Returning to Wrightsville Beach after a year hiatus, the Salt Life Carolina Pro-Am brings competitive paddle surfing back to Wrightsville Beach this weekend.
The fifth annual Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Surf contest brings together the world’s best professional and top amateur SUP surfers in North Carolina and will serve as an APP World Tour Qualifying event promoted by the World Paddle Association (WPA).
The Salt Life Carolina Pro-Am is a two-day event offering a $15,000 prize purse. In addition, the Pro Division competitors will earn Qualifier Series points toward the APP World Tour Ranking, providing a unique and open access point to the tour for the following season.
The pro-am, which will be held on the south end of Crystal Pier on April 20-21, is scheduled to be timed with next weekend’s Carolina Cup SUP race in Wrightsville Beach, allowing elite paddleboarders to be in town for both events.
Tristan Boxford, CEO of the APP World Tour, stated, “We are extremely excited to be involved with the Salt Life Carolina Pro-Am and what it represents for the Stand Up Paddle Community as a whole. The introduction of this great event as an official Qualifier stop for the APP World Tour in 2020 paves the way for the development of a legitimate Qualifier Series for SUP Surfing that will emulate what has been put in motion by the APP and WPA for Racing in 2019.”
The Carolina Pro-Am (CPA) was brought to life in 2014 by local businessmen and avid surfers, Haywood Newkirk and Jason Colclough, with a vision of bringing the best SUP surfers from around the world to North Carolina to experience its surf and take in its legendary local hospitality. The event also presents the Haywood Newkirk Sr. Award which is awarded to the competitor with the best combined results in both the Pro Open and Pro Longboard divisions. Past recipients include Jarrod Covington (2014 – North Carolina), Kieran Grant (2015 – Florida), Bullet Obra (2016 – Hawaii) and Martin Letourneur (2017 – France).
“We are really excited about the 2019 Salt Life Carolina Pro-Am. The event has been so successful in past years, but having this contest be a part of the APP Tour brings it to an entirely new level,” stated Haywood Newkirk, CPA founder. Newkirk continued, “Having the support of the APP, WPA and Salt Life is quite an endorsement as well. I can’t wait for the world to come to our home breaks here at Wrightsville Beach.”
Since 2014, the Carolina Pro-Am has attracted some of world’s top competitors, including Colin
McPhillips (3-time World Longboard Champion), Caio Vaz (2016 APP World Champion), Izzy Gomez (2-time APP World Champion), Emmy Merrill (2-time ISA World Champion), Mo Freitas and Giorgio Gomez. Most importantly, the Carolina Pro-Am supports the amateur divisions to aid in the sport’s growth and keep the competitors coming back to Wrightsville Beach. The support of the local community has allowed the Carolina Pro-Am to become one of the top SUP surfing contests in the country. With the additional support and recognition provided by the APP and the WPA, the Carolina Pro-Am is poised to become one of paddle boarding’s premier events.