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Posts Tagged ‘OBX’

Avon Pier looking wedgy

A few weeks back Kooky Kyle made a UCB request to write on what I missed most about the east coast.  To be honest at the time of his posting nothing major had really come to mind.  Of course the obvious friends and family came to mind, but that is a given.  Recently I have been reminded in a few select surf session of the East.

What do I miss the most?  Cape Hatteras, North Carolina is what I miss most about leaving the east coast.  I miss having it only a 12-hour drive away.  For me Hatteras was a quick and easy escape from reality.  All I would have to do is jump in the car and cruise down there and be able to surf a variety of beach break practically to myself some days.  One can always surf alone there.  The place has miles and miles of empty coastline some only accessible by four-wheel drive and others only by foot.

Sure the main spots draw a crowd but when its good it does not really matter cause the surf is so consistent.  Speaking on consistency there is pretty much a ride able wave at the lighthouse 365 days a year.  It may be small but there will be something to grovel.  If there is any kind of swell in the Atlantic Hatteras is sure to pick it up someplace and amplify it.  The barrier islands form a big semi circle allowing NE, E and SE exposures to be had, thus accommodating every swell and wind direction.

If you are keen offshore wind can almost always be found.  There is a legitimate left point break on the island.  It is one of the few places on the east coast you can easily get triple over head surf.  The surf can go from waist high in the morning to nearly triple overhead by the evening.  The place is nuts.

Man does it barrel.  I have scored some of the best surf sessions of my life down there just getting pitted off my ass.  Im talking so hallow you cant even do a turn.  Its no coincidence that OBX Local Brett Barely showed up at the pipe masters last year and was a serious contender.  There can be some serious tubes out there and I remember watching him and a couple of the boys at the lighthouse a few years back charging serious ten to twelve foot surf that was heavy as hell, super drifty and very few make able rides.  Those guys were just out there getting their asses handed to them and loving every minute of it.  Me I went to the point and had a fun session.

There are mysto sand bars that just happen over night and can be gone just as fast.  The first thing I do when I get into town is go hang around the Food Lion (only grocery store for 45 minutes) in Avon and just ease drop on any surfer looking type person and even fishermen.  Fishermen can tell you a lot about potential set ups cause most of these bars have deep water on either side of them or in front that fishermen froth for.  Usually in an hour or two I can find out where one of these are if such a miraculous thing exists.

I remember one year there was one all the way at the very end of Frisco just about at the end of the island.  It was an easy five mile hike to the place or accessible by 4×4.  I did not have one but luckily was picked up by a friend.  That sand bar literally was like lower trestles but a left.  It was easily peeling for 100 yards and as killable as a wave can be.  Another year I remember this bar set up for the last two days of my trip over in Avon at ramp 39 and it was like a mini pipeline.  Im talking spitting left and right tubes with solid hurricane swell feeding it.

Then there is “S-Turns”, maybe one of my favorite surf spots in the world.  I think it is in my top ten for sure.  I guess at one time or another when the island was wider right at the beginning of Rodanthe there was a forest that got washed away considering the island is barely thirty feet wide there now and floods all the time.  The stumps were all left behind and it created perfect sand banks thanks to all the roots and stumps holding in the sand.  Basically the place is eight or ten peaks of perfect a-frames that can either be a skate park or a barrel fest depending on the day.

Finally OBX is scattered with dilapidated fishing piers that all have their own distinguishing characteristics. Frisco pier is in my opinion the best, but I have scored Kitty Hawk pier, Rodanthe Pier, Duck Pier, Avon Pier and Nags Head Pier pretty damn epic as well.  Shit I got hooked six times by some red neck at Avon Pier and would have drowned if not for some fellow south Jersey guys and the help of the Geilselman family.

