Starboard Announces 2023 Dream Team
After several years of hiatus and disruptions to paddleboarding events around the globe that were onset by the pandemic, the 2023 season is looking set to be a big year for the sport as things ‘normalize’, with many classic events being re-invigorated while some exciting new developments with the likes of the ICF World Tour and many more.
Paddleboarders from around the globe are more motivated than ever to get back onto the water with friends to enjoy the exhilaration and satisfaction SUP competition brings all of us. The Dream Team are no different and also feel the urge to get out there — supercharged for the biggest and most exciting SUP season we’ve seen in years.
Without further delay, we are proud to present the 2023 Starboard SUP Dream Team:
Surf, Foil, Wingfoil, Big Wave
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer is a multi-sport World Champion waterman who is fueled daily by his enthusiasm for the ocean and life. Born on the island of Maui in a family of watersports royalty, Zane has followed in their footsteps innovating and pioneering the new evolution of Watersports including Performance SUP Surfing, Foilsurfing, Wingfoiling and Big Wave Surfing. In addition to his career as a professional waterman, Schweitzer takes pride in being an ambassador for the ocean for future generations.
“I grew up surfing and chasing waves and wind, and I feel so lucky to be able to make a career out of something I love,” says Schweitzer. “But it’s not just about surfing and windsurfing for me, it’s also about giving back to the ocean and making sure we protect it for future generations. With my relentless pursuit of dreams, experience and success, I want to uplift the people and my environment around me.”
Some of Zane’s notable achievements include; 2x Ultimate Waterman (8 Sport Ocean Competition), ISA World Champion (SUP Surf), IWT Big Wave World Champion (Windsurf), 7x APP World Tour Event Champion (SUP), 5x Master Of The Ocean (4 Sport Ocean Competition).
Born and raised in the water, Connor has tried almost every water sport and found his passion in stand-up paddling. He has been competing around the world for the last 14 years taking out of some of the biggest names in the sport. Now 28 years old and is at the top of his game with over 9 world titles. In 2022 alone he won 2 world titles at the ICF SUP World Championships taking home Gold in both the technical and sprint division, 1 World Title victory at the ISA World Championships, and claimed his 4th overall world title on the APP World Tour. Connor is just getting started…
“I have been with starboard since 5 years old back in the windsurfing days and ever since then, starboard has been family. Between innovation and quality, Starboard has pushed the limits of what’s possible. If you want to be the best you have to ride the best. This year I have my eyes set on the 2023 Pan American Games which is the second-largest sporting event in the world down in Chile. Plus the ICF in Thailand will be another massive event to be at and finally defending my world title on the APP world tour. Can’t wait to be on the road traveling doing what I love.”
Race, Surf, Foil, Wingfoil
Fiona Wylde is one of the most decorated water woman in the world, always competing in multiple sports and multiple disciplines within each sport. From a young age, she has dominated the international scene in both windsurfing and stand-up paddling. At 17 years old she won the PWA Junior Women’s Wave Sailing World Title. Fiona’s professional life was taking off when she won the Breakthrough Performer award at the 2014 SUP Awards and was ranked #5 in the inaugural SUP Racer World rankings. She was on the upwards tack to be the absolute best in her sports, both windsurfing and stand-up paddling. At the start of 2015, her first year as a sponsored athlete racing professional, Fiona Wylde was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
“Starboard is the idyllic company for me to work towards my goals. Not only does Starboard have the best equipment for me to compete in a variety of sports, but the positivity my teammates, my work colleagues, and my bosses bring to the forefront of sports evolution, is second to none. We truly have the strongest team, both on and off the water, and I am proud to be a part of it!
2023 is going to be a big year for me. I was injured for the first time in my career in 2022. This meant that I didn’t compete in a single Stand UP Paddle Race, and only one Wing Foil Event. I am starting from the bottom in terms of strength, but already I am confident that I will be able to gain back my strength and become stronger, not just physically, but mentally too for the season ahead. I will be competing in SUP Racing and a variety of Wing Foiling disciplines in the upcoming season.”
