Michael Booth wins SUP event in Carolina

Michael Booth - Winner of the Elite SUP Race in Carolina
  • Record field of elite competitors set up an exciting race that didn't disappoint

  • Conditions varied from strong ocean downwinder to calm flat water

  • Mo Freitas broke free in the one mile ocean "sprint" to the inlet entrance, however he was closely matched by Titouan Puyo, Connor Baxter, Travis Grant, Lincoln Dews and Danny Ching

  • 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

  • Course was reversed this year (clockwise around Wrightsville "island") to make most of wind and tides. First time since 2014

  • 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 ( "It was like a Sunday morning training session for a couple of miles there." -- Travis Grant)

  • Pace soon picked up as the leaders neared the end of the flat stretch

  • Field totally scattered in final 3 mile ocean leg when those who were just hanging on quickly dropped away

  • Michael Booth made his move as soon as they entered the ocean

  • Boothy 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's an all-round all-star athlete

  • Redemption for Michael Booth after his capitulation in Tahiti two weeks ago and a disappointing Carolina Cup 12 months ago. " This is definitely my biggest win yet." -- Michael Booth

  • Michael Booth now the ratings leader on The Paddle League World Rankings

  • In one of the most exciting finishes we've ever seen, Travis Grant and Mo Freitas closed the gap to a few metres in the final, frantic 250 metre sprint from the final marker buoy to the beach finish

  • Many paddlers simply described the race as "fun" given the downwind conditions and relatively calm racing in the flat stretches; Titouan Puyo - "It was so much fun! Good downwind and mellow flat water."

  • Several big names surprisingly dropped off the pace: in a 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

Powering through on the Starboard Race SUP
Powering through on the Starboard Race SUP


  • Arguably the most competitive women's field ever assembled

  • Without number one seed and five time champ Annabel Anderson (injured) a fresh winner was guaranteed

  • Sonni stepped up and dominated from start to finish, catching early leader Fiona Wylde then breaking away at the five mile mark and never looking back.

  • The German powerhouse looked equally comfortable in the flat and the bumps

  • This is 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

  • Sonni is now the ratings leader on The Paddle League World Rankings and will be very hard to stop in the hunt for the world title

  • Fiona Wylde tried to chase her down but was eventually caught by the peleton

  • Olivia Piana paddled exceptionally well all day and took second place after overpowering Fiona in the second half

  • Fiona surfed the bumps home for third place and was all smiles post-race "I've never had so much fun in Carolina!"

  • 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 still looking strong in 6th

  • Terrene Black had looked a strong podium contender all race but had to settle 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

  • Two ultra dark horses rounded out the top 10: Yuka Sato from Japan (the "smiling assassin") who 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)

  • Truly international field, with the top 10 women hailed from 6 different nations (similar story in the men's race: 7 different nations in top 10)


  • Another hugely successful year for the Carolina Cup

  • Sunny blue skies in Wrightsville Beach all week produced a great atmosphere this year

  • 500 paddlers hit the water in Saturday's races between the beginners, weekend warriors and elite. That number is expected to hit 700 by Sunday afternoon

  • Sold out clinics, movie premieres, demos, parties. This isn't a race, it's a festival.

  • The event continues tomorrow with the kids racing and hotly-contested OC-1 race where many big names (Danny Ching, Travis Grant, Titouan Puyo, etc) will back up to try the double

  • The Elite Graveyard Race was the second stop of The Paddle League World Tour

  • See the Thursday/Friday photo galleries for lifestyle shots

  • Fantastic support from title sponsor Quiksilver Waterman who have helped elevate the standing of this event, along with the scores of industry brand support and several other mainstream sponsors


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 H?nscheid (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

HARBOR ISLAND MEN (3 mile open race)

1st: David Young

2nd: Jeff Berry

3rd: Dylan Henry

4th: Campbell Carter

5th: Mitch Cherry

HARBOR ISLAND WOMEN (3 mile open race)

1st: Tabitha Price

2nd: Samantha Stewart

3rd: Elle Newkirk

4th: Stella Gan

5th: Erin Fitzpatrick

MONEY ISLAND MEN (6 mile open race)

1st: Jeremy Whitted

2nd: David Slemp

3rd: Justin Schaay

4th: Steve Phillips

5th: Mike Taber

MONEY ISLAND WOMEN (6 mile open race)

1st: Heilani Cronsteadt

2nd: Kim Hillhouse

3rd: J Deriggi

4th: Meg Bosi

5th: Lindsay Cook