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25Apr/16Off

2016 Carolina Cup Gallery And Recap | Behind the Live Coverage

What you likely didn’t learn from the live coverage at the 2016 West Marine Carolina Cup

Coming into the sixth annual Graveyard Elite Race at the West Marine Carolina Cup presented by Surftech—the first major event of the 2016 standup paddle race season—the salty seaside Carolina air at the East Coast’s flagship SUP event was laden with an undeniable undercurrent of sensational speculation.

Will SUP’s seasoned stud Travis Grant from ‘straya reclaim his Carolina crown? Will New Zealand speed fiend Annabel Anderson remain the undisputed paddle queen of Wrightsville Beach? Will paddling’s prince of Dana Point Danny Ching be crowned dad before he can be crowned king of Carolina? How did this high-frequency Frenchman Titouan Puyo gain his momentum anyhow, and is that really how you pronounce his name?

…And where the heck is Kai Lenny, anyway?

The off-season, albeit short, provides gaping space for gossip and guesswork as paddling’s athletes and enthusiasts, amateur and elite alike, train fervently, prepare feverishly and otherwise anticipate the onslaught of unknowns that await them at the start line of the season’s inaugural competition.

Suffice to say, by the time the final finisher sprinted up the sand and through the gates at Carolina’s flagship SUP competition yesterday, paddling’s proverbial peanut gallery was finally silenced by the awe-inspiring performances of the world’s fastest SUP racers.

The verdict among the women: reigning champ Anderson maintains her reign for the fourth consecutive year. That woman is an animal—Annimel, if you will—her 2:17:07 course completion made all the more impressive by besting the prestigious pack of following finishers lead by World Series champion Candice Appleby (2nd), whose highly anticipated return to Carolina marked the end of a three-year hiatus from the event, with a grand gap of nearly five and a half minutes separating her from the trailing train of talent. Behind Appleby, German powerhouse Sonni Honscheid (3rd) and rising teenage heroine Fiona Wylde (4th) lead 30 other elite females—not to mention a slew of world-class male paddlers. It’s no wonder Anderson crossed the finish line smiling.

Among the men, a new champion, a New Caledonian—Titouan Puyo—claimed his crown ahead of a front-running pack of all-star athletes comprised of last year’s Carolina Cup champ, Travis Grant (2nd) and 2014 Carolina Cup Danny Ching (3rd). An impressive performance from the 2015 Lost Mills Fastest Paddler On Earth victor Trevor Tunnington found the teenage Kiwi in fourth, with a cunningly seasoned, astoundingly in shape Kelly Margetts cinching fifth.

According to Maui’s debonair downwind superstar—three-time Molokai 2 Oahu champion Connor Baxter—who finished a respectable seventh at yesterday’s race, conditions at this year’s Cup were uncharacteristically tame and cooperative.

“Normally this isn’t my favorite course because of the crazy conditions, but luckily it played out pretty ideal this year,” Baxter told SUP in a post-race pow-wow. “Last year, we hit a 10+ knot headwind and an opposing current coming out of the inlet to the final leg. It was nonstop pounding. This year it was overcast—perfect temperature for racing—and the wind was mellow compared to pretty much every race I’ve ever done here.”

The harrowing Graveyard Elite Race course is anything but a cakewalk. Just ask 3x M2O champion Connor Baxter. Image courtesy of Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club
The harrowing Graveyard Elite Race course is anything but a cakewalk. Just ask 3x M2O champion Connor Baxter. Image courtesy of Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club

The 13-mile Carolina Cup circuit starts and finishes on the beach adjacent to the event’s hosting venue, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. The direction of the course—this year starting northbound around the island past Jonnie Mercer’s Pier—isn’t announced until race-day and depends on the direction of the wind, adding yet another variable to the challenge. The launch and landing sandwiches a 4+ mile section of typically wind-wrought ocean along the island’s Atlantic shore, then a wonky wish-wash of waves and current entering the inlet to the Intracoastal Waterway, followed by a daunting stretch of flatwater that runs the opposing direction along the island’s westerly edge before rounding the breakwater at Masonboro Inlet and heading back north for another mile or so, usually into a headwind, to the finish. Suffice to say, Baxter’s apprehension for the unpredictable conditions at Wrightsville Beach is warranted.

