Germany’s Sonni Hönscheid, winner of the women’s Paddle League World Title in 2018, returns to North Carolina April 24-28 to defend her Carolina Cup Championship.
The Carolina Cup is one of the world’s largest paddle festivals, featuring races, clinics, expos, and entertainment, with athletes attending from over 20 nations and virtually every state in the USA. Competitors include Olympians, world-record holders, champions, professionals, amateurs, and first-time paddlers. All races begin and end at Blockade Runner Beach Resort, the official resort of the Carolina Cup.
During the 2018 season, Sonni Hönscheid’s power and speed were astonishing, winning four of the top five major races, including the Carolina Cup, and accumulating enough points to lock up the league’s world title by early July.
“I’m still processing the whole year; it was crazy in many aspects,” said Hönscheid. “I’m proud of myself to be strong enough physically and mentally to reach my goals. The days were too short, and I had to really be strict with myself in making this happen. 2018 was a great year, but also a very hard year.”
“North Carolina is a beautiful place, and Carolina Cup is a beautiful event. Great people and good vibes,” said Hönscheid. “It’s a long race, and everything can happen. I was happy to win the Cup last year. This year, my approach is to give my best and see what happens.”
Sonni Hönscheid balances the rigorous demands of professional paddleboarding with art. An accomplished acrylic painter, Hönscheid’s goal in 2018 was to win the Paddle League World Title “before the opening of my art exhibition in August,” a goal she easily achieved.
On the North Sea island of Sylt, Germany, Hönscheid’s birthplace and home, Sonni combines her “two biggest passions.” Her painting style is inspired by her lifetime of experiences on the ocean, bold, bright, colorful, flowing, and modern.
Board manufacturer Starboard is featuring three of Sonni’s designs on the Tikhine model in 2019. “I’m super stoked about making this sport even more colorful,” said Hönscheid. Click here to read the entire interview with Sonni Hönscheid.
Organized by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club and sanctioned by the World Paddle Association (WPA), the 9th annual Carolina Cup is the first SUP race of the 2019 Qualifier Series, a newly formed partnership by the WPA and Association of Paddle-surf Professionals (APP). Competitors in the Carolina Cup have the opportunity to earn points to qualify for the APP World Tour and World Championship.
Returning races on the 2019 schedule include:
- Graveyard Race; a grueling 13.2-mile ocean and flatwater race for the elite and professional paddleboard racers; SUP; Prone;
- Money Island Open Race; a 10-kilometer flatwater race designed for the intermediate to advanced paddler; SUP; Prone; Kayak; Surfski; OC;
- Harbor Island Recreational Race; a 5-kilometer flatwater race for first-time to intermediate paddleboarders; SUP; Prone;
- Graveyard Surfski and Outrigger Race; a 13.2-mile elite race starting and finishing on the sound side; Kayak; OC; Surfski;
- The Kids Race; for children 6 to 14.
The designated charity for the 2019 Carolina Cup is Nourish North Carolina, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to provide healthy food to hungry children, enabling them to succeed in the classroom and their communities.