Race

8th Annual Cold Stroke Classic Draws Top Standup Paddle Competition to Wrightsville Beach

8th annual cold stroke classic wrightsville

Pig pickin’ and family festival welcomes paddlers the Friday night before the race at the Eastwood Road Coastal Urge location.

Wilmington, North Carolina, January 7, 2016 –Plans are underway to welcome a record number of paddlers to the 8th annual Cold Stroke Classic race in Wrightsville Beach, NC on Saturday, January 23, 2016.

Organized by Coastal Urge, a premier coastal lifestyle retailer with six locations in North and South Carolina, the race is a family-friendly event that gives paddlers a chance to get out on the water and see their friends during what is typically considered the “off season” for paddling. “What good is a paddleboard when it’s hanging in the garage?” said Jeoffrey Nathan, Race Director and co-owner of Coastal Urge. “We started this race eight years ago to keep people on the water during the winter.”

The Cold Stroke Classic was one of the first standup paddle races on the east coast. “That was back when everyone was paddling big surf-style boards. We wore full wetsuits to paddle in the winter.” Though equipment has advanced, and racers now have actual bib numbers (as opposed to the paper plates and duct tape used during the first year), the spirit of the event remains the same: fun first.

Last year, Coastal Urge added a Friday night pre-party to the event to encourage participants to meet up and catch up with each other before the friendly rounds of competition the following day. This year the pig pickin’ has been expanded to add more family activities, including hula hoopers, live music, and a bounce house.

Jeoffrey said “The point of most of these races is to get together with our friends, so we wanted to make it more of an all-inclusive experience.” Dinner is free with race registration and $7 for non-racers. Everyone is welcome to mingle, listen to music, consume craft brews donated by Natty Green’s and try their hand (waist?) at hula hooping. “We’re getting a bigger pig this year, too!” he said.

Saturday’s race is headquartered at the Blockade Runner on Wrightsville Beach. “The Blockade Runner is a perfect location for our race with ample space for demos and exhibitors on the sound side beach and a natural launch point for the course.” A $99 special room rate is available for paddlers that weekend.

Both the Elite and Recreational race courses find paddlers traveling around Harbor Island—the Rec takes one turn and the Elite, two. Safety is a concern for winter races, which is why the paddlers will stick close to land during the race. “People think a Harbor Island loop is automatically going to be easy, but there are always conditions. Wind, tide, chop, low water temperatures, and freezing air temperatures give paddlers a run for their money,” said Nathan. “Last year was reasonably nice weather, in that it wasn’t freezing out, but it was still really windy.”

Prizes for Every Racer

Beyond the camaraderie and challenge afforded by a mid-January event, all racers have the chance to compete for cash and prizes donated by Coastal Urge brands including The North Face, Southern Tide, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, Olukai, Kiel James Patrick, Prana, Vineyard Vines, L*Space, Mountain Khakis, BANXBlock and many more. There’s a cash purse for the elite race, and $8,000 in prizes for the elite and 3.5 mile recreational races.

“We like to recognize every racer, regardless of whether they finish first or twenty fifth,” Nathan said. “We call the winners up for a podium picture, but then we read every racer’s name and they get to come choose a prize. You could finish twentieth, but still leave with a brand new pair of Olukai sandals.”

The race has added new divisions this year, splitting out the surf-style board class to make the event more fun for newer recreational racers. “We also added a ‘Run What You Brung’ division. There are a lot of surfski paddlers and increasingly more outrigger canoe paddlers in the area. While we can’t do a podium for that division—the watercraft are too different to rank—they’ll still be recognized and will go home with awesome swag.”

Racing for a Good Cause

The Cold Stroke Classic and other Coastal Urge races always have a charitable component. This year, race proceeds will benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money to fund research to fight childhood cancers. According to the Foundation website, 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. Cancer behaves differently in children than adults.

While many adult cancers can be discovered early in the stage, most childhood cancers have already spread by the time of diagnosis. St. Baldrick’s funds research to help conquer childhood cancers. By registering for the Cold Stroke Classic paddlers will be contributing to this important research. A raffle will raise additional funds. There will also be a donation bucket for the nonprofit where Natty Greene’s pours free beer donated toward the cause.

Schedule and Details

Friday, January 22, 2016

12PM-9PM: Packet pickup at Coastal Urge, 2035 Eastwood Road
5PM-9PM: Pig Pickin’, music, bounce house, and hula hopping at Coastal Urge 2035 Eastwood Road

Saturday, January 23, 2016

9:30 AM: Racer’s Meeting, Blockade Runner sound side beach
10 AM: Race Begins
12:45 PM: Awards Ceremony & After party

Throughout the day there will an exhibitor’s expo open to the public with free demos.
The course will begin and end at the Blockade-Runner Beach Resort for both divisions. All paddling for the race will be on intracoastal waters. Racers will have on the water assistance from the volunteers, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and SeaTow.

Recreational Division

Adults: $55 | Kids: $25
Boys 14 & under division
Girls 14 & under division
12’6″ and under Women’s
12’6″ and under Men’s
14′ Men’s
14′ Women’s
Prone Rec Men’s
Prone Rec Women’s
Surf Style Men’s
Surf Style Women’s
Run What You Bring (All)

Elite Division

Adults: $75 | Kids: $25
Boys 14 & under division
Girls 14 & under division
12’6″ and under Men’s
12’6″ and under Women’s
14′ Men’s
14′ Women’s
Prone Elite Men’s
Prone Elite Women’s
Surf Style Men’s
Surf Style Women’s

Run What You Bring (All)
More information and to register visit http://www.coldstrokeclassic.com.
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About Coastal Urge
Coastal Urge is a family of stores specializing in outfitting the active coastal lifestyle. There are six stores open in the Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, and Myrtle Beach areas of the Coastal Carolinas. Available brands include Patagonia, The North Face, Carve, Arc’teryx, Prana, Southern Tide, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, TOMs, Mountain Khakis, Olukai, Mountain Hardware, Southern Marsh, UGG, and Costa, among others. Owners Jeoffrey and Catherine Nathan opened the first retail location in 2008.
More at coastalurge.com

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