One thing that’s become very clear since I arrived in Wrightsville Beach a couple days ago: There is an insane amount of organisation going into this event.
The Carolina Cup is not a race, it’s not even an event: It’s a five-day stand up paddling festival.
Seriously, check out the Carolina Cup event flyer – it looks less like a SUP race and more like a Coachella festival guide.
Demos, expos, movie nights, clinics (oh there’s clinics…), autograph signings, SUP yoga sessions, pre-parties, after-parties, night paddles, live music… There might even be time for a couple of actual races in there. → READ MORE
Good morning Wrightsville Beach…
After more than 26 hours sitting on planes, we finally made it to Wrightsville Beach late last night. For those who are somehow unaware: Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, North Carolina is the home of the Carolina Cup. It’s basically a long, narrow, sandy island with the ocean on one side and the intercoastal on the other. From first impressions it seems like a nice sleepy little seaside town; however this weekend it’s going to fire up as hundreds of paddlers descend on the beach from all across the States and around the world. → READ MORE
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (on Mars/fingers in ears) then you’ll know the Carolina Cup is happening this Saturday in the otherwise sleepy little beachside town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Hundreds of paddlers have already started descending on the town and come Saturday we should be seeing about three dozen of the very best in the world line up for the 12.5 mile Graveyard Elite Race. Names such as Danny Ching, Annabel Anderson, Jenny Kalmbach, Travis Grant, Connor Baxter, Georges Cronsteadt, Jamie Mitchell, Lina Augaitis, Chase Kosterlitz, Slater Trout, … yeah you get the point. It’s gonna be stacked.
And while the Carolina Cup isn’t just about the elite: It’s more of a celebration of the entire sport we love and it’s whole grassroots, mass-participation vibe, where hundreds of paddlers from all skill levels converge in a bizarre, cult-like “Festival of SUP”… It’s still gonna be a race. And there’s still gonna be some tight competition. So we’re gonna have some fun predicting which elite paddlers are gonna perform better than the others. → READ MORE
Tahiti’s infamous Iron SUP race was held again on the weekend weekend. For those unfamiliar, this is an event that combines swimming, running and Stand Up Paddling (like an Ironman race but with SUP instead of bike) in what must be a fairly brutal experience. This year the triathlon-style race included a 2k swim, 3k run and 4k SUP on Friday, before following up with an 8km course race on Saturday and a 15km Distance event on Sunday.
Unsurprisingly it was Georges Cronsteadt, Tahiti’s most recognisable paddler and a guy I rate as one of the best in the world, who took out the event. Though looking through the results, Georges clearly had plenty of competition. Just check out the times in the distance race: For example Rete Ebb crossed the line only a few seconds after Georges. I’d never heard of Rete either, but turns out he’s actually Georges’ cousin and also happens to be world champion in long distance V1 racing (rudderless outrigger canoeing). Not a bad résumé.
So yeah, there’s some talent in Tahiti that’s for sure. Kinda scary to think what would happen if we all the Aussie/Hawaiian/American/European paddlers went to Tahiti for a big race (hint: most of us would get seriously smoked). It’s probably a good thing that outrigger canoeing is so insanely popular in Tahiti – that’s the only thing keeping all these uber-talented paddlers from crossing over and focusing on stand up. → READ MORE
The Countdown To Carolina continues… We’re just days away from one of the biggest events on the calendar: The Carolina Cup in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
Hundreds of paddlers, including a couple dozen of the world’s best, are preparing to descend on this little slice of America’s East Coast. It’s shaping up to be one of the biggest and most competitive SUP races of the year. So I think it’s high time we take a closer look at exactly where everyone’s gonna be paddling on Saturday… Here they are, your 2014 Carolina Cup course maps. → READ MORE
Is this the world’s greatest SUP shirt?
My uber-talented artist brother drew this sketch of a Mr. Men-inspired character recently and I thought it was so cool that we got a few shirts printed up. Can’t believe how well it turned out. I love it. And judging by the reaction, I’m not the only one.
Unfortunately, you won’t ever be able to buy a Mr. SUP shirt. These won’t ever be on sale. (for starters, that would be gross infringement on the Mr. Men copyright). But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever get one.
We had a few shirts made and might give a couple of them away. Not sure when, not sure how, but keep your eye out… → READ MORE
With the Carolina Cup just seven days away, I figured it was a perfect time to look back at 2013 and see why this event has grown so big.
There are hundreds of stand up paddle races out there, yet in just three years this event has grown to become one of the absolute biggest in the world. The Cup attracts hundreds of first time paddlers, hundreds of weekend warriors and dozens of the world’s elite to a small town in North Carolina for a true festival of paddleboarding.
As the leading athletes summed it up: → READ MORE
One of the pint-sized highlights of the racing calendar is Performance Paddling’s Junior Pro & Youth SUP Fiesta, a stand up paddle event dedicated entirely to the stars of the future. The 2014 edition is just a couple of weeks away, with the showcase set for May 4th at Bolsa Chica State Beach (Huntington) in California.
