The Inland Paddler: Carolina Cup Essential Kit

Essential Gear for Surviving the Carolina Cup Paddle Race

Essential Gear for Surviving the Carolina Cup Paddle Race

I am really am making an effort to not take so much stuff with me when I travel. Especially to races.  But let’s just face it – paddling is a gear-intensive sport. And a lot of us have to admit that’s one of the reasons why we love it. (“Hello, my name is Lisa and I’m a Gear Geek.”)

Races like the Carolina Cup demand certain items though – some are essential for managing the conditions, other are essential for managing the emotions.  Here’s some of what will be in my race bag as I load up and head to Wrightsville Beach:


  • Leash: Mocke Life Line Craft leash.  Perfect for my outrigger.
  • PFD: Dakine waist belt inflatable.  Low profile and easy to deploy.
  • Marine Band Radio: In the event we need help! Or someone else does.
  • Personal Locator Beacon: I always carry this, and the radio, when I paddle in the ocean.  Even though this is a race situation with great safety patrol and planning, if things go REALLY south, I am prepared.

Performance Clothing

Who knows what the weather will be like? It’s a crap shoot so I will be ready for anything.

  • Virus Aquatic Performance V2 Airprene Compression Tech Short: Since I am paddling outrigger this race, these will be on, even if I wearing them as a base layer.  I love the padding.
  • Virus Bioceramic Compression 3/4 length tights: The best compression pants out there.  Support where you need it, plus the fabric contains fibers that promote recovery by emitting Far infrared waves to promote improved circulation, repair and regeneration of tissues, and increased immunity. No, really. Read about it.
  • Season Five Phantom Full Zip top: In the event it’s cold(ish) and/or rainy and I need something to ward it off, but can zip to vent if I get too warm.
  • Virus X-Form compression top: The support the tops in this series give the shoulders is key for a grueling race like the Graveyard.
  • NRS Hydroskin Neoprene Pant: Chances are it will be warm enough to just wear the tights but if not, these .5 mm pants will be ready to provide comfy thermal protection.
  • Bluesmiths Kanaha: I never leave home without one of these amazing hydrophobic shirts.
  • Team Jerseys: for practice paddles and to fly the colors proudly!

Comfort Clothing

  • Bluesmiths Kula Hoodie: It will be comfy for the early morning shore break check, to collapse into after battling the shore break and the inlets, and it will stand up to the rain, if that’s a thing.
  • Maliko Run Tee: Softest thing ever and no matter what happens in the Graveyard, it will remind me of home. And the race the following week!
  • Virus Bioceramic KL1 Active Recovery Pant:  Smart track pants that actually promote recovery like the tights mentioned above. Perfect to slip into after the race.

Data Collection

  • SpeedCoach: Indispensable tool when it comes to tracking speed in order to find the fastest flowing current.  This is key in the flat section of the Graveyard course, and in both the Harbor Island and Money Island courses.
  • Garmin Fenix 3: No fuss, no muss backup for the Speedcoach that I can upload quick and easy after the race.
  • Whoop Recovery Tracker: This will help me make sure I get enough sleep the night before, will tell me if I am at my best on race day and will help me make sure I get all the recovery I need afterward.  Cannot live without this device!

Nutrition/Personal Care

With regard to race nutrition or supplements, don’t try anything new for the first time on race day! Wait until training time to experiment, so you know how your body will react.  What works for one paddler might not work for another!!

  • BanxBlock Sunscreen: This is just the best sunscreen ever and it will stay on, no matter how much I huli or flip my outrigger.
  • Bare Republic Hunter Gatherer Milk and Honey After Sun Serum: Even though I won’t be sunburned, the salt water will dry out my skin.  This stuff is amazing. Super soothing, light, and it smells good.  Works great if you forget your sunscreen and end up a crispy critter, too.
  • GU Roctane Summit Tea: My favorite electrolyte/carb hydration mix.  No GI distress, no weird taste.
  • Red Ace Beet Shots: I believe in the beet! Beets are fantastic for energy boosts. In fact, I credit shooting one of these guys before my Graveyard last year with helping me survive.  The version that includes turmeric is good if you are sore or for apres racing to manage soreness. WARNING: Your teeth will look…vampiric for a bit after you drink it.  And later, you might notice other things are….tinted as well.
  • Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator Caps: These guys are chock-a-block full of Glucosamine and turmeric and other great things to help manage inflation.  I use them daily to manage post- Rocky Mountain Spotted fever reactionary arthritis in my joints, but boost the dosage when I am injured.  Great stuff if you’re stiff.
  • Joshua Tree After Sport Recovery Lotion:  Arnica is a plant that helps with inflammation and bruises, and it is often used topically to help sooth sore, overworked muscles.  This lotion is full of it and smells really lovely and it comes in a variety of scents.  I like the one with bergamot ’cause it smells of  “tea, Earl Grey, hot.”
  • Joshua Tree Salve: Amazing stuff for the hands.  Soothes blisters and heals irritations but it won’t soften your hard earned callouses from last season.
  • Foam Roller: Gotta work out the kinks when it’s all said and done. The pain is exquisite but oh so worth it.
  • Suzie Cooney’s book: So I can re-read my highlighted sections of Chapter Seven – the mental aspect of racing!!

Just looking at this list makes me thing I’m gonna need a bigger bag!!!

Have fun everyone and happy racing!!!


Paddle Monster Newsletter Signup