipline. She won the national title in January and has shown form that will see her rival the best in the world come September. She is joined by Kaikoura’s Lucy Te Moananui in the surfing discipline.

Stella’s older sister Jasmine is in the prone technical race. She competed at the event in 2015, where she placed fourth and received the copper medal. She returns to the team with two years extra experience, having competed against the best in Australia and will go in off the back of her first Molokai to Oahu race in Hawaii in July — an event considered the pinnacle of long distance paddling.

Another returning athlete is 17-year-old Ollie Houghton (Auckland), who last competed at the event in 2015 but had to forgo his place in the 2016 team due to school commitments. He returns to race in the SUP technical race and is joined by Marcus Hansen (Whangarei).

Taylor, a 2015 double medallist, is back in the fold to contest the prone technical race. No stranger to intense competition, Taylor is a New Zealand surf lifesaving representative who has competed in Australia’s famous Nutri-Grain ironman series.

Rounding out the team is Australia-based Jessica Miller who will contest the paddleboard distance race.

The champs are expected to attract over 30 nations, with Australia the overall defending champions.

PODIUM finishes and medals are the mission for 12 athletes named in the New Zealand team to compete at the International Surfing Association World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championship in September.

Gisborne competitors make up a third of the team who will be looking to continue the country’s rise up the rankings after a fourth place overall finish in 2015 and third last year in Fiji.

The Gisborne contingent are sisters Jasmine and Stella Smith, Sean Hovell and Cory Taylor — Jasmine and Taylor being based on the Gold Coast.

This year’s host country, Denmark, could not be any further removed from the tropical island paradise but the New Zealand team will be searching for the same outstanding performances spurred on by defending champions, medallists and potent new recruits.

New Zealand will defend titles in the women’s SUP technical race through Penelope Strickland (Auckland) and men’s prone distance race through Sam Shergold (Mount Maunganui).

Strickland will also be competing in the women’s SUP distance race.

She is joined by Queenstown paddler Annabel Anderson, who has held the SUP racer No.1 ranking for several years and will be a major force in technical, distance and sprint races.

Three Australian-based athletes join the team — Trevor Tunnington,and Gisborne’s Cory Taylor and Jasmine Smith.

Tunnington will have a big workload as he competes across the SUP technical and sprint races as well as the SUP surfing discipline.

Tunnington, who returned to New Zealand in January to win the national championships, will be joined by Sean Hovell (Gisborne) in the surfing discipline.

At 15 years of age, Stella Smith is the youngest member team and will compete in the surfing discipline. She won the national title in January and has shown form that will see her rival the best in the world come September. She is joined by Kaikoura’s Lucy Te Moananui in the surfing discipline.

Stella’s older sister Jasmine is in the prone technical race. She competed at the event in 2015, where she placed fourth and received the copper medal. She returns to the team with two years extra experience, having competed against the best in Australia and will go in off the back of her first Molokai to Oahu race in Hawaii in July — an event considered the pinnacle of long distance paddling.

Another returning athlete is 17-year-old Ollie Houghton (Auckland), who last competed at the event in 2015 but had to forgo his place in the 2016 team due to school commitments. He returns to race in the SUP technical race and is joined by Marcus Hansen (Whangarei).

Taylor, a 2015 double medallist, is back in the fold to contest the prone technical race. No stranger to intense competition, Taylor is a New Zealand surf lifesaving representative who has competed in Australia’s famous Nutri-Grain ironman series.

Rounding out the team is Australia-based Jessica Miller who will contest the paddleboard distance race.

The champs are expected to attract over 30 nations, with Australia the overall defending champions.

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