It's CAROLINA WEEK!!!
I can't wait to get to my home stomping grounds and compete in both the Carolina Pro-Am and the Carolina Cup.
The Salt Life Carolina Pro-Am is one of the biggest SUP Surfing competitions on the East Coast, and after a 1-year hiatus, its back and ready do dish out some awesome conditions and competition. Not to mention, it's now a qualifying stop for the APP World Tour.
The Carolina Cup is the largest SUP race on the East Coast in terms of pro-athlete attendance, (and it was in terms of weekend-warrior paddlers in the past before the price jumps). I'll be there all week available for one-on-one clinics and my FAMOUS (alright, maybe infamous) "Local's Guide to Masons Inlet" clinic:
If you’ve wanted to try the Graveyard but you’re worried about Mason’s Inlet, then this is the clinic for you. Learn the in’s & out’s (pun intended) of this challenging section of the course. There’s breaking waves, rollers, shoals, channels, eddies, and double ups. Regardless of the direction the course is run this year, it’s good to be acquainted with the area! After covering surf zone safety on land, this 2.5 hour clinic will be mostly on the water. As a group, you will paddle the north and south sides of the inlet, discovering sandbars and channels so that you can select a line that you’re comfortable with: whether you want to surf in/punch out, or never encounter a breaking wave… both are possible! Paddlers can expect to walk away with a newfound confidence in this area of the course, local knowledge about the tides and sand bars, and improved water reading abilities. Previous paddle experience is required. (This is a course geared towards paddler wanting to make the jump from the 6 mile to the 12 mile course that are not worried about the distance, but are worried about the conditions. Thank you for understanding.).
I'll be sticking around in the deep south for one more week after the Carolinas to hit the Salt Life Riverfest in Columbus, GA. I'm super excited for the new race course that will incorporate the rapids this year for the Elite racers! Its a beautiful town oozing with southern charm, I can't wait to get back for some good food! The drive isn't bad, and fresh fruit stands are abundant this time of year lining the roadsides. Georgia peaches, anyone?
In case you were wondering what the plan is when I get there, I'm gonna tell you. Like only a LOCAL can. I realize most people don't have a ton of time when they travel for events. So I'm going to give you the TOP2 for each event. That's only 2 things you MUST do when you're there. One is food related, the other is an activity. Go:
SouthEnd Surf Shop: Stop in between heats to grab healthy snacks, coffee, and relax out of the beaming Carolina Sun.
Trip to Masonboro Island: This 9-mile long uninhabited island is beautiful and quiet. If you can snag a ride across the inlet, you can get further down the island where the likelihood of seeing another human diminishes. If no boat is available, you can easily paddle your SUP to the north side. The surf is great over there and you don't have a lot of sharing to do.
SurfBerry: I always need a fresh acai bowl in the days leading up to a big race, and then again for post-race recovery. It calms the nerves, lol.
Mason's Inlet: Even if you're not doing the Graveyard, this is a spot to check out. It's some of the best technical paddling you can do depending on the day (it can also be glassy flat, or adrenaline-pumping dangerous). With the right sand bars and swell, you could surf up to a quarter mile on your SUP. If you've never been, and you want some help getting acquainted, my clinic or a private session is a good option!
RiverFest with Salt Life
7th Street Provisions: Treat yourself to a nice night out. Walk the historic streets to 7th Street where you'll be treated with some southern fusion.
Chattahoochee RiverWalk: Take some time to hit the River Walk trail. At a minimum do the section that borders the SUP race course and take in the southern scenery. If you like to jog, keep heading south... the whole thing is 15 miles!!! More info HERE.
Other DAMN GOOD FOOD near Wrightsville Beach:
Drift Coffee (cute and good coffee)
Sweet and Savory (best southern comfort food, not unhealthy)
Waterman's Brewery (beer)
Epic Food (Healthy, quick, cost effective. Also good coffee and smoothies)
Lovey's Cafe (Where to buy food OR Supplements and all healthy-athlete things)