Wrightsville Beach surfing and SUP competitions bring business to the island

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — If you’re planning on hitting the beach this weekend, you’re not alone. Friday kicked off several major surfing and stand-up paddleboarding competitions at Wrightsville Beach, and already some companies say they’ve seen about a 30% increase in foot traffic.

The Carolina Pro-AM SUP contest, a competition that hosts some of the best stand-up paddleboarders in the world from Friday to Sunday. Already, Surf City Surf Shop Manager Ryan Holtburton says they’ve seen a lot more customers.

“We definitely see a huge wave of people coming into the store, especially when there’s a lot of people going out of town, obviously,” Holtburton said. “We get a lot of that business here, especially when it’s water related, like something like a surfing competition or these paddleboard competitions. We certainly sell a lot of surfboards and the accessories that go with them.

Holtburton hopes this will entice people to shop locally and close to the competition rather than heading to the big chains.

“I would say it’s always better to buy local. I mean, you support the region and everything,” he said. “And you’re also, normally when you go somewhere that’s more local oriented, they’re really going to point you in the right direction for what you’re looking for and not just try to sell you something.”

And next weekend, the Blockade Runner will host the Carolina Cup, a famous six-mile stand-up paddleboard race. Blockade Runner general manager Nicolas Montoya said competitors will often stay out of the competition from this weekend into next weekend, spending more time and more money on the island.

“People come for a handful of days longer than the weekend, and so they eat with us,” Montoya said. “They’re injecting a little bit more economic growth for us in particular, but they’re also doing it for Wrightsville Beach and the other businesses, which is ultimately wanted.”

The Carolina Cup brings about 300 athletes to the hotel, Montoya said, and about 150 to 200 people to watch the race.

Lynn A. Saleh