Hurricane Florence Closes Blockade Runner Beach Resort: Surf to Sound Challenge Cancelled

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Blockade Runner Beach Resort, a North Carolina landmark and icon of Wrightsville Beach for 55 years, announced today it will close for renovations due to damages sustained from Hurricane Florence.

“We made the decision following several weeks of analysis and assessments with engineers and experts,” said Mary Baggett, co-owner and operator of the resort with her brother William Baggett. “The target date for re-opening is early Spring 2019.”

Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach on Sept. 14, delivering destructive winds in excess of 100 mph. Over a five-day period, slow-moving Florence poured totals of 20 to 35 inches of rain into Eastern North Carolina creating record breaking floods, widespread property damage, and a death toll of 40 people in the state.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones, the people rebuilding their lives and homes, and the hard-hit communities and businesses overwhelmed by Hurricane Florence,” said William Baggett. “The people of North Carolina are strong and resilient. We will recover from the storm.”

Illustrating the enormity of the downpour, the National Weather Service in Raleigh estimated that Hurricane Florence dropped over 8-trillion gallons of rain in the state, the equivalent of about 780,000 gallons of water for every person in North Carolina.

“The major cause of damage was the loss of the roof on the Balcony building and more limited roof damage on the Tower,” said Nicolas Montoya, Blockade Runner General Manager. “In the areas penetrated by heavy rain, operations shift from cleanup to restoration.”

CoreLogic, a leading provider of data to business and government, estimates $19 billion to $28.5 billion in residential and commercial property damage in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The 2018 Surf to Sound Challenge is Cancelled

An unfortunate result of the hotel closing is the cancellation of the Surf to Sound Challenge. According to Nicolas Montoya, General Manager of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, “Unfortunately, the hotel will be unable to participate in a number of events due to the damage and ongoing renovations.”

“The priority is for the Blockade Runner to get back on its feet,” says James Bain in a text this afternoon, “…the race will be back…our community has come together, ILM strong, and we hope the paddling community stay on the water this off season because 2019 will be EPIC.” James is a paddler and one of the owners of the Wrightsville Beach Paddle Club which organizes the Surf to Sound Challenge and the Carolina Cup.

The Blockade Runner Beach Resort will be Back and Stronger than ever

As the host of the Carolina Cup, Cold Stroke Classic, Biathlon, and the Surf to Sound Challenge, the Blockade Runner Beach Resort has been the unofficial hotel of paddling well beyond North Carolina. There are few if any hotels who have be such integral parts of the inception and growth of paddleboarding as the Blockade Runner. We are confident they will come back stronger than ever and we can’t wait to have everyone back to paddle and enjoy Wrightsville Beach.

“Our family has owned and operated the Blockade Runner for a half-century,” said Mary Baggett. “Over the years, we were honored to host thousands of weddings, vacations, getaways, meetings, conventions, fundraisers, and major events. We look forward to renovating and improving the Blockade Runner and resuming operations in the early Spring.”

From the Mullet and all of the paddling community, good luck to the Baggett family, Nicolas Montoya and the staff of the Blockade Runner. You are all part of our paddling ohana and we hope they have a speedy recovery and are back in business soon.