Surfer Holly stands up to world rivals in Mexico

Seaford College sixth-former Holly Bassett has just returned from the ISA World Stand-Up Paddlesurf and Paddleboard championship in Sayulita, Mexico, with a stunning world ranking of 16th place.

Holly Bassett in action in Mexico / Picture by Simon Bassett
Holly Bassett in action in Mexico / Picture by Simon Bassett

The International Surfing Association hosted more than 30 international teams in sunny Sayulita, who competed in surf, distance, technical and prone paddleboard disciplines.

The event attracts some of best riders in the world and the ISA are pushing hard for stand-up paddlesurfing (SUP) to be included in the Olympics.

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Bassett’s skill is riding waves – she competes against four other riders in 20-minute heats in surf conditions.

During the SUP worlds, Bassett faced challenging conditions and skilled competitors – the predominant right-direction waves were not on her favoured side and in her first heat she faced current world champion Nicole Pacelli and Waterman League Tour world champion Izzy Gomez – making her achievement of placing 16th all the more impressive.

Bassett was selected as part of Team GB representing the UK, who came 15th.

Bassett is taking her AS-levels in maths, English and business and was revising hard while in Mexico. 

She has been involved in water sports from an early age. She paddlesurfs at West Wittering beach and took the initiative to raise the funds for the trip via the Makeachamp website – and with support from many contributors raised more than £3,000 for the 12,000-mile trip to Sayulita.

She said: “I am so grateful to all the people that made it possible for me to get here to Mexico, and the experience of surfing with some of the world’s best has been amazing! I can’t wait to get back out on the water to progress even more.”

Antony Cook, Seaford College’s director of sport, added: “Holly is an amazing talent and is doing incredibly well pursuing a sport that is so up and coming in this country.”

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