Travis Grant used his downwind skill and drafting prowess to take the 2015 Carolina Cup. Photo: Greg Panas

Travis Grant used his downwind skill and drafting prowess to take the 2015 Carolina Cup. Photo: Greg Panas

Grant, Anderson Win 2015 Carolina Cup

Travis Grant and Annabel Anderson just won the 2015 Carolina Cup, the most competitive in the race's five-year history.

“The fact that I got on top today is great,” Grant said. “I somehow had the most energy at the end of the day.”

Grant and Connor Baxter had a stranglehold on the race almost from the start, taking off in downwind conditions heading three miles north to an inlet. Defending champ—and three-time winner—Danny Ching had a rough start, falling amidst the chaos of over 200 racers taking off.

After three miles in the ocean Grant and Baxter hit the inlet with a lead but Ching reeled them in.

“We were like, ‘We're the best three, let's work together until the (final) rock wall and then it's game on,'” Grant says. “That's what we did, we worked as a team even though we’re on different teams to hold that pack of 20 hungry guys behind us.”

The trio worked their way upwind and up-current through the intracoastal waterway that slithers through Wrightsville Beach. By the time they passed the inlet side of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort they had a solid quarter-mile lead headed for the southern inlet and back into the ocean.

If the paddlers expected the same bumps they saw at the beginning of the race, they were wrong; this race is never predictable. The wind switched offshore to the west before the racers made the open ocean, minimizing glides.

When they rounded the wall into the open ocean, Grant and Ching dropped Baxter and took off for the finish line.

“We came around the corner going for the same wave, his nose dropped, mine went up,” Ching said. “And then it was the constant: I'd chase him down, he'd surf that wave away from me. I've been racing that guy for almost 12 years now and it's always been like that. I get him sometimes, sometimes he gets me. It’s a recurring theme.”

Grant won with about a 200 meter lead with Ching in second. Baxter dropped down the pack and Georges Cronsteadt of Tahiti made a big push to come in third (final race times and results to come).

Anderson smiles her way to a third Carolina Cup title. Photo: Greg Panas

Anderson smiles her way to a third Carolina Cup title. Photo: Will Taylor

Anderson once again proved that she's the woman to beat in the world's toughest races winning by a few minutes.

“Every year is different here and you don't know what you're gonna get until you show up,” Anderson said.”Fiona (Wylde) and I were neck-and-neck going into the inlet. She jumped on my tail and that was cool but it was up-current, upwind and it was like, ‘We're either going to work together to break the rest or not.’ Eventually I just broke free from her and really opened it up.”

She never looked back. This win comes even as Anderson recovers from a case of the flu.

“It’s really confidence building to be able to come out and do what you know you can do even when you're not 100 percent,” she said.

Sonni Honscheid took second and Lina Augaitis took third.

An exciting start to another exciting year. See you at the next one!


1. Travis Grant – 2:04: 42
2. Danny Ching – 2:05:37
3. Georges Cronsteadt – 2:06:31
4. Titouan Puyo – 2:06:53
5. Bicho Jimenez – 2:07:04
6. Connor Baxter -2:07:10
7. Jake Jensen – 2:07:43
8. Michael Booth – 2:08:56
9. Niuhiti Buillard – 2:09:00
10. Eric Terrien – 2:09:12
11. Beau O’Brian – 2:09:36
12. Ryan Helm – 2:10:21
13. Chase Kosterlitz – 2:10:23
14. Vinnicius Martins – 2:10:24
15. Chuck Glynn – 2:10:26
16. Zane Schweitzer – 2:10:34
17. Paul Jackson – 2:10:41
18. Kelly Margetts – 2:11:03
19. Noa Hopper – 2:11:23
20. Toby Cracknell – 2:12:59

1. Annabel Anderson – 2:21:49
2. Sonni Honscheid – 2:26:48
3. Lina Augaitis – 2:27:03
4. Terrene Black – 2:27:20
5. Angela Jackson – 2:27:30
6. Fiona Wylde – 2:27:56
7. Rachel Bruntsch – 2:32:02
8. April Zilg – 2:32:32
9. Kelsa Gabehart – 2:32:43
10. Shannon Bell – 2:33:08
11. Shae Foudy – 2:34:48
12. Shelby Taylor – 2:35:03
13. Seychelle Hattingh – 2:35:06
14. Kimberly Barnes – 2:35:28
15. Jennifer Fuller – 2:41:16
16. Joann Hamilton-Vale – 2:41:41
17. Mini Crash – 2:48:06
18. Jenny Alderman – 2:48:44
19. Milla Navarro – 2:48:53
20. Corrine Banks – 2:49:04