The 6th Annual 2014 Cold Stroke Classic lived up to its name on January 18, 2014.
With sustained winds of 20 mph and 34-degree temperatures, paddlers had their work cut out for them as they rounded Harbor Island. Also known as “The Loop,” the 3.5 mile course around Wrightsville Beach’s Harbor Island is a common paddle for locals training for SUP races. Saturday’s race, however, brought a unique west wind, making even the most regular Harbor Islanders work for the finish.
Off first were the recreational racers and the kid’s divisions. Anna Blackburn, on her Naish Javelin was fast off the line, but was soon knocked in by a prone paddler. Despite the cold and the wind, she jumped back on her board and pulled out ahead winning both the overall women’s recreational and the kid’s division.
“I’ve been racing for about a year now, I’m loving it! I ride a Naish Javelin 12’6” LE, which is the fastest board out right now. I was even faster than I thought I was going to be today so I’m very proud of myself.” – Anna Blackburn
The elite course would follow the recreational course, but make two laps instead of one. April Zilg, also on a Naish Javelin was fast off the line, but was also knocked down by a male paddler that fell onto her board. Following Anna’s example, she leapt back onto her board and pulled out ahead to finish first in both the women’s elite division and overall in the 12’6” class.
“I couldn’t feel my face, hands, or feet, and it hurt! After warming up, I was able to push hard in the up-wind sections and give it my all. This is always a great race to start the year off, and a fun challenge.” – April Zilg
Great job ladies & best of luck at the upcoming Carolina Cup in April!