World’s Best Paddlers Face Off at Wrightsville SUP Surf Pro-Am

Photo courtesy of Wrightsville SUP Surf Pro-Am

2017 Wrightsville SUP Surf Pro-Am Recap

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – In an appetizer to the highly-anticipated 7th Annual West Marine Carolina Cup, SUP surfing took center stage in this weekend's 2017 Hobie and Salt Life SUP Surf Pro-Am in Wrightsville Beach.

Picturesque weather and fun waves set the stage for the stacked contest that drew some of the biggest names in the sport including star siblings Izzi and Giorgio Gomez, Caio Vaz, Mo Freitas, Colin McPhillips and many others. Once the final hooter sounded it was Martin Letourneur, all the way from Saint-Malo, France, who captured the coveted overall performance trophy, the Haywood Newkirk, Sr. All Waterman Award.

Despite not winning an individual event, Letourneur used two podium results to propel him to the overall crown. These results included an impressive second place showing in the Men’s Pro division and a third place effort in the Longboard Open SUP division.  Despite being thousands of miles from France, Letourneur felt right at home in the smaller swell that was on tap for the contest.

"I am very at home in these conditions," Letourneur said with a smile. "My home surf spot is always windy with small waves, so these conditions would actually be a very good day for us."

His victory did not come easily. The highly-competitive final round of the Men’s Pro division was a nail-biter right to end, with only four-tenths of a point separating the top four finishers.

Hawaii’s Mo Freitas wowed the crowd with style, grace and radical maneuvers to capture the top spot. Following Letourneur’s runner-up finish was Florida SUP surfer and model Giorgio Gomez in third, and Brazil's Caio Vaz in fourth.

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In the Women's Professional Division, Florida's Izzi Gomez bagged her third victory in a row, and also advanced to the finals of the mixed (men's and women's) longboard-style SUP division. Izzi proved why she is a 2X World Champ and put her progressive SUP surfing skills on full display.

Surfing at an equally high level this year was Lexi Alston from Dana Point, CA. At only 15 years old, Lexi took the runner-up in this year's Pro Division. Fellow Hobie team rider and North Carolina local April Zilg–known primarily for her racing prowess–rounded out the podium ahead of Florida native and Women’s Amateur division winner Kristin Moyer.

The most inspirational performance in the Women's Pro division came from the always-smiling Tanvi Jagadish. Traveling all the way from India to compete in both the SUP Surf Pro Am and next week's Carolina Cup, Tanvi held her own in the stacked finals and caught waves on a board completely new to her. Already an inspiration to women around the world, Tanvi also earned third place in the Amateur division.

New to this year's event was the traditional Glider division, where participants rode surfboards that were 10'6" and longer. Three-time world champion longboarder Colin McPhillips took the win in this new division, as well as the win in the Longboard SUP open.

Now the athletes will shift their focus to the upcoming Carolina Cup, the east coast's largest gathering of professional and amateur paddleboard athletes, and a major stop on the World Paddle Association's World SUP Tour. All races, clinics, demos, plus an expo and trade show will originate at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort, April 18-23.

Stay tuned to SUP Magazine for a full preview and live coverage of the big race.

2017 Hobie and Salt Life SUP Surf Pro-Am Results

All Waterman Award

  • Martin Letourneur (Saint-Malo, France)

Men's Pro

  1. Mo Freitas  (Oahu, Hawaii)
  2. Martin Letourneur (Saint-Malo, France)
  3. Georgio Gomez (Florida, USA)
  4. Caio Vaz (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Women's Pro

  1. Izzi Gomez (Florida, USA)
  2. Lexi Alston (California, USA)
  3. April Zilg (North Carolina, USA)
  4. Kristen Moyer (Florida, USA)
  5. Tanvi Jagadish (Mulki, India)

Longboard Open SUP

  1. Colin McPhillips (California, USA)
  2. Fisher Grant (Florida, USA)
  3. Martin Letourneur (Saint-Malo, France)
  4. Bullet Obra (Big Island, Hawaii)

Glider Open

  1. Colin McPhillips (California, USA)
  2. Georgio Gomez (California, USA)
  3. Bullet Obra (Big Island, Hawaii)
  4. Byron Kurt (California, USA)

Men's Amateur 15-49

  1. Brycen Jergnigan (North Carolina, USA)
  2. Chad Evans (North Carolina, USA)
  3. Justin Schay (South Carolina, USA)
  4. Jacob Thronburg (North Carolina, USA)

Men's Amateur 50+

  1. Haywood Newkirk (North Carolina, USA)
  2. Byron Kurt (California, USA)
  3. Randy Harris (North Carolina, USA)
  4. Rick Weeks (North Carolina, USA)

Women's Amateur

  1. Kristin Moyer (Florida, USA)
  2. Sherry Correll (Virginia, USA)
  3. Tanvi Jagadish (Mulki, India)
  4. Lexi Malone (North Carolina, USA)

Grom

  1. Saylor Emmart (North Carolina, USA)
  2. Jenna Blackburn (North Carolina, USA)
  3. Betsy Lewis (North Carolina, USA)
  4. Elle Newkirk (North Carolina, USA)

Related

Learn more about India’s only SUP star, Tanvi Jagadish.

Results from last year’s Carolina Cup.