October 31, 2015
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Team Spain Set for 2016 Worlds as Roman Frejo, Susak Molinero Win the National Titles

Stand Up Paddling national titles in Spain (3)

Roman Frejo leading the draft train ahead of Pepe Oltra at the 2015 Spanish National Titles

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One of the ISA regulars, Team Spain, has selected its squad in anticipation of the 2016 Worlds. Starboard’s Roman Frejo and Jimmy Lewis’ Susak Molinero were the big winners at the 2015 Campeonato de España de Sup y Paddleboard, aka the Spanish National Titles for SUP and Paddleboard, which was held in the picture postcard town of Baiona recently.

The event actually took place back in September, when SUP Racer was on its post-11 Cities hiatus somewhere in the Greek Islands, and I’ve been meaning to post the results ever since. So even though this is a very belated race recap, it seems like good timing now because we’ll be announcing some very interesting updates on the location of the 2016 ISA Worlds here on SUP Racer in the next few days.

Spain is usually a very consistent performer at the Worlds. They’ve always got solid talent in the SUP racing events and punch above their weight in the prone paddleboarding divisions, where they often medal. Based on the results from the National Titles, it looks like their two highest ranked athletes will be flying the flag next year: Roman is ranked world #32 and Susak, who came out of nowhere to have a very impressive summer in Europe this year, is currently ranked #20.

Assuming it’s still two guys and one girl at the Worlds next year (there’s talk it could be gender equal participation), it looks like young gun Jurgi Zulaika will get another chance to represent his nation after finishing runner-up in both the course race and distance event.

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Roman Frejo rounding the inside buoy in the lead, with Pepe Oltra and Jurgi Zulaika right on his tail

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I got this quick recap from double winner Roman Frejo, while I also found a whole bunch of great pics over on the official Facebook page.

“Spain recently celebrated its National Titles in the town of Baiona, which lies on the north-west Atlantic coast. There were two days of intense action to crown the new champions and help decide the team for the 2016 ISA World Championship.

On Saturday afternoon we raced the distance course, which was 14km long and with an incredibly scenic background behind us. It was also one of the most “complete” courses I’ve ever seen: There was flat water, upwind, sidewind, buoy turn chicanes and bumps in every direction, before finally finishing in a river in totally flat water.

Pepe Oltra was setting the early pace and led the main draft train that also featured myself, Jurgi Zulaika, Toni Marti (who only just turned 16!) and Kiko Borras. Pepe led all the way til the choppy side-bump area, where he fell and the train split. I was able to hold on to the lead til the end, with my Starboard teammate very close behind Jurgi Zulaika.

I was stoked to get the new 2016 Starboard All Star in time for the event. It’s an amazing all-round performer that handles the different conditions very well, so it really came in handy during this race. Jurgi was on the same board.

On the women’s side it was a lead pack of three fighting from start to finish, with Susak Molinero showing how quickly she has improved lately, finishing a few boards in front of the two pre-race favourites Ane Zulaika and Laura Quetglas.

On Sunday it was time for the technical race: Two laps with turns on both directions, some of which were right next to the shore.

It was a similar lead pack to the distance race, with myself, Pepe and Jurgi fighting til the end, where I was just able to hold on by a few seconds. There were lots of great battles all the way through the top 10, and it’s great to see so many paddlers in Spain starting to take SUP racing seriously.

In the women’s tech race it was the same result: Susak charged hard off the line and eventually broke free in the last upwind leg, leaving Laura and Ane to fight for the runner-up position.

So we can say that Spain has a good solid team and that we will be ready to battle for our country next year!”

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Spain stand up paddling

Laura Quetglas leading the train ahead of Susak Molinero and Ane Zulaika

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Men’s Long Distance
1st: Roman Frejo (Starboard) 1:28:15
2nd: Jurgi Zulaika (Starboard) 1:28:35
3rd: Pepe Oltra (SIC) 1:28:57

Women’s Long Distance
1st: Susak Molinero (Jimmy Lewis) 1:36:12
2nd: Ane Zulaika (Starboard) 1:36.26
3rd: Laura Quetglas (SIC) 1:36:30

Men’s Course Race
1st: Roman Frejo (Starboard) 0:25:15
2nd: Jurgi Zulaika (Starboard) 0:25:18
3rd: Pepe Oltra (SIC) 0:25:37

Women’s Course Race
1st: Susak Molinero (Jimmy Lewis) 0:27:47
2nd: Ane Zulaika (Starboard) 0:27:53
3rd: Laura Quetglas (SIC) 0:28:13

Stand Up Paddling national titles in Spain (2)

Stand Up Paddling national titles in Spain (1)

Stand Up Paddling national titles in Spain (5)