Local Knowledge and Experience Win the Day at 2021 Carolina Cup

2021 Graveyard Course champion, Danny Ching. | Photo courtesy: Laura Glantz / Carolina Cup 2021 Graveyard Course champion, Danny Ching. | Photo courtesy: Laura Glantz / Carolina Cup

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, North Carolina - Whilst the Coast Guard called for a modified racecourse on Saturday morning due to the hectic conditions in the ocean, the athletes were still put through their paces with 20 mph winds, 40 mph gusts and a relentless current in what was an epic, challenging and entertaining race for the Graveyard course.

After New Caledonia’s Titouan Puyo led the men’s pack for most of the race, with Japan’s Shuri Araki hot on his heels, 4x Graveyard race champ and paddle sports legend Danny Ching and Tamas Buday came out of nowhere and claimed 1st and 3rd place, after taking the inside line that protected them from the ruthless conditions.

“I just tried not to lose the race in the first hour which was the downwind and the turn. I ended up a little further behind than I hoped, but I conserved enough energy and took a good enough line to reel them back in. Luckily only a handful of guys took the line I was on and none of them were in front of me,” said Ching.

2021 carolina cup graveyard april zilgHometown hero April Zilg fighting through the pain to win her first Carolina Cup victory. | Photo courtesy: Laura Glantz / Carolina Cup

North Carolina’s very own April Zilg had a similar idea and swept the women’s pack by taking the inside line, beating out USA’s Kim Barnes and Japan’s Rika Okuaki, who were left to fight the upwind paddle.

April reflects on her first ever Graveyard Race win: “It is a very emotional win for me. This was the first race I ever did, and the first time I did it, I didn’t even finish. It has been my dream to win the Carolina Cup since the first day I picked up a paddleboard, so it feels amazing to achieve that.”

Check out the video recap for the Graveyard race below.

APP Ocean Sprints

Day Two of the Carolina Cup saw the APP Ocean Sprints take place for elite and professional paddlers. After 30-knot winds called for a modified and shortened racecourse, the APP sprints saw athletes go out through 6-foot surf to do one buoy turn before they returned back through the surf for a beach sprint to the finish line.

The men’s title was claimed by Hawaii’s Connor Baxter after he battled with an all-star line-up in the men’s final, which consisted of 2019 World Champion Casper Steinfath, 2018 World Champion Arthur Arutkin and Red Bull Heavy Water stand out Christian Andersen.

2021 carolina cup app ocean sprints connor baxter christian andersenChristian Andersen (left) and Connor Baxter (right) going head-to-head in the sprints. | Photo courtesy: Laura Glantz / Carolina Cup

In one of the most exciting finishes in some time, a set wave came through that could have given Casper Steinfath and Arthur Arutkin the chance to catch leaders Connor Baxter and Christian Andersen. However, it was not to be, as Casper and Arthur were unable to hold on as the set wave peaked and bucked them off, leaving Baxter and Andersen to battle it out to the finish. On a neck and neck sprint to the finish line, Andersen tripped, leaving the door open for Baxter to claim both the sprint and overall title.

“Christian had the right line, but I had the long legs and his little stumble ended up giving me the win. Without that stumble it would have been a dive to the finish line,” said Baxter.

After a stellar performance on Day One of the Carolina Cup, local legend April Zilg came back for another win in the APP Sprints, making it a clean sweep of the weekend for Zilg. Also on the podium for the women’s sprints was Japan’s Rika Okuaki, who placed 2nd, and Peru’s Giannisa Vecco, who placed third.

The success story of the weekend though, is 15-year-old Shuri Araki, aka Shrimpy, who travelled thirty-five hours from Japan to compete in the Carolina Cup. After beating multiple World Tour veterans throughout the weekend, he is returning to Japan with a 3rd place overall after an incredible performance that ranks him with the best in the world. Check out the sprints video recap below.


The Graveyard Race

Male Division Winners:

  1. Danny Ching, CA, USA
  2. Titouan Puyo, New Caledonia
  3. Tommy Buday, Canada
  4. Shuri Araki, Japan
  5. Connor Baxter, Maui, HI
  6. Itzel Delgado, Peru
  7. Daniel Hasulyo, Hungary
  8. Kaelan Lockhard, Australia
  9. Tyler Bashor, CA, USA
  10. Arthur Arutkin, France

Female Division Winners:

  1. April Zilg, NC, USA
  2. Kimberly Barnes, FL, USA
  3. Okuaki Rika, Japan
  4. Juliette DuHaime, Argentina
  5. Kattie Carpenter, Grand Rapids, MI
  6. Wendy Tillett, Quebec, Canada

APP Ocean Sprints

Male Division Winners:

  1. Connor Baxter, Maui, Hawaii
  2. Christian Anderson, Denmark
  3. Arthur Arutkin, France
  4. Casper Steinfath, Denmark
  5. Josh Riccio, Maui, Hawaii
  6. Shuri Araki, Japan
  7. Itzel Delgado, Peru
  8. Rai Taguchi, Japan

Female Division Winners:

  1. April Zilg, Lake Hyco, NC
  2. Rika Okuaki, Japan
  3. Giannisa Vecco, Peru
  4. Juliette DuHaime, Argentina
  5. Caroline Kuntzel, Denmark

Money Island SUP 14’

Male Overall Winners:

  1. Steve Phillips, Wilmington, NC
  2. James Nickerson, Lender, TX
  3. Austin Winkler, Charleston, SC

Female Overall Winners:

  1. Jenna Blackburn, Wilmington, NC
  2. Kristin Thomas, Laguna Beach, CA
  3. Stella Gan, Canada

Harbor Island SUP 14’

Male Overall Winners

  1. Jeff Berry, Rochester, NY
  2. Steve Johnston, Wilmington, NC
  3. Don Finn, Walls, NJ

Female Overall Winners

  1. Rachel Cantore, Bluffton, SC
  2. Karin Helfmann, Atlanta, GA
  3. Brittany Carey, Annapolis, MD

Stay tuned for full highlights and photos at @appworldtour and for full results click here.

About the APP World Tour & Waterman League International

The APP World Tour is the Professional World Championship Tour for the Sport of Paddlesurfing (also known as SUP / Stand Up Paddling / Paddleboarding), officially sanctioned by the IOC recognized Federation for Surfing Sports, the ISA (International Surfing Association). Re-branded in 2017 as the APP World Tour (previously known as the Stand Up World Tour and Series) the APP has been crowning the sport’s World Champions for both Men & Women across Racing and Surfing since 2010.

The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and Fox Sports Asia & Australia. More Information is available at appworldtour.com and fans can follow events @appworldtour on Facebook & Instagram.

Last modified onTuesday, 09 November 2021 15:08

Submit your news, events, and all SUP info, so we can keep promoting and driving the great lifestyle of stand up paddling, building its community, and introducing people to healthier living.

Website: supconnect.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.