Published on August 28th, 2022 | by Paddleworld
Americans April Zilg and Connor Baxter have won two stand up paddling gold medals on a busy Saturday at the ICF SUP World Cup in Oklahoma City, as both athletes strive for automatic qualification for next month’s world championships in Poland.
Zilg and Baxter started as red hot favourites in the hot Oklahoma conditions and led throughout to take the gold medals in both the sprint and the technical races.
Baxter, the 2019 ICF SUP sprint world champion, finished the sprint ahead of Hungary’s Daniel Hasulyo, with fellow American Jake Portwood third.
“At the end of the day I have a tendency just to paddle as hard as I need to, so I went in with that mindset,” Baxter said.
“We have a huge weekend, so I just wanted to stay in front, I saw I was in a comfortable lead, so I could take it down a level and save some energy for the technical and the distance race.
“It’s great to be the first. Daniel, myself – we’re going to be stamping our names on something that could potentially be huge in the next couple of years.”
Baxter finished ahead of Portwood and Brazil’s Eri Tenorio in the technical final held under the Oklahoma River lights.
Zilg is also hoping to accumulate enough points from the sprint, technical and long distance races in Oklahoma this weekend to earn her ticket for next month’s ICF world championships in Gdynia. She sits in the box seat on Saturday night after winning the sprint and technical finals.
“I like to hit the ground running,” Zilg said.
“It felt great. It’s always a good sign coming off the Vaá World Championships a couple of weeks ago, a lot of travel, you never know how fatigued your body is going to be or how you are going to respond.”
Americans Katniss Paris and Kimberly Barnes filled the minor placings in the sprint, while in the technical final it was Argentina’s Juliette Duhaime and Barnes who chased Zilg home.