Crossing the finish line just four seconds ahead of four-time champion Danny Ching of California, Australian Michael Booth seized his third title in the grueling 13.2-mile Carolina Cup Graveyard Race.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s April Zilg powered to her second consecutive Graveyard Race victory with an almost one-minute margin over internationally ranked elite paddlers Kimberly Barnes of Florida and Candice Appleby of California.
“It feels amazing and surreal to come back and repeat the Carolina Cup win on the actual Graveyard course,” said Zilg. “In 2021, the course was modified due to severe weather conditions. I am usually happy and prevail in very challenging conditions. This year was challenging for me because the conditions were better, and that’s not usually my strong suit. So, I knew that it was going to be a very tough race. But it went well.”
Attracting amateur and professional athletes from the South Pacific, Asia, Central America, South America, Hawaii, Europe, Canada, and the United States, Carolina Cup is one of the largest and most prominent paddle sporting events globally. Organized by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club and presented by Kona Brewing Company, five days of exhibitions, demos, clinics, and races were based at Blockade Runner Beach Resort, April 27-May 1, 2022.
The Graveyard Race Top Ten
Men’s Elite Division:
1. Michael Booth, Australia
2. Danny Ching, CA, USA
3. Shuri Araki, Japan
4. Ty Judson, Australia
5. Connor Baxter, Hawaii, USA
6. Itzel Delgado, Peru
7. Eri Tenorio, Brazil
8. Daniel Hasulyo, Hungary/Thailand
9. Bodie Von Allmen, Oregon, US
10. Tim Oliver, Ontario, Canada
Women’s Elite Division:
1. April Zilg, North Carolina, USA
2. Kim Barnes, Florida, USA
3. Candice Appleby, California, USA
4. Stephanie Schideler, Long Island, NY
5. Abby Baker, California, USA
6. Juliette DuHaime, Argentina
7. Emilie Fournel, Montreal, Canada
8. Regan Littell, New Jersey, USA
9. Jenna Blackburn, North Carolina, USA
10. Madeline LeBlanc, Ontario, Canada
This year, the International Canoe Federation and Carolina Cup partnered to have the Technical Sprint and Graveyard Race serve as pre-qualifiers for the ICF World Series in Poland. Four ICF world champions competed in the 2022 Carolina Cup races – Connor Baxter, Michael Booth, Noic Garioud, and Ty Judson.
Hawaii’s Connor Baxter and North Carolina’s April Zilg won their second consecutive Carolina Cup Technical Race this weekend. Technical races are on an oceanfront course entering and exiting the surf and testing all the paddler’s skills in one event, including surfing, speed, and steering capabilities.
“For spectators, the Technical Sprint is the most exciting event for SUP when it comes to ocean racing,” said Event Manager and announcer Dan Gavere. “Unlike 2021, we had both elite and recreational racers in the Technical Sprint this year, and I believe it will continue to grow.”
The Technical Sprint Top Finishers
1. Connor Baxter, Hawaii, USA
2. Noic Garioud, New Caledonia
3. David Leao, Brazil
4. Shuri Araki, Japan
5. Ty Judson, Australia
6. Michael Booth, Australia
7. Daniel Hasulyo, Hungary/Thailand
8. Eri Tenorio, Brazil
1. April Zilg, North Carolina, USA
2. Candice Appleby, California, USA
3. Abby Baker, California, USA
4. Juliette DuHaime, Argentina
5. Susan Krupa McCune, California, USA
With environmental issues top-of-mind to most watersport athletes, Carolina Cup attendees were attracted to an exhibit by Mechanical Engineering students from North Carolina State University. “We are introducing our new sand removal technology,” said NCSU student Edward Byers, CEO of a senior project design team. “It’s an air-power shower that uses a light mist and air to remove sand. The AirWave uses less than 1-percent of the water; it’s cheaper to operate than a traditional beach shower; and, it allows people to go inside or get in their car and not be soaking wet and uncomfortable.”
“The positive impact on the environment in water conservation and a reduction in wastewater could be significant,” said Mary Baggett, co-owner of Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
Complete lists of Carolina Cup race results with age groups and divisions are available at these links:
Source: Robert B Butler, North Carolina Press Release