World Champion SUP racer Michael Booth has just returned home after a successful two-week-long trip to the US. Boothy completed several exceptional clinics with Starboard partners on the East Coast before heading to Wrightsville Beach, NC for the Carolina Cup. The Aussie powerhouse put on a well-executed race to take the win, beating Carolina Cup legend Danny Ching by a 6-minute margin — and taking home his 4th consecutive victory at this challenging event.
A trip to the US to run clinics through Florida has been something Boothy has wanted to do for a long time — and in 2023 he was able to finally make it happen. Boothy recounts the East Coast clinic tour before heading to Carolina Cup;
Urban Kai – Tampa, Florida
To begin the trip I visited the great people at Urban Kai headed by Mike and Aimee to do some paddling and some SUP coaching. I then doubled up on the Surfski with Omar and The Surfski Foundation in Tampa. Only about a week before Mike and Omar connected to get things set up and I’m so glad I was able to make it happen. There was a healthy desire for people to learn, develop and hone in their paddling skills and best of all everyone was so lovely.
Jupiter – South Florida
It was then onto Jupiter to team up with Jeramie Vein and Blueline. I had sold out all my SUP footwork and technique clinics which were just so awesome. What a great location and crew of paddlers you all are. I have to say that Florida seems like the big location for SUP racing in the USA at the moment! Big thank you also to Hayley and Paul Nixon for putting me up and getting me organised for some Surfski lessons. I can see Surfski building and getting much strong with the world champ now living there after moving from South Africa.
The Goat Boater – Lake Wylie, SC
After a solid couple of days it was up to see Rob, Megan and all the crew at the Goat Boater in Lake Wylie, SC. I got to squeeze in my first event for the season and was very happy to blow the cobwebs out with a win. I am so pleasantly surprised with how extremely well run the event was. I said to Rob one evening that I thought I was going to turn up to the beach and hear a 3-2-1 go. But the event was world class and if you are ever nearby you should definitely take the trip! I also ran a race focus clinic, some one on ones and have some great catch ups with the Paddle League VIPs. Thanks again to all who made this part of the trip so special. What a place Cracker Jacks is!
Carolina Cup – Wrightsville Beach, NC
It was then onto Carolina Cup arguably my favourite event on the SUP race calendar. Weather was a bit all over the place during the trip but for the most part my clinics were seamless and got to coach some new and old faces. One thing about the Carolina Cup that I love the most is you get the full cross section of the SUP community. From beginners to pros, kids to 70 year olds and paddlers doing 5miles or 13miles for the first time. It’s such a supportive environment and and everyone finishes the event with a smile on their face. The community and the vibe is the thing that keeps me coming back year after year.
As far as the racing goes I had a well executed race from start to finish with no mistakes which you don’t get to say very often. I led out off the beach, I turned strong, I pushed the first bit to get a gap, nailed it through the first inlet, kept a great average on the inter coastal and finished off strong. Based on my training program leading into the event it wasn’t perfect but I guess it never is. Overall I was quietly confident I would have a solid performance despite the less than ideal lead up. One of my favourite quotes at the moment is “90% of life is just showing up, the other 10% is finding out what happens when you get there”. I feel this resonates with this performance quite well. With lots of travel, clinics, moving into our home, finishing off the surf season and a whole host of other things it was a very fulfilling performance for me. It was also my 4th win from the last 4 attempts, which is really special.
Thanks to Mark and his team at Carolina Cup from running such a great event and thanks to Tony and the team at Starboard Nth America for looking after me. See you next year.
My board choice was the 2023 14’0” x20.5” All Star, Lima XL with 35 shaft.
Photo credit: Hendy Street
Now it’s time for me to head home, see the family and reset for Surfski Molokai on the 29th of May. Then the focus will switch back to SUP for some more clinics and racing in Europe. Thank you to my sponsors Starboard SUP, Shaw & Partners Financial Services, Vaikobi Ocean Performance, VMG Blades & BOOTH Training.
Thanks, everyone for following along and giving me endless support. I really do appreciate it.