Declared “Couch Potato” Becomes Top International Athlete – Meet April Zilg


April Zilg, 2021 Carolina Cup Graveyard Race and Sprint Champion – Courtesy of Robert B Butler

April Zilg – APP World Vice-Champion – Courtesy Association of Paddlesurf Professionals

April Zilg wins the 2021 Carolina Cup APP Sprint Race – Wrightsville Beach – Courtesy of Laura Glantz

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA, USA, April 20, 2022 / — An avowed “couch potato” eleven years ago, April Zilg of North Carolina is now a dominant athlete on the international stage in paddle sports.

In a short decade, April Zilg has won top honors in dozens of paddle sports competitions in oceans, lakes and rivers around the world. She was named Salt Life National Champion and World Paddle Association World Champion. Zilg is currently ranked second in the world by the Association of Paddlesurf Professionals.

Even so, with all of his accomplishments and accolades, Zilg’s most sought-after stand-up paddleboarding goal wasn’t achieved until 2021: winning the Carolina Cup Graveyard Race in his home state of North Carolina.

“Ten years ago I couldn’t paddle a mile without stopping and I couldn’t finish my first Carolina Cup,” said Zilg, now a coach and designer of programs to help other women and men in the sport. “It’s surreal to say that I set out to achieve a goal, and ten years later I was able to achieve it. Sticking with something and seeing the results gives me new confidence.

“The Carolina Cup is one of the toughest races in stand-up,” Zilg added. “Racing throws all the hoops at the athletes, so it helps if you’re a well-rounded paddler. I look forward to defending my championship on April 30.

One of the largest and most important paddle sporting events in the world, the Carolina Cup returns to Wrightsville Beach, April 27-May 1, 2022. The 11th Cup is a five-day festival of clinics, exhibitions of products, demonstrations and competitions – including six of the rousing races featuring amateur and professional athletes using paddleboards, kayaks, surfskis and outrigger canoes. Organized by the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club, all activities are based at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

“I’m honored to have my name on the Carolina Cup trophy in the lobby of Blockade Runner,” Zilg said. “I worked there after college when I was starting my paddling career; they are a big part of my name on this trophy.

In a recent interview, April Zilg talks about her paddleboarding debut and how it changed her life. the factors that contributed to its success; women’s participation in sport and its efforts to increase numbers; a description of the Carolina Cup Graveyard Race course; key competitors she expects for the women’s title in 2022; whether or not it will participate in the APP World Tour; its business ventures and the high cost of global competition for athletes; his thoughts on having an East Coast location for world competitions; and what she thinks of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Click here for the full April Zilg interview

2022 Carolina Cup Races:

The Graveyard Elite Race – A challenging 13.1 mile ocean and calm water race for elite and professional paddleboard riders. The Graveyard Race begins in the ocean waves, skirts Wrightsville Beach, crosses two creeks, and tests each athlete’s skill and fitness with every surf, ocean, flat water, wind, tide, and race condition from the day – including the best paddlers in the world.

The Graveyard Surfski, Outrigger, and Kayak Race – An elite 13.1-mile race on the Graveyard course, starting and ending on the healthy side and skirting Wrightsville Beach. Kayak; surfski (single and double), canoe (OC-1 and OC-2).

The Technical Sprint – A short dynamic course of fast SUP sprints, in and out of the surf with buoy turns testing participants’ skills and speed. Structured with elimination and repechage formats, the sprints provide spectacular action for athletes and spectators while allowing the best to rise to the top.

The Money Island Open Race – A 10 kilometer race over inner islands and waterways with currents and winds, but no ocean swell. Designed to challenge intermediate to advanced paddlers on paddleboard (standup and recumbent), kayak, surfski and outrigger canoe (OC-1 and OC-2).

The Harbor Island Recreational Race – A 5 kilometer flat water race through the inland waterways for beginners to intermediates (standup and recumbent). There are currents and wind, boat traffic, no ocean swell and above all areas without a wake. A great opportunity to get on a board and enjoy the water.

The Kids Race – A fun event for kids ages 6-14, single and double loop races on the sound. Everyone is recognized!

“Following the pandemic cancellation in 2020 and a delayed start in 2021, we are excited to return the Carolina Cup to our normal spring schedule,” said Race Director Mark Schmidt. “We are also thrilled to partner with the ICF this year and have our sprint and distance SUP races also serve as pre-qualifiers for the International Canoe Federation World Series.” The 2022 Carolina Cup is presented by Kona Brewing Company.

The weekend before the Carolina Cup, April 22-24, Wrightsville Beach will host the 2022 Carolina Pro-Am SUP Surfing, a three-day paddleboarding event attracting the world’s top professional and amateur paddleboarders to the sport.

Information and registration for the Carolina Cup

Blockade Runner Accommodation


Mark Schmidt
Race Director
Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club
Such. : 910-620-6914
E: [email protected]

Robert B Butler
Communication and public relations

Permission granted for redistribution – photo credits required

#CarolinaCup #WrightsvilleBeach #NorthCarolina #April Zilg #USA #APPWorldTour #ICF #SUP #OC1 #DragonBoat #WBPC #GraveyardRace #BlockadeRunnerResort #Paddleboard #OC1 #OC2 #OC6 #Surfski #Kayak #ProneSUP #OutriggerCanoe #CasperSteinfath #DannyChing #TitouanPuyo # TommyBuday #ShuriAraki #ConnorBaxter #ItzelDelgado #DanielHasulyo #KaelanLockhard #TylerBashor #ArthurArutkin #KimberlyBarnes #OkuakiRika #JulietteDuHaime #KattieCarpenter #WendyTillett #ChristianAnderson #JoshRiccio #RaiTaguchi #RikaOkuaki #GiannisaVecco #CarolineKuntzel

Robert B Butler
NC press release | Communication and public relations
+1 9194558345
[email protected]


Comments are closed.