by Mimi Montgomery
Spring is here, and it’s officially time to get outdoors again. The West Marine Carolina Cup presented by SurfTech is the largest stand-up paddle board (SUP) event in the world, and takes place in Wrightsville Beach April 19-24. In its sixth year, the event consists of four different races and courses and brings an international list of who’s-who in the outdoors world to the North Carolina coast. But you don’t have to be a pro to participate – there’s something for everybody. Participants can choose from the kids’ race, the Harbor Island 3.5-mile race, the Money Island 6.5-mile race, and the elite 13.2-mile Graveyard race.
Don’t feel like competing? A series of demonstrations and clinics run throughout the weekend, allowing enthusiasts to try out the latest in SUP gear, take a training course in SUP yoga, or head out to the water for a hands-on class with some of the best racers in the world. Plus, it’s all for a good cause: The Cup sponsors Ocean of Hope, a group of paddlers and ocean-lovers who dedicate their races to raising funds for and awareness about the Sarcoma Alliance, which raises money for research on the connective tissue cancer.
If you aren’t able to make the two-hour drive east that weekend, there are plenty of SUP opportunities nearby. Head to Apex Outfitter and Board Co. to get everything you need for a day of paddling. Owners Kyle and Megan Denis are genuine outdoor and action sports enthusiasts, and if it’s not in their store, they’ll go out of their way to help you find it. Plus, they’ll hook you up with guides and suggestions to some of the best spots nearby to take your new board out for yourself. Paddle on.
April 19 – 24; wrightsvillebeachpaddleclub.com/carolina-cup
Apex Outfitter and Board Co.
225 N. Salem St., Apex; apexoutfitter.com