January 23, 2016
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Countdown to Carolina: Three Months ’til the First Major Race of the Season

Carolina Cup SUP

The Carolina Cup is one of the major races on the international calendar (photo: McQuiston for SUP Racer)

In exactly three months from today, a big chunk of the world’s top athletes, along with hundreds of amateur and first time paddlers, will be standing on the sand at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, for the first ‘major’ of the season: The Carolina Cup.

Carolina has become famous for not only attracting the Travis Grants, Danny Chings and Annabel Andersons of the world, but for also drawing in hundreds of weekend warriors and first timers from near and far. Now in its 6th year, Carolina is not just a race, it’s a festival.

With clinics, demos, brand expos, film screenings, pre-parties, after-parties (aka mechanical bull riding) and plenty of other paddling festivities on offer, the Carolina Cup is a must-attend event. And while today marks the 3 month countdown to race day on April 23rd, the full show runs all the way from April 19th through 24th.

Last year saw over 600 paddlers across the kids, beginner, intermediate and elite races. Combined, it’s the single largest event in the world of stand up paddling. The 2015 Elite Graveyard Race was the second most competitive contest of the year, while the 2016 edition will once again have a big impact on the SUP Racer World Rankings. This year, Carolina is one of just four events that have a six-star rating on the Rogue Race Calendar.

But most importantly, a trip to the Carolina Cup is simply great fun…

Along with the annual pilgrimage to Doheny in early October, the Carolina Cup is a real bookend of the international race season. I can’t wait to get back to Wrightsville in 13 weeks’ time, and with this week’s announcement of West Marine as the headline sponsor and Surftech as the presenting partner, I’ve got a feeling the 2016 Carolina Cup will be the best one yet.

With the countdown officially on, I thought I’d pay homage to this great event by throwing together a short little remix of last year’s race (with footage from the Quickblade and Rogue highlight reels).

Take it away, Shaggy…


…and if that’s not enough for ya, here’s Quickblade’s original recap of the 2015 Carolina Cup:

…and the excellent Rogue Recap: