DESPITE not competing overseas since 2018, Aaron Rowe’s return to the stand up paddle arena ended in victory.
The Islander placed first overall and topped every heat he surfed in at the 2023 GB Stand Up Paddle Championships in Newquay.
Having injured his shoulder a few years ago, Rowe decided to take a step back from the sport to focus on his rehabilitation.
Surgery on the shoulder might still be pending, but the Caesarean’s comeback was ‘just like riding a bike’ as he cruised into the winners enclosure.
He said: ‘Winning was definitely the main goal entering the event.
‘Having not gone away to compete since 2018, that feeling of putting on a competition vest again was a really nice feeling.
‘I am still awaiting surgery on the injured shoulder, so I wasn’t sure if it would hold up on the day.
‘Fortunately it did and all the strengthening work in the gym really helped me throughout the contest.’
Flat calm conditions for six weeks in Jersey did not aid Rowe in his preparations, but on the day the waves were perfect at Fistral Beach, offering him the ideal canvas to showcase his skills.
‘We couldn’t have asked for better conditions really,’ he said. ‘Preparations were slightly hampered by the calm conditions in Jersey, but fortunately for the event, they were great.
‘I was up about 5.30am on the day of the event. To have those butterflies back in anticipation for competition is a feeling I have really missed and to get them back was great.
‘My wave selection was great all the way through the contest. That led to some really consistent scores and ultimately to the overall win.’
With Rowe’s electric return to stand up paddle, his attentions now turn to representing Team GB at the European and World Championships later this year.
He said: ‘I haven’t been involved on the world stage since I got injured.
‘Now I have dipped my toes back into the competitive side of the sport, I am very hungry to take the stage with the world’s best once again.’