WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. – Canadian paddlers Tommy Buday and Jessica Rando swept the 6-mile Elite Championships in the male and female divisions of the North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge in Wrightsville Beach.
“Surf to Sound conditions were probably the most difficult in the entire history of the race,” according to John Beausang of Distressed Mullet. “We had very hard northeast winds, with a storm system moving in from the south. Not only did the winds increase – the temperature dropped. Navigating the inlet was very challenging, and the final leg to the finish line was very tough paddling into heavy winds.”
Tommy Buday and three-time Surf to Sound winner Larry Cain, both of Ontario, Canada, battled the entire distance for the coveted elite men’s division championship, changing the lead three times. Buday beached his board and ran to the finish line less than one-second ahead of Cain. Buday and Cain will face-off again tomorrow, Sunday October 2, in the 9-mile, advanced long-distance, Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship.
Cain, an Olympic Gold Medalist and inductee into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, is working with Canada’s high-performance paddle team leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Hilarey Netsch of Kitty Hawk, NC, captured the Women’s Championship in the four-mile, Harbor Island Outer Loop. Stephen Dees of Carolina Beach, won the Men’s Championship, 14-foot category, and Sean Stack of Wilmington, won the 12.5-foot category.
Standup paddleboard races continue on Sunday, October 2, with Buday and Cain facing off in the 9-mile, advanced, Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship. Meanwhile, oceanside, paddle surfers will compete for the East Coast Paddle Surf Championship. A Kids’ race is scheduled soundside.
All activities begin and end at host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
NC Surf to Sound Challenge Winners:
Top 5 Men Elite Division
1. Tommy Buday, Ontario, Canada
2. Larry Cain, Ontario, Canada
3. Billy Miller, Manteo, NC
4. Jeremy Whitted, Daniel Island, SC
5. Andrew Glidden, Wilmington, NC
Top 5 Women Elite Division
1. Jessica Rando, Ontario, Canada
2. April Zilg, Wilmington, NC
3. Anna Blackburn, Wilmington, NC (note: 15 years of age)
4. Kate Lewis, New Bern, NC
Top 5 Men Harbor Island Loop 14′
1. Steven Dees, Carolina Beach, NC
2. Phil Dorroll, Wrightsville Beach, NC
3. Will Schiller, Ontario, Canada
4. Matt Kenney, Raleigh, NC
5. Jon Vos, Wilmington, NC
Top 5 Men Harbor Island Loop 12’6″
1. Sean Stack, Wilmington, NC
2. Dion Waters, Hampstead, NC
3. Corey Draughon, Durham, NC
4. Jamie Penland, Hampstead, NC
5. Eric Nelson, Wilmington, NC
Top 5 Women Harbor Island Loop
1. Hilarey Netsch, Kitty Hawk, NC
2. Vicky Lowe, Avon, NC
3. Lynne Atwill, Ontario, Canada
4. Kim Pedersen, Wilmington, NC
5. Valerie Netsch, Kitty Hawk, NC
The Fourth Annual North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge, a Series Event sanctioned by the World Paddle Association, is presented by Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club, organizers of the Carolina Cup.
Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club
Blockade Runner Beach Resort