Thursday, October 30, 2014

4th Annual N.C. Surf to Sound Challenge

Calling all Stand Up Paddleboard enthusiasts~some big names in the SUP world are headed to Wrightsville Beach soon! The N.C. Surf to Sound Challenge is set for Friday, October 31st through Sunday, November 2nd.

SUPers flock to Wrightsville Beach for the unique barrier island geography that is ideal for establishing a variety of challenging race-courses, both open ocean and inland waters. Amateur competitors will have the opportunity to rub paddles with other SUP athletes who are ranked nationally and internationally. There will be divisions for novice, intermediate and elite SUPers. They will be able to test their skills on one or more of the four courses. The most impressive is undoubtedly the 20-mile open ocean course that will have paddlers circumnavigating the waters off the beach strand and back around through the scenic areas along the inlet and Banks Channel.

The fact that the event’s kickoff coincides with Halloween only doubles the fun! Friday afternoon’s schedule includes hands-on skill clinics for all levels and a special spooky storytime complete with s’mores for the younger paddlers.

Although the Wrightsville Beach area enjoys mild weather throughout the year, late fall can throw some curves in the way of shifty winds, choppy water, and occasional precipitation. All of the elite competitors know that making it around the ocean buoy that marks the 6.5-mile mark is one of the biggest hurdles on the open water course. Elite SUPers from far and wide are expected to attend, including two crowd favorites.

Folks are looking forward to the return of Larry Cain, who is the three-time men’s champion in the 14-foot elite division. Event organizers also announced that Jessica Rando will be back this year. Rando is a Canadian Pan-Am Games Olympic level paddler and 12-foot elite division competitor and will be on hand to race and lead a few Friday afternoon clinics.

As the event’s official host, The Blockade Runner Beach Resort is also the namesake of a new race course. The 9-mile stretch, called the “Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship”, is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Banks Channel. Intermediate paddlers are looking forward to testing their skills on the 4-mile Harbor Island Outer Loop, which takes them on a scenic, yet demanding trek through Banks Channel, Motts Channel, the Intratcoastal Waterway and Lees Cut. The kids’ race is set for Saturday at 11;30 am on the Blockade Runner’s soundside beach course.

All in all, this event promises to deliver plenty of fun and excitement for all ages! One more activity to look forward to is the east coast premiere of filmmaker Brent Deal's H2MexicO, named 2014 Movie of the Year by SUP The Mag. For more information, including diagrams of the courses and registration forms, please visit the official website here:
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