April 23, 2016
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Congratulations Titouan Puyo, Annabel Anderson — Champions of the 2016 West Marine Carolina Cup (FULL RESULTS)

Carolina Cup

It was an intense start to the 2016 Carolina Cup “Graveyard Race” (photo: Chris McQuiston for SUP Racer)

UPDATE: Check out 47 Awesome Photos That Tell the Hidden Stories of the Carolina Cup for more insights

Wow… what a race.

Titouan Puyo and Annabel Anderson have triumphed over an all-star field of paddlers to claim the 2016 West Marine Carolina Cup here in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with the infamous Elite Graveyard Race living up to its reputation by serving competitors a challenging mixture wind, waves and currents across 13 miles of ocean and flat water racing.

With most of the world’s best paddlers on the line this was always going to be an intense race, and Carolina certainly didn’t disappoint.

After a hectic start, where 150 elite paddlers charged off the beach towards the “golden buoy” (with Chuck Glynn getting the hole shot ahead of Beau O’Brian and Travis Grant) the lead men were slowly whittled down to a pack of 14 by the 10 mile mark, while Annabel Anderson broke the top women after 3 miles and never looked back as Candice, Sonni, Fiona and Terrene formed a chase group.

Annabel surprised even herself with the five minute margin of victory, having powered through the flat of the inter-coastal waterway on her own as the next four women took turns trying to reel her in. The New Zealander, riding a brand new and very eye-catching pink board from Lahui Kai master shaper Brian Szymanski, crossed the line in 2 hours and 17 minutes to claim her fourth straight Carolina Cup title.

Annabel Anderson

Annabel Anderson navigating the tricky inlet entrance with style (that’s Kody Kerbox next to her) photo: Chris McQuiston for SUP Racer

Behind the world number one it was a tight battle, with Candice, Sonni, Fiona and Terrene trading the lead over the closing stages. Candice was too strong in the end, pulling clear in the final few hundred metres. Sonni out-sprinted Fiona and Terrene in a race up the beach, with Shae Foudy coming home a few minutes later after a brave solo effort.

The lead pack of guys held together until the 11 or 12 mile mark, when they hit the open ocean for the one mile dash back to the start/finish line. At this point, Titou put the hammer down, seemingly milking the bumps despite paddling into a moderate headwind. Only Travis and Danny could stay with him, but even they were left battling for the minor placings as the New Caledonian triumphantly crossed the line for the biggest win of his short career.

Danny and Trav raced perfectly, sitting near the front all day but conserving energy by rarely leading. They both looked strong and relaxed coming into the final mile, but Titou simply had another gear today. These three guys were clearly on a different level. Although the top pack stayed together for most of the race, it was clear as soon as everyone rounded the rock wall that these three would battle for the win.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the top three guys all have an outrigger background – you could see their silky smooth technique was more efficient than the other guys, which meant they probably had that extra 1 or 2% left in the tank when it mattered most.

Carolina Cup

Chuck Glynn leads the front pack towards the northern buoy that marked the entrance into the washing machine-like inlet (photo: Chris McQuiston for SUP Racer)

Even though he’s lost his champion’s crown, Trav will be stoked that he’s handing it over to his NSP team mate — the result gives both Team NSP and Team Quickblade a memorable 1-2 finish.

Outside the top three we saw absolutely amazing efforts from young Trevor Tunnington, who stormed home in 4th, and veteran Kelly Margetts, who rounded out the top five after racing a very smart, tactical race (Kelly was often sitting on the side wash rather than directly behind, which ensured he was always in a good spot to strike while still conserving energy).

Today’s 6th place finisher Georges Cronsteadt looked strong all the way but just couldn’t stick with the lead trio at the death. Chuck Glynn fought hard, leading early and then finding a second wind in the final kilometre to claim 8th spot just behind Connor Baxter. Chuck is one of the hardest working guys on tour, and showed today he deserves his spot on the top tier.

I spoke with Connor Baxter after the race and he said the pace was intense in the second half of the race, with paddlers jockeying for position — we often saw paddlers sitting three abreast, riding off each other’s side-wash rather than sitting in a single file draft train that we’re accustomed to. Connor finished 7th.

Mo Freitas was right there all day as well and looks to be in great early-season form, while Matt Nottage certainly proved me wrong by showing he’s a world class athlete in flat water as well as in the bumps, charging home for a top 10 finish for Australia and Team Starboard.

Speaking of Team Starboard, ultra dark horse Daniel Hasulyo looked strong in the closing stages of the race, sitting on the front of the train with 7 of the world’s top 10 athletes sitting on his tail. This guy and his brother, Bruno, are definitely names to watch in the future. Speaking of names to watch, Giorgio Gomez has officially completed the crossover from “surfer guy” to serious athlete, sticking with the front group until the pack split on final stretch home. Beau O’Brian fought hard but hit the wall in the final km, while Arthur Arutkin was just outside the top 10.

