April 22, 2017
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Full Results: Titouan Puyo, Annabel Anderson Defend Carolina Cup Titles, Write New Chapter in SUP History

Carolina Cup

Titou, Boothy, Connor, Mo and Travis (photo: Leiza Wyrick)

Titouan Puyo and Annabel Anderson have defended their Carolina Cup titles after an extraordinary day of racing here in Wrightsville Beach, with Titou breaking away from an all-star field over the final mile to cement his reputation as one of the absolute finest paddlers on the planet, while Annabel won the duel with Fiona Wylde to claim her fifth-straight title and officially move up to ‘legend’ status.

In an extremely grueling race that had a bit of everything, Titou made the most of the difficult conditions by powering through the downwind section and helping control the pace in the brutal upwind legs, holding off the challenge from world number two Michael Booth, team mate Travis Grant, the Tahitian army and dozens more of the world’s best.

The ‘Graveyard’ course certainly lived up to its name today, with a mix of wind, waves and tidal currents playing havoc as the field was scattered around the 13-mile course.

Titou took off early and hit the inlet first with Connor Baxter, before Mo Freitas, Travis and Boothy closed a small gap to turn it into a race of five.

It looked like it would stay that way until Kelly Margetts, Georges Cronsteadt and Josh Riccio worked together to pull the chase group of 11 back up to the front. With the five leaders scrambling to react a move by Boothy and left paddling in slower water, the chase group took a smart line up the outside as the contenders battled their way through a normally-placid intercoastal waterway that looked more like Hood River today.

Unfortunately they were heading into the bumps, which made this year’s race a war of attrition and left big time gaps for those who couldn’t hang on to the back of the trains.

As the now 16-man lead train approached the southern inlet entrance for the paddle back out to the ocean and a final one mile downwind run to the start/finish line, the race turned on its head as pre-race favourite Michael Booth hit the wall and quickly started dropping ground to the leaders.

Tahiti’s raging bull Georges Cronsteadt, who along with Kelly and Josh was pivotal in helping close the gap on the lead five, hit the front and helped set a strong pace as the tension mounted.

The Tahitians were out in force today, and right beside Georges was the massively under-rated Steeve Tehiotaahta, while just a few metres further back was another ultra dark horse and Steeve’s Mistral team mate, Rete Ebb. Look out world: the ‘Tahitian Army’ has arrived.



Full replay of our Quickblade Live Stream

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With the contenders dropping off the back of the group one by one as the wind and current put drafting at a premium, it was clear the race would be won by a downwind paddler as the wind – which was forecast to fade during the day – had only strengthened as the race progressed and was now offering solid open ocean bumps in a perfect direction to the finish line at the iconic Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

As the top guys rounded the end of the rock wall, hit the open ocean and got their first good look at the finish line in the distance, the race was blown right open as defending champ Titou immediately connected with a long glide and started paddling away from the field stroke by stroke.

He would never be caught.

With each touch of his Quickblade paddle, the New Caledonian extended his lead after by connecting his NSP board with bump after bump after bump, holding off challenges from a hugely impressive Steeve, Georges, Connor and Travis.

In the end, Titou would paddle clear to officially win by 17 seconds and go back-to-back at one of the toughest, most prestigious and most competitive races on the planet.

I like to call Titou “Superstar” just because he’s so laid back and humble; this guy acts like anything but a star, however after today’s race that nickname is going to stick. It was a truly remarkable performance that will live long in the pages of SUP history.

The crazy part? The defending champ almost missed this race after a series of canceled flights saw him arrive in Carolina at the last minute.

Carolina Cup

Travis Grant, Georges Cronsteadt and Mo Freitas at the Carolina Cup (photo: McQuiston/SUP Racer)

In an epic 1-2 finish for Teams Quickblade and NSP, Travis Grant mirrored the finish from 12 months ago to claim second behind his good friend, however he only narrowly held off a supremely impressive Georges Cronsteadt, who once again showed he’s arguably the most under-rated paddler of all time in our sport. Georges now has three top three finishes at Carolina, something only Travis Grant and Danny Ching can also claim.

Steeve held off the world number one to claim 4th place for Team Mistral and announce himself as a genuine contender for the future. Just like Georges, Steeve comes from an outrigger (or va’a as it’s known in Tahiti) background and has supreme skills that will be hard to match once he gets his SUP technique 100% dialed. Tahiti would celebrate with three of the top 10 finishers after Rete came home in 9th, holding off three-time Carolina champion Danny Ching in the process.

Following Connor, it was a fantastic sixth-place finish from the very talented Vinnicius Martins, who absolutely loves downwind paddling. Vinni has finished as high as 4th at Molokai, so while today’s result may seem surprising to some, it should be absolutely no surprise to those who’ve followed the always-smiling Brazilian’s career.

