Jessica Rando and Larry Cain of Canada return to North Carolina October 31 through November 2 to defend their women’s and men’s elite division championships in the Surf to Sound Challenge. Rando and Cain are world-class competitors in a variety of paddle sports, including the increasingly popular sport of standup paddleboard.
Jessica Rando, born in the greater Toronto area and raised on the shores of Lake Ontario, adopted an outdoor enthusiast lifestyle with encouragement from her parents and sister. In high school, she launched a 10-year career highlighted by national and international gold medals in sprint canoe, and three world championships in dragon boat.
After retiring from sprint canoe, 31-year-old Jessica Rando is now a major player in standup paddleboard. In 2014, Rando won first-place elite female in Pickering’s Canada Cup SUP Race, Ottawa’s Ultimate SUP Challenge, Toronto’s Icebreaker, and all races she entered on the Ontario SUP Series circuit.
“What I love most about SUP is that where there is water, you can paddle. Whitewater, surf, open-ocean, flatwater – all can be tackled on a standup paddleboard,” said Rando in a recent interview with NC Press Release. North Carolina’s Surf to Sound Challenge “offers a bit of an extension on summer and the race season … it keeps my race skills fresh. I also love the variety of conditions that the course offers.”
Larry Cain, also a Torontonian, participated in three Summer Olympics, winning gold and silver medals in the sprint canoe competition. An inductee into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, he is working with Canada’s high-performance paddle team leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Winner of Canada’s SUP Cup in 2014, Cain has captured the men’s elite division championship in North Carolina’s Surf to Sound Challenge for the past three years.
This year’s three-day family weekend starts on Halloween, offering SUP clinics by Rando and Cain, a beginner course for standup paddle surfers, storytelling and s’mores for kids, and SUP races for every skill level on four unique race courses, a total of 20 miles, covering open-ocean and inland waters – that circumvent the beach strand and picturesque marsh islands.
Now in its fourth year, the 2014 North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge christens its new 9-mile, advanced, long-distance course, called the Blockade Runner Flatwater Championship, in honor of the host hotel. Sandwiched between beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and Banks Channel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort is headquarters for four major East Coast SUP events each year, culminating with November’s Surf to Sound Challenge.
Downtime during the weekend features the east coast premiere of filmmaker Brent Deal’s H2MexicO, named 2014 Movie of the Year by SUP The Mag.
North Carolina Surf to Sound Challenge is presented by Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club, organizers of the Carolina Cup.