Battle of the Brands: BOP-Pocalypse Edition
If you’ve checked SUP Racer any time in the past 24 hours, you couldn’t have missed the giant mushroom cloud that signaled the biggest ever change to the World Rankings. It was the BOP-pocalypse: The day when the 2014 Battle of the Paddle got dropped from the rankings database, which caused unprecedented destruction on the Top 100 and Top 50 Leaderboards.
But it wasn’t just the individual athletes that took a hit in the BOP-pocalypse, with almost all of the elite international race teams seeing their points annihilated as well.
We released the Battle of the Brands Leaderboard last week in an attempt to rank the “world’s best race teams.” Based on a virtual team relay, Battle of the Brands combines the four best performing athletes from each board brand, with space reserved for at least one guy and one girl on each team.
When the inaugural rankings came out, it was no surprise to see Team Starboard way out on top. The blue boards have a massive race team, including half a dozen of the world’s best. In fact the team is so big that 20 out of the Top 100 men identify with Starboard. That’s unheard of. The next biggest is Naish, with 10 riders in the Top 100, while most brands are scratching just to get a full team together (more than half the brands on the BoB Leaderboard are missing a team member).
But behind the mighty Starboard crew there was an interesting mix of international powerhouses and local boutique outfits.
Team SIC scooped the inaugural runner-up position, not all that far behind the Tiki boys and girls. Then came an even bigger surprise: Team Lahui Kai, with just four sponsored riders, came home third ahead of the international powerhouse that is Team Naish. Another “boutique” brand, Danny Ching’s 404 collective, rounded out the top five in what was a diverse leaderboard of manufacturers.
But now the BOP-pocalypse has changed up the rankings.
Although every single team in the Top 10 dropped points, we didn’t actually see that many brands change position. The most significant gainer was Team Naish who, thanks to the efforts of Kai Lenny and Casper Steinfath at Huntington on the weekend, weathered the BOP-pocalypse better than most and were able to jump ahead of Lahui Kai.
Team NSP also rose a couple of spots to #7. That’s quite incredible considering they only have two out of a possible four team riders. It’s even more incredible when you consider their top paddler is ranked #1 in the world and their next best is #100. The new world number one, Travis Grant, is basically carrying an entire brand on his shoulders.
We’re going to see a lot more changes to the World Rankings and Battle of the Brands this weekend, with the Pacific Paddle Games set to become the biggest race of the year. My early calculations peg the men’s race at approximately 80-83% on the Race Index, which means there will be a massive bag of points on offer for both the athletes and the teams.
Until then, here’s the latest Battle of the Brands Top 10.