• Robert B Butler|ncpressrelease.org

Annabel Anderson of New Zealand Earns 5th Carolina Cup

Titouan Puyo of France Repeats in Men's Division

Annabel Anderson – 5-time winner of the Carolina Cup Graveyard Race – Courtesy of Samantha Black

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – "Winning once is hard, performing and winning consistently over time is just plain difficult," said New Zealander Annabel Anderson in a recent interview. Achieving the near-impossible, Anderson earned her fifth-consecutive victory in the 7th Annual West Marine Carolina Cup in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

"I executed exactly what I wanted to do and opened up the after-burners at the 2-hour mark," said Anderson, the top-ranked and fastest woman in the world, leaving her competitors minutes behind at the finish. "I am extremely grateful to be back and able to challenge for number five."

Titouan Puyo of France, ranked fifth in the world, captured his second men's division title with a repeat performance from 2016. Puyo's endurance was surprising considering a 24-hour missed flight delay in Philadelphia, arriving on-site the evening before the race.

With 10 to 20 mph winds, 2 to 4 ft seas, flowing tidal inlets, and choppy flatwater, the 13.2-mile Graveyard Race, already one of the most challenging professional-division courses in the world, was even more grinding and gruelling in 2017.

"Every year this race is different," said Anderson. "It's got a bit of everything to test our entire skill set. That's what make it the Carolina Cup. The Graveyard Race is one of the classics."

13.2-mile Graveyard Race (Elite Professional Division)

Top-10 Women:

1. Annabel Anderson, New Zealand

2. Fiona Wylde, OR, USA

3. Olivia Piana, France

4. April Zilg, Wrightsville Beach, NC, USA

5. Seychelle Hattingh, FL, USA

6. Lena Ribeiro, Brazil

7. Penelope Strickland-Armstrong, New Zealand

8. Susak Molinero, Spain

9. Hannah Hill, OR, USA

10. Lexi Alston, CA, USA

Top-10 Men:

1. Titouan Puyo, France

2. Travis Grant, Australia

3. Georges Cronsteadt, Tahiti

4. Steeve Teihotaata, Tahiti

5. Connor Baxter, Hawaii

6. Vinnicius Martins, Brazil

7. Kelly Margetts, Australia

8. Josh Riccio, HI, USA

9. Rete Ebb, Tahiti

10. Danny Ching, CA, USA

2017 Men's Champion Titouan Puyo, France – Courtesy of Karen Pennington

Organized by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club and sanctioned by the World Paddle Association, the West Marine Carolina Cup is the world’s largest gathering of professional and amateur standup paddleboard athletes, and a key-stop on the World SUP Tour. All races, clinics, demos, plus the expo and trade show originate at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach. The 2017 Carolina Cup itinerary, April 18-23, includes the renowned World SUP Tour Graveyard Race, a demanding and grueling 13.2-mile ocean and flatwater race; the 6.5-mile Money Island Open Race; the 3.5-mile Harbor Island Recreational Race; the 9-mile, 6-person Outrigger (OC-6) Blockade Runner Flatwater Race; the new 4-person SUP Dragon World Series; and a popular Kids Race for children 7 to 14. Competitors include Olympians, world-record holders, champions, professionals, amateurs, and first-time paddlers.

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