Michael is a 6 x World Champion in the sport of SUP but also has a pedigree in many other watersports. He has represented his country at the highest level in Surf Life Saving, Sprint Kayaking, Ocean Ski, and SUP. Michael is also a professional coach with his successful online and in-person coaching business BOOTH Training.
Standing on a board for the first time in 2014 Michael took the sport by storm winning his first World Title in 2016 in Fiji (ISA). He has always spent a lot of time in the water and in the ocean and was able to transfer those skills successfully to become one of the best stand-up racers ever. Focusing on the Distance element Michael is consistently at the top of the podium.
“From the beginning, Starboard was the brand with which I wanted to be partnered. They are constantly pushing the envelope of what is possible with technology and design. Starboard creates winners and I’m fortunate to be one of them. Can’t wait for another amazing year of competition, coaching, and design with the best brand in the sport.
The upcoming 2023 season will see me racing more in Europe and America, more camps and clinics, and just having fun on the water. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen. I’m hungrier than ever!”
Surf, Longboard, Prone Longboard, Foil, Wingfoil
Benoit Carpentier is a professional water athlete from Brittany, France. At age 26, Ben has been on the APP World Tour for more than ten years chasing world titles, claiming his first World Title victory last year at the Gran Canaria Pro-Am in Spain. Ben now holds several French and European titles in SUP Surfing & Longboarding and Prone Longboarding in addition to his APP & ISA stand-up paddle surf world titles.
“Starboard is the best SUP brand in the world and I’m so happy to have been chosen by them years ago and to now have the opportunity to work with them. 2023 is looking intense and exciting with many big events on the map and my titles to defend!”
Espe was born in Galicia, Spain into a family closely linked to the sea, taking part in a multitude of watersports including windsurfing, sailing, surfing & more. From a very young age, the world of sailing competition led her to have a special connection with the ocean — and to respect it. Espe’s deep connection with the ocean ultimately saw her move to Fuerteventura in 2013, looking for new experiences. It was here in 2018 she caught her first wave in SUP with the help of Iballa Ruano — and instantly fell in love with the sport. Only 2 years later in 2019, Espe won the first world event.
That was just the beginning, the Spaniard has since racked up ISA World Championship titles, and an ICF World Championship title and is the current European Champion.
“I feel admiration for the Dream Team, we are all so different but with something in common: We love SUP and we infinitely respect the ocean. I am really happy to be part of this! This added to Starboard’s winning boards & paddles make my dream possible.
My main goal for 2023 is to continue enjoying my SUP journey and working towards more world title medals.”
Arguably one of the most exciting paddlers to burst onto the SUP race scene, Noïc announced his arrival by winning the Gorge when he was only 16. Today he is one of the best paddlers and the marked man to beat on any startline he appears on.
Now 20 years old, the New Caledonian is a 2 x ICF SUP World Champion (Sprint & Technical) and has racked up many more prestigious titles. Unfortunately, Noïc suffered a knee injury last year whilst surfing and required surgery, which put him out for much of the 2022 season. As the talented racer recovers from injury, we know he will be hungrier than ever to take back his world titles in 2023.
Daniel is a world champion SUP racer, and has dominated many ultra-distance events over years, while also playing a key role in the R&D of our race boards and paddles that we all enjoy every day. One of the most hard-working & influential athletes of our times, Daniel has proven multiple times to be an outstanding ambassador of the sport of Stand Up Paddling and to be at the heart of the growth of the industry from every aspect. Professional high performance, coaching, event organization, speaking engagements, and sports diplomatic roles are all on his daily agenda while pursuing the dream of “Living the Tiki Life” and rooting his family in his passion.
“After close to 2 decades of cooperation, the growth of a colorful sport that allowed me, and many of my close friends to grow as a family, I can say, that I am a Dream Team rider that not only competes but is also deeply proud and dedicated to the creation of the best and fastest race SUP boards in the world. I feel that it is my mission to spread the same stoke that lit my fire among the communities of South East Asia for the love of the elements and keep living the search of infinite adventures and the joy of discovering new experiences.
