What a beautiful weekend of racing and celebration of the Sport!
Sunshine, good conditions, an all time international field and a strong cooperation with ICF has created a perfect start of the global season for SUP racing again!
2 days packed with action. Many different categories, courses and the absolute highlights : The 13.2 mile GraveYard Race of Saturday and Sunday’s Tech Race on the Ocean side, really had put all the participants at their limits.
It was amazing to come together with the best athletes of the world and once again battle through the ocean, inlets and never ending intercostal canals of Wrigthsville Beach, fighting for that TOP position.
I came to the race very strong and and in great shape ready to take podium, but my choice of equipment taught me a very valuable lesson. After training for almost a year on my favorite 2022 Sprint, I thought I was comfortable to hammer through the course with my missile and I actually thought that I would have an edge over the rest of the field because of my extreme board choice. The ocean had very different plans for me though, and as the only athlete with a dedicated flat water board, right at the start it got clear to me that I would have to work incredibly hard to keep the pace of the lead group that was just milking the bumps all the way to the inlet. This year we went left, meaning a longer ocean stretch at the start, which favored the boys on more all around boards, so when we hit the flat section of the race, the lead group already had a proper gap on me and it was my time to put the hammer down to try to close it.
I paddled the whole race alone, trying to catch the front group and although at times I felt I was really close, it became clear that my fight for the podium was gone for this year. At the same time I was feeling extremely good and strong and had no wish to stop, and I knew that some other athletes will get tired, while I don’t, so I took a few deep breaths and paddled my best all the way till the finish line, closing the gap, passing athletes one by one and coming in 8th once again securing a place on that prestigious TOP10 podium of one of the hardest races in the world.
I’m very happy with my performance and also very looking forward to the rest of the season, on the other hand I payed a big prize for my own decision, so now I’m more fired up then ever to come back next year, no more mistakes, with the right board and finish where I aspect myself to be!
Big congratulations to Michael for taking the win and all the participants for finishing such a grueling course.
Paddling alone for the whole race was definitely a mental challenge and I’m really happy that I gave my best and pushed the best out of the board in those conditions! You win or you learn they say, well I got my lesson 🙂
The weekend had incredibly good vibes both days, the water was super blue, not too strong wind and a little swell rolling in, really made the Blockade Runner and the entire venue shine and Sunday it was all about beach racing!
Beach Start – Quick Bouyturns and some surf set stage for Epic battles, and it was an achievement of its own that the whole dream Team secured their place in the final (8 paddlers only). Connor, Noic, Michael and I all fought ourselves through the heats and semifinals and it was go time once again! In the final I had a flying start and with Connor and Noic by the side , we had a good lead. I got unfortunately stuck at the 3rd buoy, which cost me some time, so I wasn’t able to put foot on the podium, but still racing 7 of the best sprinters of the world and being up there all the way through really fired me up for the rest of the season and showed that the preparation set by SEPA Strength and Endurance Performance Academy is still the best and most professional support that as an athlete I can seek.
After 4months spent in Thailand, This next month I’ll be finishing my preparation in Bali, in rough conditions to be ready for a huge European summer season. Can’t wait for more racing to come and battle week in week out with the best of the best, and aim to collect as many victories as possible.
Carolina Cup was a blast and still one of my favorite competitions of all time.
A place that always leaves you a deep mark and big satisfaction! Can’t wait for the 2023 edition!
A big shout out to all organizers and volunteers to make this event possible. To ICF for showing interest and support of this amazing race