Barrier Island Challenge

Go Paddle Race Profile: Barrier Island Challenge

Race Date: 2016-05-07

Describe the courses

Beginner and Experienced SUP riders will choose from 2 courses, based on level of experience and challenge. Both heats will paddle with the outgoing tide towards the finish line at American Fish, CO., Old Yacht Basin, in Southport, North Carolina.

Novice racers will travel approx 5.5 miles, departing from Ft. Fisher and paddle along with the tide towards the Southport finish line. Experienced paddlers will depart from the Carolina Beach State park near Snow’s Cut and paddle approx 13 miles towards the Southport finish line. Experienced paddlers will converge with the beginner race down river, all riders then assuming the same course towards finish line. All paddlers will cross the Cape Fear River at the north end of Battery Island, continuing on the west bank of the Cape Fear towards the finish line.

All riders will be provided with clear course outlines and instructions prior to departure. The course will be maintained by safety vessels, water buoys, and racer organizers. Both races are set to depart at staggered times in order for both heats to finish close to one another.

All riders are asked to be prepared to depart at 9am but the actual start time may extend further depending on daily weather conditions. Safety and support are generously supplied by the The Cape Fear Yacht Club, whose 3 support vessels, crew, and experience with regattas in our area will offer our participants an serious level of security and assured response in any event of need.


What kind of paddling settings and conditions will racers face?

The Cape Fear River offers both unquestionable scenic beauty, great water to paddle and a unique set of challenges for both novice and experienced paddlers. While we are positioning the race to take advantage of the outgoing tide, the winds can become a factor. High tide at 9 am will provide good depth of water and additional momentum for the race downstream. The intermittent islands dotting the course provide both protection from any heavy winds and offer easy landing for rest if needed. We will be watching the wind closely and the safety vessels will be on hand should any trouble present itself. Shipping records do not suggest any large vessels transiting the length of the river during the event. Ferry service to Bald Head Island runs parallel with the course for a short point and runs on 1 hr cycles in both directions. The course has been designed to avoid and limit the transit across the Cape Fear shipping channel. Safety vessels will man and monitor the crossing point to assist any paddlers or boats in the vicinity of the race. The Coast Guard has approved the designated a passing channel across the river and will be monitoring the 1/2 mile crossing along with our race support vessels.


Will there be any clinics?

At the moment, no clinics are scheduled but they are welcomed. Mellow Moods Massage will be providing complimentary massages for all racers following the event. There is ample space and opportunity for clinics and promotional activity at the finish line area.

Where can people get gear like PFDs and hydration packs?

All flotation is mandatory and is not officially provided by anyone other than the racer. Racers may find a variety of flotation devices, safety gear, etc at these locations in: Carolina Beach/Ft. Fisher: Bert’s Surf Shop, 800 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC (910) 458-9047 CB Surf Shop 209 S Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC (910) 458-7005 Southport: Ocean Outfitters, 121 E Moore St, Southport, NC, (910) 457-0433 Local Call Surf Shop, 8417 E Oak Island Dr, Oak Island, NC, (910) 278-3306 Point Break Surf Shop, 730 N Howe St, Southport, NC (910) 477-6203 Adventure Kayak Company, 807 N Howe St # A, Southport, NC, (910) 454-0607

Where can people buy groceries?

Carolina Beach and Southport have multiple options for provisions and groceries. Local Grocery stores are present in both locations close to the start of the race. On the finishing side of the race in Southport, there are similar and ample options for groceries and provision, Lowes Foods, Food Lion, Walmart, etc. Carolina Beach and Kure Beach have a variety of hotel,motel,and vacation condo options for those staying on the start side of the river. For those staying in Southport, accommodation suggestions and discounts can be found on the race webpage under accommodations.

What great local restaurants can you recommend?

Following the race, we will be holding a Low Country Shrimp Boil to celebrate the race and to raise money for the Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter. All riders food and beverages will be complimentary with race registration. The finish line is set in the heart of Southport’s Old Yacht Basin, which is a preferred location for additional local food options. Other than that, both sides of the river provide amble options for seafood and local cuisine.

Where is the best coffee in town?

Carolina Beach Coffee options:

  • Wake n’ Bake Doughnuts 1401 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428 (910) 707-0166
  • Majic Beans, 10 S Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428 (910) 707-0026

Southport Beach Coffee options:

  • Moore Street Market 130 E Moore St, Southport, NC 28461 (910) 363-4203
  • Port City Java 113 N Howe St, Southport, NC 28461 (910) 454-0321

Does your event benefit a charity? Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter at Oak Island North Carolina cares for injured or orphaned shorebirds. We provide minimum medical care, safety from predators, food and shelter from the elements. When an animal is able to care for itself, it is released to the wild. We do not keep non-releasable animals nor use heroic methods to sustain the quality of their life. However, the Shelter does make every effort to rehabilitate an endangered species and every animal brought here is treated with respect and caring.

What makes your event a great place to come paddle and compete?

Obviously, the Barrier Island Challenge is a SUP race and local benefit for a wonderful community non-profit but, more importantly, it is a community event seeking to unite and focus attention on the communities here at the head of the Cape Fear River. Barrier Island Excursions hope to generate more communication and collaboration between our growing cities, and to help nourish healthy activities on the river, and to promote the sport of SUP in the NC Low Country. We want to help generate an aloha spirit by creating this event and to provide an opportunity for those people to come out of the woodwork. We have reached out on various social groups and events to help spread the word. Any additional help is welcomed.

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