Carter Graves is a phenom, a force of nature. She’s tough as nails in a competition, and leaves men and women broken in her wake whether she’s surfing, paddling or swimming. And yet, her laugh is compared to pouring a Dr Pepper into a glass too fast. She’s one of the great woman paddlers of the world, and she hails from Coronado.
Last August, in her first attempt, Carter, the 22-year-old swimmer, surfer, paddler and lifeguard, entered and won the Catalina Race on her paddle board.
Then, she entered and won her division in the Molokai Channel Race a few weeks ago. Next week she returns to Catalina to defend her title. While she won’t be a surprise “unknown” in this year’s Catalina Race, she still has a few tricks up her sleeve. Watch for results on this …
Who knows what makes Carter so strong, who knows where she gets her strength. Carter knows. She is deeply spiritual, and tapes a piece of scripture to the deck of her board to call upon during these incredibly exhaustive races. She looks down and reads the scripture aloud to tap into a strength greater than her own – when her body hits the physical “wall” you’ve heard marathon runners talk about.
Another thing she relies upon is music, retro music – music of the classic rock ‘n’ roll years (1968-1974). In particular she loves the music of the Doors and the Animals, but when she needs to call upon her body for a sprint, it’s usually the music of INXS.
Watching her paddle one can’t help but think, “here’s a champion that history will recall fondly in years to come.” She’s a player, a comer. She’s the one to beat, as I’m sure all her competition is saying right about now.
There’s talk of a battle of the sexes sponsored by Coronado’s Island Surf – a race between Carter and the top men’s paddler, here in Coronado, with benefits going to charity. But for now, she’s still building the legend, still racking up the wins, still creating her legacy.
Check her out with Fox 5’s sports anchor, Troy Hirsch, in the studio, explaining to him what paddling is all about.
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