Carolina Cup 2021

Extended vacation tour from Chattajack 2021


21 days of two event back to back. On October 20th I left for the Chattajack and did return home for 4 days before heading back out. Some of my scheduled servcice call gotten cancelled so decided to leave little early for additional time at Wrightsville, NC.

Social Fun

7am Start

It was 2017 Carolina Cup I met Tommy Allen at Graveyard starting line for the first time while he was volunteering the event. Then 2018, 2019 we just had fly by shaka at Carolina Cup each year. I just thought it was perfect time this year to leave little early and spend some time with Tommy.

It was quite easy as “I’m coming your way!” And he replies “When and , what time”. So here goes on Friday 7am I left to Wilmington, NC for about 11hrs drive.

Talking about same truck

Usually I split in two days for this trip but I was so excited to see Tommy so there it goes.

Once I arrived at Tommy’s house I realized we have same truck. Technically Tommy’s Ford Ranger and my Mazda B2500 with Ranger tailgate. We all know it’s all the same. Just different topper.

I made it around 6:30PM, tired and Karen fix me up some dinner plate. I crash pretty quick that night but ready for some paddle in the morning. So till Monday afternoon this was my humble home for 3 nights.

Paddle with Tommy

Tommy and Machine

What not to like about it! Paddle with Tommy finally in the book!. It was going to be a windy Saturday so we head before it’s gets too bad.

SUP surfing/Surfing kinda day

3.5miles to the beach and we were greet by the crazy waves. Wind was picking up so we knew heading back going to suck. Don’t let the old age fool you though, Tommy is quite a paddler at his age and paddles exceptionally well. I hope I will be the same when I hit Tommy’s age. 6.14miles with Tommy

We stop here and walk up to ocean side
Had to mark the territory
Machine – Karen- Tommy

Totally forgot that I was traveling during the Halloween so here I end up going to their neighbors party. I had nothing with me so I borrow and I was the Captain Machine.

Their neighbors was across the water and by car it will take 15min so we took small boat across. It took more time to undo the rope and ready to head out. It was fun meeting up no one I knew and they didn’t know Carolina Cup either.

Who is who I ask

Sunday was going to be a another windy day and night before Tommy told me about the Halloween Paddle at Wrightsville SUP. He wasn’t up for so I went quick drive to the shop and join the social paddle. 2miles of fun and new meet up this day. I don’t get to do much of social SUP paddle back home so that was nice treat.

We were going to do Harbor Island 5K but wind was picking up so we turn around and took downwinder instead.


Let me start off saying that been able to be part of the house is humble yet little VIP status. Well, we all pay our dues for staying at the house just been a limited numbers so there is that. Nothing special but hanging out with cool friends are priceless.

Monday 5pm to Monday 10am was our stay here at Wrightsville Beach. I had to make my way to the house in the

afternoon leaving Tommy’s House.


House is not far from the bridge and close to the Tower 7. House has dock straight to the sounds and easy to do 5k/Harbor Island or any for that matter . During the stay here we paddle around 20.5miles plus race miles. For me Money Island at 5.99miles so 26.49miles total.

Plenty of Infinity crew pic all week but palm tree is one of best photo to take if you ever paddle around the Wrightsville Beach. Make sure you paddle on low tide so that you can walk up on the tiny island.

Friday windy palm tree shot
Perfect palm island – KT and Machine

Story can go forever but before we change subject to race day here is one more story. Each day passes wind continue to pick up stronger and stronger. Friday we decide to go downwinder from the north inlet. Stella and I went to sound to navigate around while KOKO & KK went beach side back in . None the less both group had to fight the heavy head wind before we can start our downwinders

We found sandunes
We capture some nice pic
Our route

Race Day

After 20month later and pandemic delays we are finally here for east coast ultimate race event. Like any other race event like Chattajack we sneak peak the weather app to see what is the condition of the race day. Wind never died since Wednesday which only grew stronger and stronger. Temperature was little more easier to predicted but we all knew water will be warmer. What we didn’t know was that “King Tide” was our way for the weekend. Here is an article from local news .

8:30am, Stella, Kristin and I launch from the dock which was already start to flood. Wind was even stronger, white caping and good waves before the race starts for both Harbor island & Money Island. We didn’t paddle much just let the wave take us to the race start and watch OC/Surfski started.

