Spring SUP Season Brings Top Athletes to N.C.
Featuring one of the toughest, technically elite courses in the world, the Fourth Annual Carolina Cup is expected to attract more than 700 paddlers to Wrightsville Beach, April 23 – 27.
Catering to a roster of SUP professionals, the Carolina Cup is the first large international race after the winter hiatus, offering professionals and amateurs an opportunity to compete in multiple divisions on SUP boards, outrigger canoes, ocean kayaks, surf skis and traditional, prone paddleboards.
Hosted by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club, the Carolina Cup was one of only two must-attend standup paddleboard races named by Outside Magazine in its March 2014 race guide. The Carolina Cup is a World Paddle Association sanctioned race.
Three-time elite division men’s winner Danny Ching, and 2013 elite division women’s winner Annabel Anderson will defend their titles during the 12.5-mile Graveyard race, during which paddlers circumnavigate Wrightsville Beach and interior Harbor Island.
The demanding Graveyard race begins with an oceanfront start, and takes competitors through surf, traversing two deepwater inlets, navigating tidal currents over flatwater, and surfing to the finish line.
“I’ve paddled the Molokai channel five times and I’ve never been in as much pain as I was after this race,” said 2013’s second-place finisher Jenny Kalmbach.
Versatility will win the race, predicts race co-founder and organizer John Beausang:
“This race requires skill in every discipline of standup paddleboarding: ability to read water, paddle in the open ocean, surf a race board, and achieve speed during flatwater portions,” Beausang said.
Endurance will win the 6-mile Money Island open race, the 3.5-mile Harbor Island recreational race, and the Kids’ race on Sunday, April 27. Throughout the weekend, registrants and the general public may demo boards and paddles, as well as browse the water expo.
“The entire weekend is a big family reunion—reconnecting with friends made during last year’s race season, and planning where to meet up again in 2014,” Beausang said. “We work hard to put southern hospitality into this paddle race, making it a fun event where regular paddlers can rub elbows with the pros, and everyone can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.”
Events leading up to race day include:
Danny Ching: Advanced stroke development and analysis
Dan Gavere: Beginner clinic
Jenny Kalmbach: Women's race clinic
Jamie Mitchell: Prone paddling
Lazy Dog Paddle Yoga: Teacher Training
Bailey Rosen: SUP kids clinic: racers 14 and under
Jimmy Terrell with Jamie Mitchell or Larry Cain: Advanced paddling techniques
Legendary paddle surfer Dave Kalama will address athletes during the pre-race dinner Friday night, April 24.
Every year the Carolina Cup has a charity component. In 2014, The Carolina Cup will be donating a portion of the race proceeds to The Ocean of Hope (O2H), which raises money for the Sarcoma Alliance. This organization assists patients diagnosed with sarcoma cancers with the end goal of earlier detection and treatment. Many patients diagnosed with sarcoma cancers are children and adolescents. Earlier treatment reduces risk of amputation and premature death.
All Carolina Cup races begin and end at Blockade Runner Beach Resort, host hotel. Clinics, demos and the water expo will be held on-site.
The Carolina Cup
Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club
Jarrod Covington, Chairman and Race Director
Wrightsville Beach Biathlon