Today’s race had it all. Hectic start off the beach and around the first buoy, some carnage in the waves coming in through the inlet, flat water grind, currents, eddies, sidewind, headwind, downwind. It was a very technical race. It was also a very, very exciting race to watch up close. In all my time following this sport, I honestly can’t think of a race I’ve enjoyed watching more… Huge thanks to the race organisers, sponsors, volunteers and everyone else responsible for this fantastic event.

Oh and last but note least: Massive thank you to Hayward Newkirk, our fearless boat captain that got us right up close to the action right around the course. Even had beers on hand for us when I started losing my voice. Champion.

Full recap, photos and drone video coming soon. Scroll down for results, and scroll right down for a replay of our Facebook Live stream.

Titouan Puyo

Titouan Puyo paddling in to the beach to claim a monumental victory (photo: Chris McQuiston for SUP Racer)

2016 Carolina Cup RESULTS: Women’s Elite Graveyard Race
Course: 13 miles (21kms)
Conditions: Bit of everything
Boards: 12’6
“Points” are for the SUP Racer World Rankings

1Annabel Anderson2:17:0760.00Lahui KaiNew Zealand
2Candice Appleby2:22:3245.00Infinity/QuickbladeUSA
3Sonni Honscheid2:22:3836.00SICGermany
4Fiona Wylde2:22:4030.00Starboard/WernerUSA
5Terrene Black2:22:4225.50ECS/QuickbladeAustralia
6Shae Foudy2:25:1521.00RivieraUSA
7Lina Augaitis2:28:3918.00SIC/WernerCanada
8April Zilg2:29:0315.00HobieUSA
9Seychelle Hattingh2:33:1013.50MistralUSA
10Kimberly Barnes2:33:2612.00RivieraUSA
11Lexi Alston2:35:5310.80HobieUSA
12Erika Benitez2:41:329.60BrawnerUSA/Mexico
13Stephanie Shideler2:41:509.00??
14Tracey Finlay2:45:068.40??
15Kristy Morris2:47:287.80??
16Kristin Thomas2:48:287.20Infinity/WernerUSA
17Aleksandra Malinska2:49:156.60??
18Sarah Weyenberg2:51:106.00??
19Kim Hillhouse2:52:525.40
20Evelyn O'Doherty2:55:174.80
21Amy Clark2:56:414.50
22Sierra Groth3:03:124.20
23Kerstin Ouellet3:11:163.90
24Kristen Sheldon3:12:233.60
25Hailey Driver3:14:223.30
26Sarah Westbrook3:22:143.12
27Rachel Ferguson3:25:492.94
28Anya Yurchenko3:26:412.76
29Josette Lata3:27:162.58
30Phyllis Sanders3:30:232.40
31Jolieanne Marxen3:30:482.28
32Nicole Iacovetta3:31:092.16
33Julia Nicholls3:31:132.04

2016 Carolina Cup RESULTS: Men’s Elite Graveyard Race
Course: 13 miles (21kms)
Conditions: Bit of everything
Boards: 14′
“Points” are for the SUP Racer World Rankings