This year is looking set to be one of the most exciting years of my life – I feel truly fueled up. There is a clash of generations, and a lot of motivation to succeed and I believe we have the best equipment we have ever created. The ICF World Champs in Pattaya will be where I am most comfortable; beautiful, hot, and humid Thailand. This race will be my biggest priority to build around. My focus will be on all major Asian Races, the APP World Tour, and the two ICF and ISA World Championships. In terms of goals for 2023, my vision is very clear. I want to win the ICF World Title and will do everything it takes to succeed.”
Bart de Zwart
Ultra-Marathon, Expedition, Team Manager
Bart de Zwart, also called Mr. Endurance is known for his ultra-distance paddling, crossings, and expeditions all over the world. Since 2017 Bart has been the team manager for the Starboard Dream Team.
He has been in the water all his life, first windsurfing, and sailing, then owning windsurf centers in Greece, Venezuela, and Maui. The Dutch waterman has been part of the Starboard dream team since 2010. He always had a passion for long-distance racing on a SUP and participated in the first 11 City Tour in 2009, and from then he was hooked and won the year after, and has since racked up 4 wins in total. He has won almost any SUP ultra-distance race there is. In 2018 he won the SUP category of the Yukon 1000, the world’s longest paddle race – 1000 miles through the wilderness of Canada and Alaska.
Bart and his wife live in Maui but are currently sailing around the world while taking guests on a trip on their sailing catamaran, Discovery.
4-time winner 11-City tour
4-time winner of Yukon River Quest
Winner world’s longest the Yukon 1000 (miles)
SUP Expeditions in the Arctic, Africa, Nepal, Ethiopia, Marquesas, Vanuatu
Former 24hr Distance world record holder
Solo nonstop Crossings: Hawaiian Island chain, North Sea, French Polynesia
Race, Foil, Wingfoil
Growing up in the island waters of New Caledonia, Clément Colmas is a world-class athlete and excels in a multitude of watersports. After competing for many years at a high level in SUP racing, Clement is now turning focusing on wing foil racing and other forms of foiling. He is one of the first big wave wing foil rider and downwind foiler.
“I choose to ride with Starboard to have the best equipment to optimize my performance. We really care about improving the products every year, it’s why I love the working with the design to create the most innovative products.
For 2023 I will be focusing on the wing foil world tour but I will also get myself ready for the SUP ICF SUP World Championship in Pattaya later this year!”
With decades of expeditions spanning the globe – from Africa to Arabia, from Mount Everest to the high Arctic – Canadian adventurer Bruce Kirkby brings a wealth of wilderness experience to the Starboard Dream Team.
Growing up in Toronto and graduating in Engineering Physics may seem like an unlikely start for a world adventurer, but by the age of 20, Bruce had already chosen the road less traveled. Guiding rafts in the Yukon and sea kayaks in the Caribbean led to more challenging expeditions. Bruce has crossed Iceland by foot, descended Ethiopia’s Blue Nile by raft, traversed Borneo’s north coast by sea kayak, and crossed the Empty Quarter by camel. Along the way, he established himself as a world-class photographer and writer (National Geographic, NYT, Outside) with three best-selling books.
Ten years ago, on a whim, Bruce ordered an inflatable SUP, which arrived on his doorstep in cardboard box. Less than a month later he paddled from Vancouver to Victoria – a five-day, 155-km journey that changed his life. And he’s never looked back. Today, Bruce continues to relentlessly push the limits of what is considered possible on a paddleboard. His journeys include traversing the outer coast of Vancouver Island, following an ancient coastal Grease Trails through British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, and rounding the capricious headlands of Cape Scott, Brooks Peninsula, and Cape Caution.
“2023 is lining up to be absolutely incredible, the brand-new 14×29.5 Sprint Expedition is being released, and I’m so stoked. I’ve worked alongside the Starboard design team on this concept for 4 years. It’s turned out absolutely amazing. And it is going to revolutionize expedition paddling.
My first priority with the new board is top-secret mission. I’m a bit superstitious, so I won’t share any details until it’s in the bag… but it’s a mind bender.”
Born into a family of windsurfers, in the northeast of Italy, Caterina grew up between the mountains and the sea, starting windsurfing in the waves with her parents and older brother. From the age of sixteen she moved to Gran Canaria to train more in windsurf. Since then the ocean took her heart away and started competing internationally in the PWA Windsurf World Tour and in the international SUP races. She placed 6th in the overall PWA Windsurf World ranking in 2019 and started SUP when there was not enough wind to windsurf.
