Connor Baxter said that he visualised winning his title wins prior to the competition ©ICF/Georgia Schofield

International Canoe Federation (ICF) President Thomas Konietzko praised the growth of the Stand Up Paddling (SUP) World Championships following the conclusion of competition today in Poland.

Four days of competition in Gydnia saw both new names and established stars crowned champions in their respective disciplines, leading Konietzko to proclaim that the future of the sport was in safe hands.

"This year’s World Championships provided several challenges, not least the terrible weather which forced us to delay the start of the long-distance races," Konietzko said.

"When you hold an event as big as a World Championships, there will always be lessons to be learned. 

"But the fantastic feedback we are getting from athletes and officials gives us confidence that we are continuing to play a major role in the growth of SUP.

"And seeing all these athletes from different paddling disciplines taking part in Gdynia shows how truly global stand up paddling is as a sport. 

"The continued growth of inflatable boards is making SUP more accessible, and I predict next year’s world titles will be even bigger than this year."

Among the athletes to enjoy a successful Championships was Connor Baxter of the United States.

The 27-year-old had a point to prove this year after falling short at last year's edition in Hungary.

However, this time around he put things right by first securing the men's sprint title on Friday (September 9) and then the technical gold medal today in Poland.

After finishing in front of France's Titouan Puyo and Japan's Rai Taguchi, Baxter explained his mentality in the lead-up to the Championships.

"It's crazy how visualisation can come to life, I’ve been training so hard, so much time and sacrifice go into these kind of events," he said.

"To come here with one thing on my mind, to win, and just focusing on sprint and technical and to go home with two gold medals, baby.

"Going into the race I told myself it doesn’t matter, don’t give up until I cross that finish line.

"This just fuels the fire, now I’ll have a bunch of hungry guys chasing me into next year."