1Titouan Puyo2:04:4960.00NSP/QuickbladeFrance24
2Travis Grant2:05:1245.00NSP/QuickbladeAustralia33
3Danny Ching2:05:2636.00404/Hippo StickUSA32
4Trevor Tunnington2:05:4130.00StarboardNew Zealand18
5Kelly Margetts2:05:5125.50Lahui Kai/QuickbladeAustralia43
6Georges Cronsteadt2:06:0621.00SICTahiti35
7Connor Baxter2:06:1318.00StarboardHawaii21
8Chuck Glynn2:06:1915.00LairdSUPUSA27
9Mo Freitas2:06:3213.50Focus/QuickbladeHawaii18
10Matt Nottage2:06:4212.00StarboardAustralia20
11Daniel Hasulyo2:06:4810.80StarboardHungary24
12Arthur Arutkin2:07:209.60FanaticFrance19
13Giorgio Gomez2:07:299.00Infinity/QuickbladeUSA20
14Beau O'Brian2:07:468.40StarboardAustralia32
15Josh Riccio2:08:217.80Rogue/WernerHawaii26
16Chase Kosterlitz2:08:517.20JP Australia/QuickbladeUSA29
17Bullet Obra2:09:346.60HobieHawaii25
18Martin Letourneur2:09:426.00HobieFrance20
19Kenny Kaneko2:09:475.40SICJapan28
20Bruno Hasulyo2:09:494.80StarboardHungary21
21Kieran Grant2:11:014.50HovieUSA23
22Martin Vitry2:11:054.20BICFrance17
23Connor Bonham2:11:323.90BICUSA20
24Larry Cain2:12:503.60Starboard/QuickbladeCanada53
25Martino Rogai2:12:533.30?Italy28
26Garrett Fletcher2:13:123.12YoloUSA24
27Rete Ebb2:13:312.94StarboardTahiti24
28Tommy Buday2:13:562.76SIC/QuickbladeCanada40
29Quintin Chiapperino2:14:082.58?USA19
30Cyril Burguiere2:14:512.40RivieraUSA36
31Vinnicius Martins2:15:262.28JP AustraliaBrazil19
32Nick Scheel2:16:082.16RivieraUSA17
33Belar Diaz2:16:082.04ECSSpain38
34Billy Swezey Jr2:16:171.92??26
35Bill Kraft2:16:571.80Boga/WernerUSVI47
36Brian Meyer2:17:121.68RogueUSA28
37Robert Hess2:17:301.56??27
38Ryan Helm2:17:471.44RivieraUSA42
39Greg Jaldon2:17:471.32??55
40Jeramie Vaine2:18:181.20Boga/WernerUSA36
41Jason Chew2:19:021.14??41
42Jeremy Whitted2:19:051.08??41
43Kody Kerbox2:19:501.02NaishHawaii21
44Rodney Ellis2:21:080.9642
45Christopher Norman2:22:190.9027
46Josh Smart2:22:360.84NSP/WernerUSA33
47Brent Schmidt2:23:510.7851
48Patrick Cleveland2:24:220.7216
49Norbert Nebucz2:25:010.6642
50Chris Stringer2:25:040.6051
51Bernd Roediger2:25:550.00NaishUSA19
52Robin Delgado2:26:150.0031
53Sven Peltonen2:26:190.0039
54Sam English2:26:290.0022
55Chad Gallagher2:26:340.0042
56Andrew Skeoch2:26:400.0043
57Eric Bednorz2:26:510.0039
58Jim Terrell2:26:580.00QuickbladeUSA51
59Christian Goerloff2:27:380.0046
60Brian Schmid2:30:390.0027
61Andrew Dima2:31:130.0028
62Corey Curtis2:32:040.0031
63Russ Scully2:32:180.0046
64Jeff Cook2:32:210.0039
65Steven Bernstein2:32:470.0044
66Steve Dullack2:33:090.0041
67Jorge Quintana2:33:290.0033
68Tom Pace2:34:330.0055
69Zane Asselin2:35:310.0020
70Terry Smith2:35:470.0042
71Otto Liipfert2:36:510.0038
72Wesley Stolp2:36:580.0038
73Kevin Julka2:37:190.0026
74John Sekas2:37:360.0054
75David Dean2:38:040.0058
76Ben Gareiss2:38:390.0027
77Kenny Balcerski2:39:450.0052
78Jack Martin2:39:540.0016
79Chris Lightbound2:40:210.0060
80Camilo Marmol2:40:510.0045
81Derek Schrotter2:41:010.0047
82Cristian Drado2:41:230.0036
83William Sodano2:41:420.0048
84Keith Merker2:41:440.0043
85David Gould2:42:540.0024
86Tim Burke2:44:500.0048
87Michael Westenberger2:45:510.0041
88Ed O'Kinsky2:45:550.0051
89Fielding Pagel2:46:200.0029
90Dave Schuster2:47:030.0047
91Ricardo Chiari2:47:500.0046
92Troy Gossard2:48:220.0041
93Kevin Baum2:48:220.0040
94Ed Pierce2:48:340.0062
95Stephen Chase2:48:490.0038
96Chris Rubacha2:49:150.0030
97Jamie Penland2:49:510.0039
98Kyle Ellison2:51:220.0032
99Basil Tydings2:51:230.0046
100Chip Boggs2:52:080.0043
101John Heidel2:52:330.0047
102Jereme Dees2:52:530.0040
103Bill House2:55:100.0050
104Anthony Galang2:55:450.0050
105Mike Hill2:56:060.0039
106Jake Clement2:56:270.0021
107Kenny Lambrecht2:57:010.0061
108James Gregorio2:57:110.0044
109Jacob Crox2:58:010.0017
110Daniel Willis Iii2:58:270.0043
111Erik Kauffman2:59:070.0044
112Willy Mendez2:59:450.0052
113Mark Sumner3:00:270.0031
114David Leach3:00:430.0058
115Phil Asselin3:01:220.0047
116Mark Herman3:01:280.0034
117Frank Bellisario3:01:490.0048
118David Young3:03:460.0053
119Jeff Henderson3:07:430.0050
120Matthew Nacy3:09:260.0052
121Adam Boothby3:10:280.0041
122Jeff Westbrook3:11:440.0044
123Matt Lennert3:11:580.0044
124Patrick Johnson3:15:420.0043
125Mike Casey3:15:490.0050
126Steve Mckenzie3:41:320.0059
127Daniel Ancheta3:42:170.0039
128Nate Waldera3:57:290.0038

Harbor Island Race (3 miles)
Money Island Race (6 miles)
Graveyard Race raw results

You can also relive our live stream, which I hope gave you a bit of an insight into this amazing race.

Carolina Cup live stream replay – part 1

Carolina Cup live stream replay – part 2

Carolina Cup live stream replay – part 3

Carolina Cup

The lead group of elite men charging through the flats (photo: Chris McQuiston for SUP Racer)