This win will go down as one of the biggest of my career, not necessarily because of the event or the status but because of the distance I was able to put on the best paddlers in the world. Winning by 2minutes + was never my intention all I wanted to do was race with no mistakes and race confidently. And I did just that.
After Bilbao I was a bit disappointed to lose the way I did. I always hate making mistakes but when you do it when it counts it hurts more. But it also really fires you up for the next race and makes you not want that feeling again. I had a really good week of cross training and resting in Hossegor which allowed me to get over some of the travel we had sustained in the past month.
What a race! Sprint finish to the final moment. Bruno got this one but I’m sure we will have many more battles for the years to come.
After Molokai I was pretty exhausted from racing every weekend in different parts of the world. Time zones, cars, planes, hotels, Airbnb’s, admin etc etc… all of it takes a toll mentally and physically. So we decided to go home and reset for a few days before flying to Bilbao. There was some consideration about going back to San Sebastián to race, but I decided it would be wise to have a weekend off (otherwise I would have raced 9 weekends in a row).
Powering down runs and mixing it up for the first two hours of the M2O was pretty special. Sure I didn’t finish at the top end as I was some 10minutes back but it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had on the ocean. It was big runs with a hot field with the worlds best and as Dean Gardiner told me it was the “best conditions in 30 years”. For some time since I started SUP racing I have wanted to get back out in some ski races and try and balance them both. I competed in The Doctor and 20 Beaches at the end of last year and it re-ignited the desire to get the double blade out again and do more.
Winning in the South of France at the Azur Paddle Games was a perfect start to the European season. The location is amazing, the paddlers were world class and it really set the scene for what would be an intense race at the front.
After Carolina I was pretty exhausted, it was a tough race and a long time on the water and that led to fatigue very quickly. Add a full day of travel to that and I arrived into Nice spaced out and barely functioning. Before the race we checked out Monaco and drove the race track, saw Cannes and pretended I was a movie star before visiting Freeride and getting my Starboard sprint for the event.
What an amazing weekend to start off the season. A second Carolina Cup victory, repeating from last year and another course record. When you are training for an event it’s how you plan it to go, but when you can execute it’s extremely fulfilling!I prepped for this event from March 1st which was a really late start for me.
I tore an intercostal muscle in early February in Thailand at a photoshoot with Starboard for their new range. I didn’t warm up properly and hadn’t done any training since Paris so I pushed a little too hard. I was in denial at first that I’d done anything wrong but it left me in pain for 4-5 weeks with sleeping and coughing being two of my favourite things each day.
An interview with Michael Booth by Robert B Butler:
Michael, congratulations on your amazing victory at the Carolina Cup in 2018. With high winds and choppy seas, the top five competitors in the men’s elite division finished within 35 seconds of each other. Eight of the top ten were from Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
How do you feel when you look back at this incredible achievement?
“Winning the Carolina Cup was something I always wanted to do since I first picked up a SUP paddle in 2014. All of the guys I look up to like Danny Ching, Travis Grant, and Tituoan Puyo had won it before, and I wanted to be amongst that caliber of paddler. In addition to that, for me, it was a great victory as I bonked the year before and everyone was writing me off because of the downwind section at the end of the race.