We already knew that race participants has either step down to Harbor island or decide not to race. As we approach to the beach it was gone by the high tide. Definitely amount of the board for either races was going to be small. For Money Island (10k) race it reduced from 158 to 52 (14, 12.6, Prone:male/female).

I watch the Harbor Island (5K) starts and looked pretty rough and going to be slow for them. Money Island was 9:10am start and after racer’s meeting was done I went out to secure the start line. First feeling of condition was okay but when I felt the side gust wind 30+mph and side chop it alert me quickly. I went close to the dock, sit down for second and check the time.

I had few minutes spare before 9:10am but all the sudden heard the gun and it was 9:07am. I had to start the speed coach and paddle first then hit the start button for the Garmin. Gust wind and @2~3’ wave was come and go with washing machine. I had a good start but it was rough for sure. Before the last bridge I went down with big wave crushing from the side while trying navigate to the dock. Water was warm and I lost the chip band on my left ankle. I saw the band going behind me and I just keep going forward.

Tide was so high going under bridge was like prone style . We had some traffic under the bridge and it was rough to get out. Crossing towards the palm section was rough with side winds and more washing machine. As I got close to the palm tree you see the downwinder . Corner at the palm tree was smoother and able to get a break for a change. Usually the bridge area is rough area but not this time. It was time to use downwinder smart way to catch up and let the boy rest a little. It was nothing like Gorge Downwinder but every bit of tail wind and wave was helping us. It was hard to connect the waves but I was taking advantage of the ride and the glide to shortening the distance who I was chasing down. Every time I see same paddler falling down It was my chance pass and keep the distance apart.

We all knew when we have to make the left turn going toward the south inlet we are going to hit from the side wind again. Support boat yelling stay on the left but I didn’t get the point because nothing is really sheltering at all once we headed north back to the bloackade. Once we are hitting north back the blockade it was brutally insane. I called it new Graveyard Money Island. Was I uncomfortable ? No just brutal to take the head wind straight at you. I look at speed coach once and I saw 1.5mph. Long stretch home was very long. I remember checking the time before left turn to outh inlet point and it was 1hr6min. After that it was pure grind and whatever it takes to finish line.

Just about all paddler gotten on their needs some point in this race so we had equal amount of fairness to finish the race. Personally didn’t want to be on my knees but If you were at this race you may have opted the same. I’m still working on going back to Grave Yard but I realize I need more work on rough condition despite this was not even Graveyard condition I remember from 2017 when I did it for the first time.

Graveyard course changed this year for 9miles in sounds due to safety of the paddlers and resource related matters. I believe Pro rider would go out and deal with the condition but for the safety for others that may led to this decision. Graveyard still came in @1:46:08 by Danny Ching.

Race Results

Podium moment

I definitely came in to the event to podium but with all the battle at the end I gotten little worried. It was such a grind and I focused on getting the race done and hope I have made it to the podium.

I was stunned to see my name up on the list and website was keeping going down for updates.

If you don’t know how Carolina Cup podium works then here is quick run down for you guys. There is no double dipping on medals since 2019 so if you made in the Overall Finisher Top3 you will be automatically eliminated from your age class.

As an example I was 1st place in 50-59 class for podium but Top 5 overall. There were two 50-59 and two 17-49 class in overall standing. Technically in your local races you will be 3rd places in your class with two 50-59 made Top 2 overall standing so that bumps me up to 1s place age class.

In 2019 I was Over all Top 3 in 12.6 Class so under 17-49 age class where two paddlers ( I was one of them) and one 17 and under so both of us got eliminated for the age class. Technically just in age class I was 2nd place in local races.

44 Paddler left the Money Island for 14‘ class!. Top 5 , 1st in age class is pretty good stats

Either ways I would have been podium so I’m pretty stoked !

50-59 class
Overall Finisher in 14’ Class


This year’s Carolina Cup was definitely not for everyone’s cup of tea! With that said it is important to make those hard decision who has been training along for 2021 wether to withdraw from the race or not. Phrase are often easily said such as “I’ve been training ” but each one should know well how much commitment you put in and how that reflects you . That’s competitive person in his/her head because we put lot’s of training time through out the year.

