Team USA Dominate Day One of the Carolina Cup as Danny Ching and April Zilg Take Victory

Danny Ching and April Zilg sweep the field in the Graveyard Race, as taking an alternative line to the rest of the pack proves triumphant for team USA.

Whilst the Coast Guard called for a modified racecourse this morning due to the hectic conditions in the ocean, the athletes were still put through their paces with 20mph winds, 40 mph gusts and a relentless current in what was an epic, challenging and entertaining race.

After New Caledonia’s Titouan Puyo led the men’s pack for most of the race, with Japan’s Shuri Araki hot on his heels, 4 X Graveyard race champ Danny Ching and Tamas Buday came out of nowhere and claimed 1st and 3rd place, after taking the inside line that protected them from the ruthless conditions.

“I just tried not to lose the race in the first hour which was the downwind and the turn. I ended up a little further behind than I hoped, but I conserved enough energy and took a good enough line to reel them back in. Luckily only a handful of guys took the line I was on and none of them were in front of me.”

North Carolina’s very own April Zilg had a similar idea and swept the women’s pack by taking the inside line, beating out USA’s Kim Barnes and Japan’s Rika Okuaki, who were left to fight the upwind paddle.

April reflects on her first ever Graveyard Race win: “It is a very emotional win for me. This was the first race I ever did, and the first time I did it, I didn’t even finish. It has been my dream to win the Carolina Cup since the first day I picked up a paddleboard, so it feels amazing to achieve that.”

The action continues tomorrow on Day Two of the Carolina Cup, which will see athletes battle it out in the APP Sprints with the forecast promising 9-foot waves and 40 mph winds. The draw is now online and you can follow the live scoring from 9am here. Tune it @appworldtour on Instagram and Facebook for social media updates.