There was a small gap back to the rest of the contenders, with Kelly Margetts holding off Josh Riccio (F-One) to give Team Sunova a seventh-place finish, while Rete and Danny Ching rounded out the top 10 and Martin Letourneur narrowly missed out in 11th.

But seriously: everyone that finished in the top 30 today deserves a medal, such was the depth of talent and difficulty of conditions.

– – – – – – – –

And while the women’s field was noticeably than the men’s smaller this year, Annabel’s achievement of a fifth-straight title is probably the real story of this whole event.

The Kiwi, coming off the back of a limited pre-season that was interrupted with a serious shoulder injury, helped control the pace along with Fiona for the first nine miles before putting on the after-burners and pulling clear to eventually win by two minutes.

But it was a brave fight from Fiona who had led the world number one into the inlet after a strong downwind leg. The tenacity she showed today proves Fiona will be a force in the women’s sport for many years to come. This is Finoa’s best result at the Carolina Cup and sets the Starboard team rider up for a big year to come.

Speaking of Team Starboard, today’s third-place finisher is definitely going to be one to watch this season: Olivia Piana from France.

Olivia only narrowly missed getting on the back of Annabel and Fiona as they entered the flats at the 4 mile mark, but despite paddling into the brutal headwind on her own, the Frenchwoman was only a minute behind Fiona at the finish. Keep a very close eye on Olivia at the EuroTour next month; she’s a serious contender.

Coming home fourth and making a mockery of my predictions was local hero April Zilg (Team Hobie), who showed a combination of talent, heart and local knowledge to claim a well-deserved fourth place finish that will solidify her position inside the top 10 and give the local community a big reason to celebrate tonight.

Carolina Cup

The top women at the 7th Annual Carolina Cup (photo: SUP Racer)

Another East Coaster, Seychelle Hattingh (Team SIC), rounded out the top five, while the highly under rated Lena Ribeiro from Brazil put in a massive effort to claim 6th place for Team Mistral. Lena flies well under the radar on the international scene, however she’s been continually improving over the past few years and now clearly knows how to mix it with the best.

Behind the Brazilian was New Zealander and ISA gold medalist Penelope Strickland who fought hard all day but couldn’t hold on to the lead groups.

Coming home 8th today and showing she’ll be one to watch on the EuroTour that starts in just seven days’ time was the ever-smiling Susak Molinero from Spain, giving boutique brand RRD a top 10 finish for the first time at one of The Majors.

Hood River local and future star Hannah Hill snuck inside the top 10 after making the most of the downwind bumps and holding firm in the flats, while young pocket rocket Lexi Alston paddled well beyond her years to give Team Hobie a spot inside the top 10.

Wow… what a race.

There will definitely be more stories to come out of this epic event over the next few days, but for now it’s time to join everyone at the after party and enjoy what this great festival is all about – a true gathering of the paddling community.

Huge thanks to Captain Haywood for driving the media boat and bringing us a front row seat of the action, and a massive thanks to Quickblade Paddles for presenting our live stream (you can watch the full replay just up above).

Thank you to West Marine and the Carolina Cup organisers for making this whole event possible. If you’ve never been here, add it to your bucket list for sure.

Fun times in Wrightsville.



Elite Graveyard Race: Men

(World Rankings and Battle of the Brands will be updated Sunday)

