Skilled paddlers consider this race as one of the most elite competitions on the East Coast of the United States. This famous race is known as the 6th Annual West Marine Carolina Cup and is soon to be presented from April 19, 2016 through April 24, 2016 by Surftech. Surf tech is quite in tune with the world of water sports as the company is a huge surfboard manufacturer.
Over 800 paddlers will convene at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort located on Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. What signifies the major importance of this race is its place in the SUP race circuit which is first stop. Paddlers within the racing community sometimes refer to this competition as ‘The Graveyard Race.’ It is a tough race in which paddlers encounter a variety of conditions, sometimes rough surf and other times extremely flat seas. There is the chance that wind will pick up or there will be inlet currents. Paddlers must master all these conditions.
Travis Grant of Australia, the 2015 male champion of this 13.5 mile race, is set to compete again this year. Joining him will be racers representing as many as 20 different countries such as New Zealand, France, Canada, Spain, Mexico and fellow Australians. Also ready to compete again will be 3-time winner, Danny Ching, ranked number three in the world, from Hermosa Beach, California. There will be three particular races kicking off the event— the 3.5-mile Harbor Island race, 6-mile Money Island race, and 13.5-mile Graveyard race. Competitors include Olympians, world-record holders, and champions in the disciplines of standup, prone, surfski, and outrigger canoe paddling.
A new addition to the races this year will be the six-man Hawaiian outrigger canoes (OC-6) which will take center stage and compete at noon on Sunday, April 24. Outrigger competitors are set to paddle Bradley Lightning canoes, commissioned by Reggie Barnes of Eastern Surf and Skate Supply .
“We believe this is the first ever OC-6 race in Wrightsville Beach,” said Mark Schmidt, Carolina Cup race director. “One of the things we try to do with the race each year is to make it more inclusive to all of the different watercraft.”
Outrigger designer Johnny Puakea, Danny Ching’s paddle coach and founder of Puakea Designs, will teach an outrigger clinic during the Carolina Cup giving paddlers the chance to learn from one of the top pros in the industry.
There will be other things to see and do over the course of the five days. Other clinics and demonstrations scheduled throughout the five-day event will feature many of the top paddle experts in the paddle world, including Larry Cain, Travis Grant, Lina Augaitis, Dan Gavere, Dr. Bob Arnot, Fiona Wylde, and Zane Schweitzer.
Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to try boards, canoes, and a variety of equipment at the Demo Zone. Sixty vendors will have the latest equipment, boards, and boats on display. Zone sponsor Carolina Paddleboard Company will feature a rare, unlimited, six-man outrigger canoe from Puakea Designs.
You just couldn’t ask for a better venue as it all takes place on the beach with not a bad seat in the house.
The West Marine Carolina Cup presented by Surftech is organized by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club and sanctioned by the World Paddle Association. Organizers expect over 1,000 registrations for races and clinics in 2016. The most uplifting part of the whole race has to do with giving. A portion of the event proceeds The Ocean of Hope, a team of paddlers dedicated to the sea of people affected by cancer, a dreaded disease.
So don’t wait any longer. Visit The Carolina Cup website and plan your vacation around this exciting water sports race. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, is the place where winners are born.