By Mark Schmidt, wrightsvillebeachpaddleclub.com
Larry Cain is a paddle monster. At age 21, Cain captured the Gold medal in sprint canoe for Canada in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games. Today, at age 54, Cain is three-time and reigning standup paddleboard champion in the 31-mile Tennessee River Chattajack, and winner of four of the past six titles in the elite 6.5-mile North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge.
November 3-5, 2017, Larry Cain returns to North Carolina to defend his 2016 Surf to Sound Challenge title in Wrightsville Beach NC.
The Challenge begins on the beach with elite paddlers sprinting into the Atlantic Ocean, battling the open sea to the mouth of Masonboro Inlet, navigating through the inlet’s rushing and unstable waters, then grinding through channel currents to the finish line at Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
“It’s like a condensed version of the Graveyard Race at the Carolina Cup in the spring,” said Cain.
Surf to Sound is a weekend of family activities, paddle clinics, vendor displays, and races designed to include all skill levels. “Every race, whether you’re paddling inside or outside, throws unique obstacles to test you – waves in the ocean, inlet waters, wind, tides, all kinds of interesting and fun challenges,” said Cain. “Wrightsville Beach is such a beautiful place to paddle and the water is better than virtually anywhere I’ve ever seen.”
Other races on the weekend schedule include the scenic 4-mile Harbor Island Outer Loop, circling Harbor Island; the 9-mile Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship, challenging the endurance of experienced paddlers; the 11-mile Froth Race, a new soundside and ocean race designed especially for experienced ocean canoe and surfski racers; and the popular Kid’s Race, for children 7 to 14.
“I started training seriously for sport when I was 14 years old and have followed a training program since that time,” said Cain. “I got to the highest level in my first paddle sport, and never let myself go when I retired. My first standup paddleboard race was the Cold Stroke Classic in Wrightsville Beach in January of 2011. I feel best when I’m active and moving, so I’ve been able to maintain that level of fitness to a large degree that I built up as an Olympic athlete.”
A science and sports teacher for 18-years and trainer of the Canadian national kayak team before the Rio Olympics, Larry Cain now coaches and trains a global school of 320 paddlers through an online subscription service. In addition to Cain, the coaching staff includes OC-1 World Champion Travis Grant of Australia; six-time World Surfski Champion Teneale Hatton of New Zealand; and Olympic strength coach, Chris Chapman of Canada.
A paddleboard clinic taught by Cain and open to the public will be soundside at Blockade Runner on Thursday and Friday before race weekend.
“It’s a privilege to travel all over the world and compete with people of different ages and backgrounds,” said Cain. “I love paddling and enjoy meeting everybody and sharing this common experience with them. I’ve always been on the water, and wake up every morning thankful that I found this sport.”
Presented by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club, North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge is hosted by Blockade Runner Beach Resort and sanctioned by the World Paddle Association (WPA).
The North Carolina Coastal Federation, supporting a healthy coast, is the designated charity for Surf to Sound Challenge.
For more information on the Challenge, visit wrightsvillebeachpaddleclub.com/surf-to-sound.