Moreover, many of the variables that made this year’s Carolina Cup especially entertaining had nothing to do with the weather. Until the morning of the race, no one was sure which worthy title contenders would even be competing, or competitive, given the unique circumstances of some of the sport’s most reliably front-running racers. For instance, while Ching was onsite for the festivities leading up to the race, the expecting patriarch’s participation depended on the condition of his wife’s pregnancy, her water set to break (pun intended) any day now. Similarly, 2014 Standup World Series champion Lina Augaitis returned to Carolina this weekend for her debut performance after ending the 2015 season short to safely harbor her since-born baby boy. She finished seventh among the pack of elite women racers, not a bad result considering the majority of her off-season training consisted of breast feeding and broken nights’ sleep.

Another female force, Appleby—considered by many to be the only lady capable of challenging Anderson for the Carolina crown—made her highly awaited return after three years away from Carolina, delivering even more drama to the Wrightsville Beach race. On the men’s side, the absence of three-time World Series champ, renowned and big-wave SUP hellman, Maui boy Kai Lenny was busy making his appearance at the prestigious Billabong XXL Awards big-wave surfing ceremony in Los Angeles this weekend, adding even more mystique to the inaugural race season event in Carolina.

The cumulative take-away from all the above: one of the most entertaining events in the history of standup paddleboard racing, according to many of the sport’s top figureheads and athletes. It set an intense and inspiring precedent to the slew of awesome events to come, with Maui’s fabled North Shore downwind race—the eighth annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a—coming up next weekend. SUP magazine is already staged on Maui, having traveled cross-country from Carolina to Maui without missing a stroke, much like the athletes we revere. Our editorial squad is stationed at the North Shore’s luxurious Lumeria Resort for our first-ever Maui Dream Retreat, preparing to both race and report live from Maliko Gulch for next weekend’s big race.

We’ll be bringing you the action live with real-time web coverage and video webcasting via SUPthemag.com and social media. Tune in this week for pre-race reports, exclusive imagery, athlete interviews and all-around, onsite coverage. See you on the water!
Mike Misselwitz

Follow us on Instagram for awesome imagery all season long: @SUPthemag

Check out our live webcast during the season’s biggest races via Facebook Live.

Get ahead of the competition with five facts you probably didn’t know about this year’s OluKai Ho’o.

Get to know the Maui Dream Retreat, and get onboard for next year.

 Main Event: Graveyard Elite Race Womens’ Results

13 miles (21 kilometers), 12’6″ board class, ocean/flatwater, varied conditions

#
Athlete
Time
Brand
Nation
1 Annabel Anderson 2:17:07 Lahui Kai New Zealand
2 Candice Appleby 2:22:32 Infinity/Quickblade USA
3 Sonni Honscheid 2:22:38 SIC Germany
4 Fiona Wylde 2:22:40 Starboard/Werner USA
5 Terrene Black 2:22:42 ECS/Quickblade Australia
6 Shae Foudy 2:25:15 Riviera USA
7 Lina Augaitis 2:28:39 SIC/Werner Canada
8 April Zilg 2:29:03 Hobie USA
9 Seychelle Hattingh 2:33:10 Mistral USA
10 Kimberly Barnes 2:33:26 Riviera USA
11 Lexi Alston 2:35:53 Hobie USA
12 Erika Benitez 2:41:32 Brawner USA/Mexico
13 Stephanie Shideler 2:41:50
14 Tracey Finlay 2:45:06
15 Kristy Morris 2:47:28
16 Kristin Thomas 2:48:28 Infinity/Werner USA
17 Aleksandra Malinska 2:49:15
18 Sarah Weyenberg 2:51:10
19 Lacie Flynn 2:52:28
20 Kim Hillhouse 2:52:52
21 Evelyn O’Doherty 2:55:17
22 Amy Clark 2:56:41
23 Sierra Groth 3:03:12
24 Kerstin Ouellet 3:11:16
25 Kristen Sheldon 3:12:23
26 Hailey Driver 3:14:22
27 Sarah Westbrook 3:22:14
28 Rachel Ferguson 3:25:49
29 Anya Yurchenko 3:26:41
30 Josette Lata 3:27:16
31 Phyllis Sanders 3:30:23
32 Jolieanne Marxen 3:30:48
33 Nicole Iacovetta 3:31:09
34 Julia Nicholls 3:31:13