1Titouan Puyo2:08:1170.00
2Travis Grant2:08:2652.50
3Georges Cronsteadt2:08:3342.00
4Steeve Teihotaata2:08:3835.00
5Connor Baxter2:09:0829.75
6Vinnicius Martins2:09:2024.50
7Kelly Margetts2:09:4721.00
8Josh Riccio2:10:0417.50
9Rete Ebb2:10:2015.75
10Danny Ching2:10:2714.00
11Martin Letourneur2:10:3012.60
12Bruno Hasulyo2:10:5711.20
13Mo Freitas2:12:0710.50
14Arthur Arutkin2:12:579.80
15Trevor Tunnington2:13:339.10
16Chase Kosterlitz2:14:108.40
17Bullet Obra2:14:247.70
18Michael Booth2:15:287.00
19Giorgio Gomez2:15:366.30
20Martino Rogai2:15:575.60
21Paolo Marconi2:16:135.25
22Garrett Fletcher2:16:244.90
23Leonard Nika2:16:264.55
24Martin Vitry2:17:124.20
25Beau O'Brian2:17:503.85
26Tauhiro Bruno2:20:283.64
27Itzel Delgado2:21:453.43
28Larry Cain2:23:293.22
29Sam English2:26:103.01
30Bill Kraft2:26:212.80
31Tommy Buday Jr.2:27:002.66
32Jeramie Vaine2:27:342.52
33Zane Schweitzer2:28:362.38
34Brad Ward2:28:442.24
35Tim Warner2:30:382.10
36Jorge Quintana2:33:231.96
37Noa Hopper2:34:351.82
38Steve Miller2:36:471.68
39Joey Huempfner2:37:261.54
40Robert Hess2:37:411.40
41Harrison Deisroth2:37:441.33
42Caio Vaz2:37:471.26
43John Batson2:37:491.19
44Brent Schmidt2:37:531.12
45Justin Schaay2:38:171.05
46Fielding Pagel2:39:070.98
47Jim Terrell2:39:250.91
48Chad Gallagher2:42:400.84
49Eric Bednorz2:43:340.77
50Jeremy Whitted2:44:170.70
51Steven Bernstein2:45:390.00
52Andrew Skeoch2:45:510.00
53Bruce Lanteires2:46:180.00
54Warren Heil2:47:170.00
55Robin Delgado2:50:200.00
56Kodie Peekstok2:50:400.00
57Brandon van Elslander2:51:260.00
58Terry Smith2:51:340.00
59Toby Cracknell2:52:380.00
60Caleb Clark2:52:490.00
61Zach Rounsaville2:55:170.00
62Ben Gareiss2:56:490.00
63Anthony Galang2:57:470.00
64Steven Barry2:58:250.00
65Gary Rothe2:58:490.00
66Daniel Rapp3:03:220.00
67Ken Bowman3:04:010.00
68Russ Scully3:04:450.00
69Derek Schrotter3:05:170.00
70Tom Pace3:05:270.00
71John Sekas3:05:320.00
72William Sodano3:07:040.00
73Mike Hill3:08:190.00
74David Dean3:09:350.00
75Gabriel Decaran-Voigt3:10:060.00
76Adam Clark3:12:380.00
77Kyle Ellison3:14:350.00
78John Heidel3:18:240.00
79Nathan Champion3:21:400.00
80Ed Pierce3:22:390.00
81Adam Pollock3:23:330.00
82Chip Boggs3:23:420.00
83Ashton Williamson3:24:200.00
84Kurt Benson3:25:020.00
85Andy Anderson3:25:320.00
86Chris Willey3:27:550.00
87Ramon Mercado3:28:350.00
88Rob Moran3:30:350.00
89Jacob Crox3:33:120.00
90Jereme Dees3:34:090.00
91Erik Kauffman3:42:020.00
92Taylor Johnson3:44:270.00
93Matthew Nacy3:44:570.00
94Andy Weinbach3:46:370.00
95Jeff Henderson3:50:040.00
96Mark Herman3:51:460.00
97Adrian Angell4:09:240.00


Elite Graveyard Race: Women

1Annabel Anderson2:29:3860.00
2Fiona Wylde2:31:4645.00
3Olivia Piana2:32:5036.00
4April Zilg2:39:4330.00
5Seychelle Hattingh2:41:4125.50
6Lena Ribeiro2:43:2921.00
7Penelope Strickland2:47:5918.00
8Susak Molinero2:52:2115.00
9Hannah Hill2:53:5813.50
10Lexi Alston3:01:2712.00
11Maddie Miller3:01:5210.80
12Katherine Pyne3:04:179.60
13Stephanie Shideler3:06:009.00
14Carter Graves3:12:418.40
15Mary Howser3:21:297.80
16Sarah Sandstrom3:22:107.20
17Amy Clark3:22:236.60
18Daniela Castro3:22:286.00
19Alejandra Brito3:23:075.40
20Kate Lewis3:23:484.80
21Karen Kennedy3:24:454.50
22Puatea Ellis3:36:364.20
23Louanne Harris3:41:273.90
24Meg Bosi3:43:113.60
25Hailey Driver4:10:113.30


Harbor Island Race (3 mile)

Congratulations to everyone that completed the classic 3 mile course around Harbor Island. This is a great entry-level race, however with today’s high winds it would have been a bit of a tough introduction to SUP racing for some!

We’ll post these results shortly. In the meantime you can get the raw results from all races on the official timing site.


Money Island Race (6 mile)

Congratulations to all the Money Island competitors. This would have been a real slog with a mix of upwind, downwind and side wind. This is a great race and a perfect mid-level challenge between the 3-mile Harbor Island and 13-mile Graveyard races.

We’ll post these results shortly. In the meantime you can get the raw results from all races on the official timing site.


Top Juniors

Congratulations to all the kids that came out to Carolina and showed us how great the future of our sport will be, especially those super groms that completed the almighty Graveyard race. Respect!

We’ll get these results together asap.