Me personally I wish I had little more rougher condition to train but “It is what it is”. Hoping the life will be returning more normal and able train outside my training ground soon.

For us living in 4 season states winter is moving in little early and calling out for drysuit. All my gear is ready to go as soon as I finish my active rest days.

Winter training is always been a vital part of growth so there is no such as thing as wait till spring or slacking your training. If you really want to change, be aggressive and commit yourself this winter season.

Bonus Story

What happened behind the scene at Infinity house during the high tide?. Wednesday afternoon I saw the first high tide flooding the street which was about below ankle high. I was ready to meetup for OneWheel ride with Julie Mitravich and had to find the way to the main street. So since Wednesday flood was continue to rise up and on Friday afternoon we were ready to pick up our race packet. We had to navigate around next house to find the way to keep our feet dry.

Saturday morning as we were ready to launch from the dock we just noticed the water is up to the grass at 8:30am and wind was blowing hard and white caping. We didn’t had to use the actual dock because we could launch at the end of the yard. So we did and left the house for the race. There were two people didn’t race and few other was just there.

Flood action #1
Flood action #3
Flood action #2
Flood action #4

So these are just some of the photos from different days and flooding happening on Saturday morning was high as 1.5’ or so. They were busy cleaning up all the items was on the floor and all the paddle blade against the wall.

So Saturday flooded for few hours for us and when we finished the race we need it ride back as we decide that paddling back against the wind was not our favor for 1/2miles. We called Brent and heard about flooding the house. We were cold and ready to get back home for a hot shower.

Once we got warm I started my truck and exhaust spits out salt water. I believe truck got flooded half of my wheel from what I see at exhaust line. Flooding did claim one vehicle own by KOKO and KK’s Volvo. They drove off and soon after their SUV died. They had to get picked up and SUV has to be parked for tow and Repair services.

Sunday was the APP Tour Sprint day and as we were leaving around 9am it was less flooded but it was coming up again. And this continue till Monday. With all the issues we had our house got extended till 2pm to leave the house. With one less car I had to transport KOKO & KK’s bags and board. With vehicle stranded at Volvo dealer KOKO had to stay for additional week to get repaired.

I was lucky enough to help them and others moving to the new house for Pro-am SUP surf race. My plan was to drive 7-8hrs to Knoxville and stay at friends house. As I left the Wilmington I keep hearing some noises from right and left. I was little worried it but didn’t seems to causing any issues so I drove to Knoxville.

Tuesday 10am in the morning ready to make last stretch home. As drove away from friends house I notice something was not right. I heard high pitch noise non stop and saw my anti-freeze was leaking little so just need tighten up the clamp. All the wheels looked fine and nothing alarming at that time so here I go.

145miles left in drive I decide to stop for lunch since I kinda missed the breakfast. Boom!. I lost the brake, brake pedal hit the floor. Good thing I drive manual, you can get by when this happens but I totally didn’t except this at all. I said to myself maybe brake booster gotten bad. I do have 21 year old truck just recently replaced to a brand new engine. I park my truck, pick up the food,I walk around the truck and nothing was leaking. I decided that I should go to Walmart parking lot across the highway just in case if I need some fluid. So I opened the hood and check brake , oil, anti-freeze fluid and all seems look just fine and dandy. So I decided get back on the highway but I was definitely more aware and decide to drive the slow lane.

About @40miles in exit 59 in I-75 ready to get on backroads and gas stop. I was able to get off and stop just fine and made a left turn up the hill to the BP gas station. Between the food pick up and this exit I started to noticed something was not right. As I pulled in to the gas station start to pump the gas then I need it to check the truck so fist thing I did was to walk around the truck.

Bam! Left front passenger side was taco little. I was stunned and got little bit scared as I almost the lost the wheel. Wheel bearing has gone really bad. I have packed the grease many times and never had this issues for 318K miles when engined died back in April of this year.

Little Taco
That’s pretty bad wheel bearing
AAA loves me for some reason

Again AAA to the help. I was 107miles away from home so I only had to cover 7miles overage and free ride back to home. Truck is 21 years old and just put 6K for engine etc so hoping insurance covers some value of the vehicle but that is still unknown. I know once thing is that truck will be get repaired.

I say what a crazy extended vacation became at the end but Podium always makes thing little brighter.

See you at Carolina Cup 2022