 Main Event: Graveyard Elite Race Mens’ Results

13 miles (21 kilometers), 14′ board class, ocean/flatwater, varied conditions

Athlete
Time
Brand
Nation
Age
1 Titouan Puyo 2:04:49 NSP/Quickblade France 24
2 Travis Grant 2:05:12 NSP/Quickblade Australia 33
3 Danny Ching 2:05:26 404/Hippo Stick USA 32
4 Trevor Tunnington 2:05:41 Starboard New Zealand 18
5 Kelly Margetts 2:05:51 Lahui Kai/Quickblade Australia 43
6 Georges Cronsteadt 2:06:06 SIC Tahiti 35
7 Connor Baxter 2:06:13 Starboard Hawaii 21
8 Chuck Glynn 2:06:19 LairdSUP USA 27
9 Mo Freitas 2:06:32 Focus/Quickblade Hawaii 18
10 Matt Nottage 2:06:42 Starboard Australia 20
11 Daniel Hasulyo 2:06:48 Starboard Hungary 24
12 Arthur Arutkin 2:07:20 Fanatic France 19
13 Giorgio Gomez 2:07:29 Infinity/Quickblade USA 20
14 Beau O’Brian 2:07:46 Starboard Australia 32
15 Josh Riccio 2:08:21 Rogue/Werner Hawaii 26
16 Chase Kosterlitz 2:08:51 JP Australia/Quickblade USA 29
17 Bullet Obra 2:09:34 Hobie Hawaii 25
18 Martin Letourneur 2:09:42 Hobie France 20
19 Kenny Kaneko 2:09:47 SIC Japan 28
20 Bruno Hasulyo 2:09:49 Starboard Hungary 21
21 Kieran Grant 2:11:01 23
22 Martin Vitry 2:11:05 17
23 Connor Bonham 2:11:32 20
24 Larry Cain 2:12:50 53
25 Martino Rogai 2:12:53 28
26 Garrett Fletcher 2:13:12 24
27 Rete Ebb 2:13:31 24
28 Tommy Buday 2:13:56 40
29 Quintin Chiapperino 2:14:08 19
30 Cyril Burguiere 2:14:51 36
31 Vinnicius Martins 2:15:26 19
32 Nick Scheel 2:16:08 17
33 Belar Diaz 2:16:08 38
34 Billy Swezey Jr 2:16:17 26
35 Bill Kraft 2:16:57 47
36 Brian Meyer 2:17:12 28
37 Robert Hess 2:17:30 27
38 Ryan Helm 2:17:47 42
39 Greg Jaldon 2:17:47 55
40 Jeramie Vaine 2:18:18 36
41 Jason Chew 2:19:02 41
42 Jeremy Whitted 2:19:05 41
43 Kody Kerbox 2:19:50 21
44 Rodney Ellis 2:21:08 42
45 Christopher Norman 2:22:19 27
46 Josh Smart 2:22:36 33
47 Brent Schmidt 2:23:51 51
48 Patrick Cleveland 2:24:22 16
49 Norbert Nebucz 2:25:01 42
50 Chris Stringer 2:25:04 51
51 Bernd Roediger 2:25:55 19
52 Robin Delgado 2:26:15 31
53 Sven Peltonen 2:26:19 39
54 Sam English 2:26:29 22
55 Chad Gallagher 2:26:34 42
56 Andrew Skeoch 2:26:40 43
57 Eric Bednorz 2:26:51 39
58 Jim Terrell 2:26:58 51
