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Pausing for a selfie in the Los Angeles River.

Paddling headlines from around the world

Paddling is for everyone. Here’s what caught my eye in the last week.

Carolina Cup

The Carolina Cup in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina may have become the largest multi-disciplinary paddling event in the United States. 2018 was the Cup’s eight year for what has long been the largest SUP event on the East Coast. With the passing of the Battle of the Paddle in Dana Point and no dominant successor, the Carolina Cup has built on its momentum to fill the void for SUP racers while adding outrigger and surfski competitions to round out its portfolio as an all-inclusive paddling event.

Complete results from the full weekend of racing are not yet available online. Based on social media accounts, it looks like April Zilg won the women’s OC-1 Graveyard Race, Travis Grant took first in the men’s OC-1 and Michael Booth claimed first in the men’s surfski.

Results from Saturday’s SUP races include the following:

Men’ Graveyard SUP Race

  1. Michael Booth | 2:03:14
  2. Travis Grant | 2:03:21
  3. Mo Freitas | 2:03:27
  4. Titouan Puyo | 2:03:43
  5. Georges Cronsteadt | 2:03:49
  6. Marcus Hansen | 2:04:51
  7. Lincoln Dews | 2:05:02
  8. Buillary Niohiti | 2:05:26
  9. Bruno Hasulyo | 2:05:30
  10. Danny Ching | 2:05:35

Women’s Graveyard SUP Race

  1. Sonni Hönscheid | 2:20:35
  2. Olivia Piana | 2:23:38
  3. Fiona Wylde | 2:25:19
  4. April Zilg | 2:28:26
  5. Seychelle Hattingh | 2:29:22
  6. Candice Appleby | 2:30:39
  7. Terrene Black | 2:30:40
  8. Shae Foudy | 2:31:32
  9. Yuka Sato | 2:34:34
  10. Laura Quetglass | 2:37:19

In addition to the women’t elite top ten, it is worth highlighting that California junior paddlers Jade Howsen and Erika Benitez finished just outside the top 10 as #11 and #12, respectively.


Environmental awareness

Two sections of the Los Angeles River are open to paddling. Yes, paddling the concrete jungle, while not yet a thing, is possible. I’ve made a couple trips through the Glendale Narrows section in the past and am looking forward to returning to explore more of the river in the coming months. As a way of raising awareness of what the Los Angeles River can mean to the communities along its route, River LA, a Los Angeles non-profit committed to integrating design and infrastructure to bring people, water and nature together along all 51 miles of the Los Angeles River has initiated a novel concept, A Seat at the Table. In a city full of unique dining opportunities, this one easily ranks at the top of the list. Learn more about the work of River LA and how you can contribute by visiting them online at 

Great stories you may have missed

Genna Flinkman On Awareness and Redemption The top paddlers are people just like you and me, except they are completely focused on their goals and have a specific plan to get there. For Genna Flinkman with Team Infinity Canada, this includes leaving home in the winter to train for six weeks in California. Training is going well although there have not been many waves and her shoulder has been acting up. Flinkman injured her shoulder and practically everything else playing college basketball. Recently she partially dislocated  her shoulder playing goalie with her competitive women’s hockey team. Flinkman is learning to take it easy, giving her shoulder a break by introducing longboarding and mountain biking to her training regimen. Read!

OC-1 vs V-1 Outrigger Canoes: They kind of look the same, right? There has been a significant increase in interest in outrigger paddling the past few years. Many standup paddlers are expanding their horizons by trying outrigger canoeing, particularly in coastal regions home to an established network of outrigger clubs. Within the outrigger community itself, more paddlers have had the opportunity to travel and compete in exotic far away lands, most notably Tahiti, home to a strong outrigger paddling culture. Read!

Amevie Bamboo Sunglasses: Sustainable & Charitable The inspiration for Amevie came from owner Ana Caracaleanu’s personal struggle with an autoimmune disorder. The disorder made her extremely sensitive to UV rays, a side-effect that the Canadian unfortunately discovered during a four month hiatus in sunny Southern California. And so, Caracaleanu set out to create a line of quality sunglasses that were sustainably made. She built the company on three pillars: quality, sustainability and charity. Read!

Know Before You Go: River Paddling Essentials Paddling down a river or stream is a fun way to cover a lot of territory and add a bit of distance to your paddling regimen. You’ll gain a whole new perspective on your surroundings once you get out on the water as a new world opens up and reveals itself. I grew up paddling marathon canoes on creeks and rivers in Nebraska. The conditions ranged from narrow and generally shallow creeks near my home, the broad, but still shallow Platte River, to the wide and deep Niobrara River. Read!

Paddling events on the horizon

Last look

If you are an open water paddler or someone who enjoys downwinding, the Vaikobi Ocean Racing PFD is a must have. Here’s a look at my take on this game changing piece of gear.


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Matt Chebatoris
About Matt Chebatoris 227 Articles
Matt is a former national security professional and lifelong adventurer. He has published material on a variety of topics in the foreign policy arena and created PaddleXaminer™ as a platform to share his enjoyment of paddling with others. When not on the water, Matt can be found hiking along rugged mountain trails in the California wilderness. Matt resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, California.