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Surfing in Outer Banks

Catching Waves in the Outer Banks – Surf’s Up!

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is one of the best places to surf on the East Coast. With its long stretches of sandy beaches, warm waters and consistent waves, it’s no wonder why it has become a premier destination for avid surfers. The OBX boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in America and offers great surfing opportunities both for beginners and experienced riders alike. From year-round swells at Avon Pier to epic breaks like Jennette’s Pier or Buxton Beach, there are plenty of spots where you can find perfect waves waiting to be ridden. Plus, with various annual events such as Outer Banks Pro Surfing Competition and Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) competitions held on Hatteras Island throughout the summer months, there’s something for everyone who wants to get in on this thrilling sport! You can also easily rent out boards or sign up for lessons if you’re just starting out.

Best Outer Banks Surf Spots and Their Unique Advantages

  • Nags Head: Surfers come from all over to experience the waves of Nags Head. From the well-known local-favorite spot off of Jennette’s Pier, with its roots since the 1940s, to South Nags Head with plenty of options along beach road for those looking for slightly less crowded areas to ride out their wave. Whether you’re an informational rider looking for that perfect set up or just a casual observer in search of a place to escape and reconnect, Nags Head will full-fill your surfing needs.
  • Duck Pier: The Duck Pier is known for its great surfing conditions – perfect for riders of all levels year round. Especially in spring or fall, when surf conditions are at their best, this spot becomes a surfer’s paradise and is super popular with local riders. In summer, though, swells get busy quickly and often pack up, so if you want an ideal surf experience, it’s important to plan ahead.
  • Irene’s Inlet: is a unique surfing destination adjacent to the Herbert C. Bonner bridge in Hatteras Island. The inlet, originally formed in 2011 when Hurricane Irene struck the northern portion of the island, now acts as the hotspot for surfers. Surfers can park a little ways north of the spot, then find a gorgeous beach and gradual sand bar waiting for them – not to mention some friendly locals and visiting surfers. All these factors make Irene’s Inlet one of the most casually enjoyable places to surf on the Outer Banks.
  • Kitty Hawk: The waters off Kitty Hawk and Avalon Pier, as well as “Old Station” at Milepost 2 – otherwise known as the “Laundromats” due to its notoriously rough waves (for experienced riders only, please) – offer excellent conditions all year round, with especially big waves arriving during storms. As long as you’re aware this place is for more advanced riders and watch out for any looming pier pilings, you’ll have an exciting day of surfing.

Outer Banks Surfing Events

outer banks pro surfing competition

Outer Banks Pro Surfing Competition is one of the premier surfing events held in the Outer Banks each year. Attracting some of the best surfers from around the world, this competition features pro-level competitions and top prize money for competitors. Held on the beach at Hatteras Island, Outer Banks Pro Surfing Competition offers an exciting weekend of surf sessions, music and fun for all.

Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) holds competitions on multiple beaches along Hatteras Island throughout the summer months. These events feature shortboard and longboard divisions, plus surfing contests for juniors, men’s and women’s classes. With its perfect waves, wide variety of competitors and gorgeous scenery, it’s no wonder why the ESA is such a popular event in OBX.

Dates: Mid-Atlantic Regionals. Apr 28 – 30, 2023

Surf Board Rentals & Lessons

surf lessons outer banks

If this is starting to sound like fun and you want to learn how to surf there are plenty of surf board rentals and lessons available. At Kitty Hawk Surf Co., for example, visitors can rent out boards or take private lessons with experienced instructors who can guide you through the basics of surfing. There are literally tons of local experienced vendors to choose from, so matter where you’re staying on Outer Banks – there is a local guide nearby.

Quick Surfing Safety Tips for the Outer Banks

When surfing in Outer Banks, it is important to take certain safety precautions. The areas around Hatteras Island often have strong rip currents and other hazards that can make surfing more dangerous than usual. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and know when you should head for shore if the conditions become too dangerous.

Before heading out, check the weather and surf conditions with the National Weather Service or local lifeguard stations. Wear protective clothing and use sun protection such as sunscreen, rash guards, and hats to protect yourself from the elements. Make sure to stay aware of other surfers in the water and always be respectful when sharing waves. Lastly, never hesitate to ask for help if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

Start Your Outer Banks Surfing Vacation!

Hopefully after reading this article you know that Outer Banks is an awesome place, where to surf, local events, and even some safety tips. If you’re ready to take on this surfing adventure, please browse our selection of vacation rentals in Outer Banks and near all the wave action!

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