Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) involves a surfboard, a paddle, and lots of abdominal strength. And in the world of sports, it’s catching on fast. That might not be too surprising, since it often involves bathing suits and sunny beaches, too. Starting today, SUP athletes from around the world will compete in the third annual Carolina Cup at Wrightsville Beach.
“The Carolina Cup is a great opportunity for people to check out the world's best competitors while participating in races based on their individual skill level," said John Beausang, event Co-Chair, in a press statement. "Last year, we had participants from multiple countries and over 41 states.” Here’s a video from last year’s Cup, which drew over 400 participants:
The event will be held at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, and participants will have a variety of waterways to compete on – ocean, inlet, sound, marsh, and flat water conditions. The Cup is one of nine national qualifiers for the World Championships and is sanctioned by the World Paddle Association.
Among the participants this year is the entire Alderman family of Wrightsville Beach - parents Jenny and Don, and their sons Dylan, 12, and Jack, 9. They've attended the Carolina Cup the previous two years. Don and Jenny will compete in the Graveyard Race, a 13-mile route circumnavigating Wrightsville Island by ocean and sound. Don will race prone, Jenny will race in the stand up category. Dylan plans on competing in the 3.5 mile scenic flatwater course that circles Harbor Island, and Jack will participate in the Sea Turtle Race on Banks Channel.
"They're enjoying the Carolina Cup the way we intended it, with the whole family having fun all weekend long," said Beausang in a press statement. "This is a great opportunity for people to participate in races based on their individual skill level among some of the best paddlers in the world."
Big names on the roster this year include two-time Men’s World Champion Danny Ching from California, two-time Women's World Champion Candice Appleby from California, French European Champion Eric Terrien, Canadian Gold Medal Olympian Larry Cain, and ten-time Molokai World Champion Jamie Mitchell from Australia.
Spectators are encouraged to attend and will have opportunities to take SUP lessons and test out equipment and paddleboards from several manufacturers present. Activities will be held this weekend to benefit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Island and Surfers Healing, an organization serving autistic children and their families.
The Carolina Cup is presented by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club.