The Junior SUP Fiesta is run by Candice Appleby and Anthony Vela and features both a SUP race and SUP surf contest. Most kids’ races get tacked onto bigger events, so it’s cool to see Candice and AV giving the grommies a chance to shine on their own.
Just some of the charging groms who’ll be racing/surfing are Riggs Napoleon, Mo Freitas, Vanina Walsh, Fiona Wylde, Izzi Gomez, Yuri Daberkow, Ridge Lenny, Kai McPhillips, Felipe Gaspar, Berndt Roediger, Noa Hopper. That list include paddlers who’ve won adult surf comps and races, so you know the competition is gonna be high level. → READ MORE
The Danish Viking, Casper Steinfath, recently joined the local Naish crew in Greece to complete an epic crossing of the Aegean Sea. The Greek Islands odyssey started on Paros and went 35 kms (22 miles) across the open sea to the world famous Mykonos (that island with all the cool white buildings/perfect blue water).
The Viking, looking very viking-ish with his new beard, summed up the crossing as “special” and sounded pretty stoked to share the experience with a diverse group of local paddlers, who ranged from stoked out groms to Greek national champions. → READ MORE
With the 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu race just three months away (time flies…), it’s a good time to look back on last year’s event and reflect on what makes this race so irrationally enticing to so many paddlers. In a video released this week, titled simply “The Champs,” the leading contenders have their say about what makes Molokai so… Molokai.
While the video is technically about the 2013 event, it’s actually kinda timeless: This clip isn’t so much about last year’s race itself but more about the spirit of Molokai in general. There are some interesting comments from Kai, Danny, Andrea and a few others who took on what is perhaps the biggest challenge in the world of paddleboarding. → READ MORE
In yet another episode of New Zealanders Who Make Us Feel Lazy, here’s the story of a Kiwi doing an insanely long, solo paddle, just because they could. On Tuesday April 15th, Sam Thom paddled non-stop from Great Barrier Island back to Auckland city. That’s 88 kilometres (54 miles).
Departing at 7am from the island, the 25-year-old paddled for almost 11 hours before reaching Auckland just before 6pm. Despite having an escort boat for support, Sam stayed on the water the entire time. Eleven hours straight. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, the guy was getting escorted by a pod of dolphins for part of the trip as well (check the vid at the 1 minute 34 second mark). → READ MORE
We’re less than 10 days out from one of the biggest and best races of the year: The 2014 Carolina Cup.
Over the past few years, the Carolina Cup has grown from a regional race into a big international event. It attracts hundreds of recreational paddlers as well as dozens of the world’s fastest. However it still has that community spirit and the organisers still go out of their way to make you feel welcome, no matter whether you’re a first timer or a world champ.
I believe the Carolina Cup highlights what makes this sport so great, which is exactly why SUPracer.com will be there in Wilmington, North Carolina to help bring you the event as it happens. Our full coverage of the 2014 Carolina Cup begins right now. You’ll be able to follow all the action on our Carolina Cup mini site, which is powered by the generosity and support of Starboard. → READ MORE
Check out this great promo clip for an interesting new TV show called What SUP, which is pretty much exactly what the name suggests: A program dedicated to all things stand up paddling, from racing to cruising to surfing and everything in between.
“What SUP – The World of Stand Up Paddling” comes from the same crew behind OceanPaddler.TV, so you know it’s going to be a slick production. Check out the promo clip above and you’ll see what I mean. The show is airing weekly on Time Warner OC16 in Hawaii and across the States on the Universal Sports Network. → READ MORE
While all the excitement over the next 10 days will inevitably center around Carolina, the big ISA event is only just around the corner as well. The Carolina Cup main event is on Saturday 26th April, but then just seven days later we’ll be in Granada, Nicaragua for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Worlds.
The 2014 ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Padddleboard Championship (bit of a mouthful… let’s just go with “ISA Worlds” shall we?) runs May 3rd to 11th, with the first few days reserved for SUP surfing over on the west coast, before the second half of the event is all SUP racing (and prone racing) back on Lake Nicaragua.
And Team SUPracer.com will be there to bring you all the action as well as insights into what’s happening behind the scenes. In the meantime though, here’s the official trailer… → READ MORE
Nice clip from the Head of the Dart race that went down in the UK over the weekend. The race, won by Starboard duo Ryan James and Marie Buchanan, drew 150 paddlers in yet another sign that the UK is emerging as a serious paddling nation.
According to the video that 150 number was actually the registration limit for the race (“sold out within a week”), which highlights just how much the UK SUP scene has grown over the past few years. Apart from sheer numbers, the nation also has plenty of solid talent plus a few super quick juniors rising through the ranks, so the future looks bright. Hell even powerhouse paddling nations such as Australia can’t muster 150 paddlers for a race, let alone sell out the registration, so good work to the community over there for getting their stuff together. → READ MORE