Stand-up paddleboarding is an increasingly popular watersport on the
paddleboards have become increasingly popular on the shores of Cape
Hatteras over the last several years. They are versatile,
learn, and good in a variety of wind and water conditions.
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with many other watersports, Cape Hatteras is a perfect place for this
growing sport because paddleboarding is fun on the flat waters of the
Pamlico Sound but also in the surf on the ocean.
growing popularity of paddleboarding on the island, two Avon business
owners collaborated to bring the First Annual Paddle Palooza to the
Frisco Woods Campground earlier this month. Joe Thompson of Spa Koru
and Andy McKinney of Wind NC spent time over the winter planning the
“I wanted to do a race for sometime,” Andy says. “It just
took one of us to call the other to make it happen.”
and Joe put together a fun but competitive itinerary that attracted
people from up and down the Eastern Seaboard to compete or just to
watch this first annual event.
There were paddleboards
for beginners to try the sport or for experienced paddlers to
demo. With the added help of Starboards, a large manufacturer
paddleboards, there was a lot of activity at the campground.
main event was the long distance race. There were categories
men, women, and youth. The men’s course was 3 miles long, but
women’s and youth were shorter at 2 miles each. The weather
great for this competition because the temps had cooled, and the wind
disappeared for a couple of days, which made the water slick calm.
Colino from New York took first place in the long distance race with a
time of 33 minutes. Finishing second was Mac Barnhardt from
Charlotte, N.C. Billy Mosely from Nags Head took third place.
Barnhardt from Charlotte had the fastest women’s time, and Dawn Jeffer,
also from Charlotte earned second. Anne McKinney from Avon
claimed third place.
In the youth division, McIntyre Barnhardt and Gabe Jeffer, both from
Charlotte, were winners.
the men’s surf division, Rob Cornwell of Charlotte took first
place. Virginia Beach’s own Bobby Nieves claimed second, and
Brent Franklin from Maryland got third.
The other on-the-water activities included a tug of war, sprints, and
At day’s end, everyone kicked back to enjoy some live music and chow
down on North Carolina barbecue by Jimmy Pitetti.
Nature had a gift of her own to contribute. Particulates in
atmosphere from the Pains Bay wildfire made for breathtaking backdrop
for a sunset paddle. The sunset was spectacular.
Let’s learn a little more about this emerging sport.
paddleboarding was popular in Hawaii in the early ‘60s.
Experienced surfers would paddle out and hang out past the break to
entertain themselves by watching beginning surfers get schooled by the
In the last 10 years, the sport reappeared as an
easy but versatile way to enjoy the water. In 2008, Laird
Hamilton, who is a celebrity in the watersports world, made an
appearance on “Good Morning America” to talk about SUPs.
stand-up paddleboard is basically a large water vessel similar in size
to a surfer’s long board or a windsurfer’s light-wind board, ranging
from 7 to 14 feet long. Paddle boarders actually stand
the board and use a single paddle to move through the water.
spite of their size, today’s paddleboards are light, thanks to epoxy
These boards are extremely stable and easy to stand
on, which is great for someone with no previous water
It’s common for a beginner get to comfortable on the board in about an
hour. Some say it’s like walking on water.
paddleboards are so well designed and versatile that an experienced
watersports enthusiast can use it as a surfboard, a windsurfer, or even
like a kayak.
There are so many perfect conditions in
which to do this sport. On a no-wind, no-surf day,
is a great way to get in the water to see the sights along the
coastline or exercise because it gives the rider a strong core
In small surf, the paddleboards provide
the rider the ability to see waves quicker because of the advantage of
standing versus sitting low as with a traditional surfboard.
light wind days, a sail can be attached to the board, and it can
quickly be used as for windsurfing.
Several stores in the area
sell and rent SUPs, which are a little pricey with retail prices
ranging between $600 and $1,500. The paddles vary from basic
plastic to sophisticated carbon fiber designs, which can cost up to
If you have always wanted to try a watersport but have
been scared off by the complexity or physicality of surfing,
windsurfing, or kitesurfing, this may a great sport to try.