59 Christian Goerloff 2:27:38 46
60 Brian Schmid 2:30:39 27
61 Andrew Dima 2:31:13 28
62 Corey Curtis 2:32:04 31
63 Russ Scully 2:32:18 46
64 Jeff Cook 2:32:21 39
65 Steven Bernstein 2:32:47 44
66 Steve Dullack 2:33:09 41
67 Jorge Quintana 2:33:29 33
68 Tom Pace 2:34:33 55
69 Zane Asselin 2:35:31 20
70 Terry Smith 2:35:47 42
71 Otto Liipfert 2:36:51 38
72 Wesley Stolp 2:36:58 38
73 Kevin Julka 2:37:19 26
74 John Sekas 2:37:36 54
75 David Dean 2:38:04 58
76 Ben Gareiss 2:38:39 27
77 Kenny Balcerski 2:39:45 52
78 Jack Martin 2:39:54 16
79 Chris Lightbound 2:40:21 60
80 Camilo Marmol 2:40:51 45
81 Derek Schrotter 2:41:01 47
82 Cristian Drado 2:41:23 36
83 William Sodano 2:41:42 48
84 Keith Merker 2:41:44 43
85 David Gould 2:42:54 24
86 Tim Burke 2:44:50 48
87 Michael Westenberger 2:45:51 41
88 Ed O’Kinsky 2:45:55 51
89 Fielding Pagel 2:46:20 29
90 Dave Schuster 2:47:03 47
91 Ricardo Chiari 2:47:50 46
92 Troy Gossard 2:48:22 41
93 Kevin Baum 2:48:22 40
94 Ed Pierce 2:48:34 62
95 Stephen Chase 2:48:49 38
96 Chris Rubacha 2:49:15 30
97 Jamie Penland 2:49:51 39
98 Kyle Ellison 2:51:22 32
99 Basil Tydings 2:51:23 46
100 Chip Boggs 2:52:08 43
101 John Heidel 2:52:33 47
102 Jereme Dees 2:52:53 40
103 Bill House 2:55:10 50
104 Anthony Galang 2:55:45 50
105 Mike Hill 2:56:06 39
106 Jake Clement 2:56:27 21
107 Kenny Lambrecht 2:57:01 61
108 James Gregorio 2:57:11 44
109 Jacob Crox 2:58:01 17
110 Daniel Willis Iii 2:58:27 43
111 Erik Kauffman 2:59:07 44
112 Willy Mendez 2:59:45 52
113 Mark Sumner 3:00:27 31
114 David Leach 3:00:43 58
115 Phil Asselin 3:01:22 47
116 Mark Herman 3:01:28 34
117 Frank Bellisario 3:01:49 48
118 David Young 3:03:46 53
119 Jeff Henderson 3:07:43 50
120 Matthew Nacy 3:09:26 52
121 Adam Boothby 3:10:28 41
122 Jeff Westbrook 3:11:44 44
123 Matt Lennert 3:11:58 44
124 Patrick Johnson 3:15:42 43
125 Mike Casey 3:15:49 50
126 Steve Mckenzie 3:41:32 59
127 Daniel Ancheta 3:42:17 39
128 Nate Waldera 3:57:29 38

Harbor Island three-mile race results
Money Island six-mile rec race results
Nitty gritty Elite Graveyard Race results

The post 2016 Carolina Cup Gallery And Recap | Behind the Live Coverage appeared first on SUP Magazine.