Caterina now does more SUP than windsurf and she is now doing competitions in SUP racing all over the world. Besides that, she started running and competing there as well with team Salomon. A new kind of adrenaline that keeps her fit and motivated.
“Starboard makes not only the best boards on the market, but have a great team of riders and people working on the research and development of the boards. The team spirit I feel in Starboard is what makes the travels and races special to me. Starboard is a brand that cares about the environment and pays attention to the carbon footprint of the brand and the athletes, and this makes it a brand I admire and am proud of being part of.
You will find me competing at the big races on the Eurotour, at a few ICF World Cups and then I will preparing to achieve top results at the ICF SUP World Champs in Thailand later this year. I also plan to enjoy some local races to engage and invigorate my local SUP community.”
Alba Alonso Frey – probably a name you haven’t heard before… but will be one you will not miss in the 2023 season. Alba is a nautic engineer from Fuerteventura and is closely linked to the ocean. From an early age, she was involved with sailing, going through different disciplines, until she discovered one of her great passions; windsurfing.
In 2020 she started to stand up paddle, combining her time in the water between the SUP race and SUP surfing disciplines. In the middle of 2022, she decided to focus on the sup race and begins training to face what will be her first competition season. with only 6 months of preparation, she achieved incredible results, such as the canary islands beach race championship or the Spanish championship in the sprints 1,000-meter distance, as well as being called up to be part of the Spanish team for the ISA surfing World Cups in Puerto Rico 2022. And most recently, winning the sprint races in APP Alicante Pro-Am on her debut on the app world tour and second overall.
In addition to her great physical power, Alba stands out for her professionalism and discipline, both in and out of the water. In a very short time, she has become one of the greatest Spanish athletes in the race discipline, although she is also very good at sup surf, surf foil and wing foil athletes. A true water woman.
2023 is going to be a great season for this young rider!
From Boxholm, Sweden, Linus is born and raised in a competitive family that spent all their time traveling around, competing in different sports, no matter the time of the year! He did his first ever race at just a few years old, standing on a pair of XC-skis, and since then he never thought about looking back. Sports and competition was a part of his DNA. After chasing big dreams and goals in the sport of motocross for the majority of his life, things took quick turn when he tried SUP for the first time back in 2019.
Now after just two full years in the sport, Linus has already managed to grab four gold medals at the Swedish SUP Championships (9 medals in total), and a top ten finish at the ICF SUP World Champions in Gdynia.
“My goal is to become a world champion in the future. To be the best you need to be surrounded by people that inspire you, as well having the best equipment! In my opinion Starboard is the best team out there and I’m so stoked to join the Dream team!
My main goal for 2023 will be to keep gaining experience and to establish myself inside the top ten at the world rankings. The races I’m focusing on is ICF Worlds in Thailand & the main Euro Tour stops.”
We’re excited to have the wave ripper from Japan on the Dream Team for another season. Riki is a professional shortboard & SUP surfer and has been the Japanese SUP Surf Champion for several years.
When he’s not ripping in the water, he takes time to spread the stoke of SUP in his local communities at events and also runs a surf school with his family.
Cameron Tripney exploded onto the SUP scene when he destroyed the field in 200m Juniors Sprints at ICF Worlds in September last year. Growing up in the ocean waters of Melkbossrand, just outside Cape Town Cam started paddleboarding on a customised 7’ wave board at the age of 7, and after 2 years started racing in the main open SUP events at only 9 years old – no matter the how challenging the conditions.
Fast forward a few years and since then, Cameron has been unbeaten at the national level in all inland racing and is the current SA Champ. He holds the no. 1 spot in Junior & Open Men for both Distance & Technical Race.
Achieving Dream Team status has been a lifelong goal and he has big plans for the year ahead;
“Growing up and watching the dream team riders chasing world titles and winning multiple events just shows the pure dominance the riders have within this brand. There’s always more to a brand other than its equipment like starboard and that’s the people that create a family-like bond and is always something I look for when joining a team.
I am excited for the season ahead, where I hope to compete at the highest level while I balance being an athlete with my studies”