February 17, 2014
Top 10 Surf Spots
The Outer Banks is full of things to do. I am grateful to live in an environment when asked: “what do you want to do today?” at least the first 5 to 10 things that come to mind are all outdoors, weather permitting. From riding bikes, toskating, to playing volleyball, to fishing, to surfing – the Outer Banks adds its special touch to make all of these activities different than anywhere else. Whether it’s the views of the beach, views of landmarks, sunsets along the sound, to sunrises over the ocean; everything seems better here.
Surfing is one of those activities. OBX isn’t Hawai’i, where you have consistent waves, consistent swells, consistent trade winds, and ridable waves 360 days out of the year. Everything is variable. Variable winds can change the form and conditions of the waves within minutes of switching directions. It’s all about timing here on the Outer Banks. Right swell direction, right wind direction, best timing according to the tides, and whether you feel like surfing with a bunch of guys or take the waves less crowded. “You have to strike while the irons hot” in other words. Five AM surf sesh may be the only time the conditions are clean, come 7AM or 8AM the wind could switch and change everything. You’ll get out, turn back looking at the choppy mess out in the water in disbelief that you were just pitted all morning in clean, hollow barrels.
As far as winds go… You tell wind the by direction it’s coming from, not the direction it’s blowing towards. You always want off shore (blowing from land) winds. When the wind blows towards the ocean it pushes on the wave and helps it to stand up creating a nice face to drop in. Depending on what spot you go to, the off shore direction may be different. Now with that little background on surfing on the Outer Banks, here are what I would list the top 10 surfed spots as:
1. Lighthouse l Hatteras, NC
Home of Professional surfer Brett Barley. For the surfers living in town, when you get to take off for the day and get in on some tasty waves down South, it’s a treat. Up before sunrise, cup of joe, boards loaded, and you’re on the way. The whole way down your anticipating your first sight of the ocean and the conditions it’s bringing that morning. This is a pretty well-known spot, so if you snooze, you will lose. Photo:Daniel Pullen
2. Ocracoke Island
Due to the hassle it takes to get there from the rest of the Outer Banks, these spots are usually left to the locals. Sometimes when you don’t want a crowded wave, Ocracoke holds a day of fun with wide open beaches.
3. Duck Research Pier l Duck, NC
This spot will produce some of the most beautiful and yet heavy waves I have ever seen on the Outer Banks. Usually when there are waves it’s an automatic “let’s go down south”. Duck Research Pier never fails when it’s pumping.
4. Nags Head Pier l Nags Head, NC
Nags Head Pier, depending on the direction of the swell and wind, can be good on both sides. It can and will be very crowded. If you decide to sleep in past 9AM and want front and center in that line up, you will have other plans that day… like waiting your turn.
5. Avon Pier l Avon, NC
Avon Pier hosts the Gromprix Surfing Competition where groms from all over compete to win a free entry into the O’Neil/Sweetwater surf fest. This is a great spot to take the whole family with large beaches, pier convenient store, and fishing. Pictured here is Brett Barley charging the water with all the groms in a session with the pros. (grom: kids surfing 15 and under).
6. Lillian Street l Kitty Hawk, NC
Near the infamous Pelican’s Perch; One of the last houses standing along a stretch on the beach road. Cons: public parking available, this spot will fill up quick. Pros: there are no homes along this portion of Kitty Hawk, the beaches are uncrowded, wide, with lots of shells to be found, and waves to be had.
7. Kitty Hawk Pier l Kitty Hawk, NC
Located in front of the Hilton in Kitty Hawk, this is a great spot when staying at the Northern beaches. When the wind direction is right, this spot produces some nice barrels without the long drive down south. Kitty Hawk is also home to ESA Surfing Competitions throughout the year. They welcome all age groups to compete for a spot in the Masters.
8. Chicahauk l Southern Shores, NC
Home to the Throw Down North of Town surfing competition. A surfing competition for all age groups, and an all around great family fun day. Located right here in Southern Shores, it’s just a walk from most of our oceanfront properties.
9. Jennette’s Pier l Nags Head, NC
Home to the WRV Outer Banks Pro where professional surfers from all over the United States come to battle it out for the grand prize and bragging rights. This spot ranks lower because it’s so well known, that usually when there is any kind of swell in the water, there will also be a ton of guys. It may be crowded, but this beautiful pier makes for a great spot when the waves and winds are hitting just right.
10. Hayman Street l Kill Devil Hills, NC
A busy public beach access in the heart of Kill Devil Hills. Just about a half mile north of Avalon pier. With a lot of vacation homes, and one of the biggest beach public parking areas in Kill Devil Hills, this spot fills up quick. Depending on the swell direction, the sandbar, and the wind, this spot will break differently just about every time. Either way, this is a fun wave for everyone.
Stay Tuned: surfing etiquette to come.