Full Recap Quiksilver Waterman Carolina Cup 2018

Last weekend saw 500 paddlers hit the water for the 2018 Carolina Cup, racers ranged between beginners, weekend warriors and the elite, and impressively on Sunday the numbers hit 700 with a number of surfskiers, and OC paddlers out to do the Graveyard race.

The weekend was crammed full of racing, paddling clinics run by the elite paddlers, excellent demos and a nice after party! It made the weekend have an air of a paddle festival, all achieved with the¬†fantastic support from title sponsor Quiksilver Waterman, who helped elevate the event, along with the scores of industry brand support and several other mainstream sponsors.¬†Here is a round up of the action brought to you from the Paddle League’s Chris Parker.

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

This years Carolina Cup had a record field of elite competitors which set up an exciting race that didn‚Äôt disappoint, the conditions varied from strong ocean downwinder to calm flat water. In the intial stages¬†Mo Freitas broke free in the one mile ocean ‚Äúsprint‚ÄĚ to the inlet entrance, however he was closely matched by Titouan Puyo, Connor Baxter, Travis Grant, Lincoln Dews and Danny Ching. In the inlet¬†Michael Booth and Georges Cronsteadt quickly dragged the peleton back together to create a front pack of 17 guys that stuck together for the first 10 of 13 miles.

The pace was mellow in the long, flat back straight of the intercoastal waterway, with several of the contenders chatting and many top guys commenting post-race about how fun it was, Travis Grant stated that¬†‚ÄúIt was like a Sunday morning training session for a couple of miles there‚ÄĚ .¬†

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

The pace soon picked up as the racers caught site of the ocean,¬† as the paddlers turned the corner into the ocean to begin the downwind section of the race. At this point the field totally scattered in final 3 mile ocean leg when those who were just hanging on quickly dropped away.¬†Michael Booth then made his move and¬†held off the traditional ocean masters Travis Grant and Titouan Puyo in the 3 mile downwind leg home to record a well-deserved victory and prove he‚Äôs an all-round all-star athlete.¬† This race was seen as redemption for Michael Booth after his race result¬† in the Air France Paddle Festival in Tahiti two weeks ago and a disappointing Carolina Cup 12 months ago, with Boothy adding ‚ÄúThis is definitely my biggest win yet‚ÄĚ.¬†Michael Booth is now the ratings leader on The Paddle League World Rankings.

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

Then in one of the most exciting finishes we’ve ever seen, 2nd placed Travis Grant and 3rd placed Mo Freitas closed the gap to a few metres in the final then we saw a frantic 250 metre sprint from between them from the final marker buoy to the beach finish. Throughout the race we saw several big names surprisingly dropped off the pace, a clear  sign of how competitive the field was, number one seed Connor Baxter finished outside the top 15 in a race that has become his achilles heel.


Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

In the Women’s elite race it was arguably the most competitive women‚Äôs field ever assemble, with the notable absence of¬†number one seed and five time champ Annabel Anderson (injured) a fresh winner was guaranteed. German Powerhouse paddler¬†Sonni H√∂nscheid¬†stepped up and dominated from start to finish, catching early leader starboard rider¬†Fiona Wylde then Sonni broke away at the five mile mark and never looked back.¬† German paddler Sonni¬†looked equally comfortable in the flat and the bumps to finish with a good lead.

This was Sonni’s second win from the first two stops of The Paddle League World Tour after her similarly-dominant display in Tahiti two weeks ago. 2nd place Fiona Wylde tried to chase her down but was eventually caught by the peleton. 425 pro paddler Olivia Piana paddled exceptionally well all day and took second place after overpowering Fiona in the second half

Hometown hero April Zilg received biggest cheers of the day after crossing an impressive fourth, Seychelle Hattingh made a great comeback in the ocean to finish 5th. Veteran Candice Appleby came in strong in 6th, with Terrene Black who settled for 7th. Young gun Shae Foudy rounded in 8th in a rough day when the veteran athletes dominated; new star on the block Jade Howson was 11th, which highlights just how competitive the field was.

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

Two dark horses snuck into the top 10,  Japanese paddler Yuka Sato AKA the smiling assassin came in 9th she was looking set for a top three spot before fading in the rough ocean finish, and the highly under-rated Laura Quetglas from Spain, who runs the largest junior training squad in Europe (on the island of Mallorca) came in at 10th place.

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

On Sunday the outrigger canoes and surfskis took over for a loop around the infamous Graveyard course. In the mens OC race Travis Grant beat an all-star field in the men’s event to go one spot better than he did on Saturday, with 1st place. Danny Ching was a very close second, just seconds behind after almost two hours of racing, while 425 pro racer Georges Cronsteadt was third and young guns Ryland Hart and Harrison Deisroth rounded out¬†the top five.

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League

Hometown hero April Zilg took out the women’s OC-1 event ahead of Leah Ching,¬† In the surfski race¬†while Michael Booth claimed the weekend double with a win the surfski,¬†Nate Humberston came in 2nd¬† and¬† legend surskier Oscar Chalupsky came in 3rd.¬†Kata Dismukes¬† came in 1st in the ladies Surfski.

Photo Credit: Georgia Schofield / Paddle League


ELITE MEN (13 miles / 21km)

1st: Michael Booth (2:03:14) Australia/Starboard

2nd: Travis Grant (2:03:21) Australia/NSP

3rd: Mo Freitas (2:03:27) Hawaii/Rogue

4th: Titouan Puyo (2:03:43) France/NSP

5th: Georges Cronsteadt (2:03:49) Tahiti/425

6th: Marcus Hansen (2:04:51) New Zealand/NSP

7th: Lincoln Dews (2:05:02) Australia/DEEP

8th: Niuhiti Buillard (2:05:25) Tahiti/SIC

9th: Bruno Hasulyo (2:05:30) Hungary/Starboard

10th: Danny Ching (2:05:35) USA/404

WOMEN ELITE (13 miles / 21km)

1st: Sonni Hönscheid (2:20:35) Germany/Starboard

2nd: Olivia Piana (2:23:38) France/425

3rd: Fiona Wylde (2:25:19) USA/Starboard

4th: April Zilg (2:28:26) USA/Hobie

5th: Seychelle (2:29:22) USA/SIC

6th: Candice Appleby (2:30:39) USA/Infinity

7th: Terrene Black (2:30:40) Australia/ECS

8th: Shae Foudy (2:31:32) USA/Infinity

9th: Yuka Sato (2:34:34) Japan/Starboard

10th: Laura Quetglas (2:37:19) Spain/Starboard


About the Author

Helen Trehoret

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, France with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.

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