In this podcast episode I had a chance to connect with Rod and Barry of ThePaddleChannel. Rod and Barry have progressed from SUP to OC to SURFSKI and their YouTube channel documents, in full transparency, the trials and tribulations of their journey along the way. They are both super passionate about paddling and more so about downwind. Their videos bring a great perspective that should resonate with both new paddlers and those transitioning across paddling disciplines.
Many of you may have heard of the Carolina Cup, which is one of the biggest paddle events in the US (possibly just behind the Gorge and Chattajack). This race is put on by the Wrightsville Paddle Club which is about a 45 minute drive North of where Rod and Barry paddle at Carolina Beach.
Rod and Barry have an 8 mile downwind that they typically run starting at Fort Fisher and finishing at Carolina Beach or in the Carolina Beach Inlet. This run takes advantage of the the prevailing south/southwest winds that run throughout the summer. There aren’t any points, bays, shoals, or other factors to greatly influence the wave conditions along the route, so conditions remain pretty consistent. The biggest challenges are in launching and landing. The launch is directly off the beach, so there is often a surf break to navigate. They have the option of either finishing on the beach or in the inlet, both have their pros and cons which we discuss in detail during the podcast.
Carolina Beach is a busy beach town in the summer, but in the spring and fall things quiet down, but the water is still warm and the wind still blows, making this an excellent time to take a paddling vacation. There aren’t many other paddlers or paddle businesses in the area, so your best bet is to take your boat, but you can always get in touch with Barry or Rod and they will be more than happy to help you with finding a boat if possible.
The detailed Google Maps discussion starts at around minute 24:00 on the video and in the podcast.
I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Carolina Beach is now on my short list of downwind destinations. I really like the idea of an April or May trip when Lake Michigan is struggling to get above 40 degrees 🙂