Bottom line the place is a surfers dream.  If it were not for the inclement winters I would have moved there instead of Santa Barbara.  Unfortunately even though it is the south the water still dips into the low forties and the air goes way worse then that.  The place is pretty pristine and will always stay that way thanks to being a National seashore.  All the towns are super small and have miles of undeveloped coastline between them of just huge rolling dunes, marshlands and open beach. Its beautiful out there and I recommend it a visit for everyone.  Although if you want the best surf/weather go between August thru November.

For me Cape Hatteras will always be a very special place.  I have had some great contest results, surfed excellent waves, met many of good friends, spent real quality time with old friends, partied like a rock star, lived in a tent, nearly blew myself up with fire works and always felt refreshed after a tenure there.  I hope to go back someday for a week or two one fall, but until then she will always be in my heart.  To my east coast friends and especially my Hatteras friends get a tube for me.

Here is a slide show of my favorite pictures from Hatteras from years past.

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Kooky Kyle takes this week’s UCB in what I have to say was a hard fought battle.  There were so many good suggestions this week it took me nearly a half hour to go through and select one.  Ok that’s a bit of a lie I was also chatting with like three people on Facebook as well.  Thank you everyone for taking it up a notch from the poor showing of the previous week.

Apparently the ASP World Tour is planning on doing one of the “World Tour” events on the East Coast US to go along with world class venues such as Pipe, J-Bay, G-Land and Trestles.  Kooky asked my opinion on the situation.  Being a former professional surfer and resident of the east coast I find myself more then qualified to give thoughts on the subject.  For more information about this event or the WT and ASP click the following links: http://blogs.surfermag.com/office-blog/the-world-tour’s-next-stop-east-coast-usa-2/ and http://www.aspworldtour.com/ .

I guess the first major issue would be is the east coast a viable contest destination for that caliber of surfing.  It certainly can be. There are some serious beach breaks very comparable to France or Brazil two places that both host a World Tour contest.  There are reefs and point breaks up in the New England area that are more then able to produce world class waves on the right day.  The key word is “right day”.

The East Coast is fickle with a swell window that travels the wrong way making it very short.  Weather is tricky considering that your heaviest surf usually comes in the frigid late fall early winter time period and I don’t think the top 32 surfers in the world are about to don a 5/4/3 when they could be at a handful of other destinations with as good if not better quality.  That is a guarantee.

Why is the ASP entertaining such an idea then?  Let me be the first to say its not for the quality of waves, but the quality of the market.  Over the last four years the tour is constantly getting more commercial oriented moving away from the “Dream Tour” surfers once fought hard to achieve.  Face the facts the ASP is a business and so is professional surfing.  The more fans, the more t-shirts that get sold and the more money that is produced.

This is how the world works.  The east coast of the US is a huge market, a rich market and a stoked one.  Overall surfers on the east coast care way more about surfing and having the latest gadgets/paraphernalia then out here on the west coast and with all the down time between swells have more time to think about it.  Shit I know when I lived out there I bought all tons of useless crap and over priced clothing because I thought that was what a surfer was suppose to wear and do.

It was not till I moved out west where surfing became an everyday occurrence that I realized what a crock it all was and began wearing $3 dollar Kmart t-shirts if it meant more time surfing and less time working.  Take the Brazil event as a perfect example the last six years they have held it at Santa Catarina, Brazil, one of the most consistent waves in the country, yet this year they are moving it to Rio, a way worse wave location.  Rio is a way bigger venue, which will bring out more crowds and sell more advertising space.  Remember there was a time back in the 80’s when the ASP held a contest in a wave pool in the middle of Pennsylvania.

Where and when should this event take place?   To me the answer is obvious and should be held either the end of September or any time in October.  The water is still warm and at this point there are both Nor’easter swells and hurricane swells on offer.  As far as a location goes I think a mobile Hatteras or Outer Banks, North Carolina event would work the best.  Cape Hatteras Light House is arguably the most consistent spot on the East Coast and then there are also plenty of other options depending on swell and wind.

Certainly the beach breaks there as good as France.  During the time period I have mentioned it is very rare to go a week with out a decent wave.  I remember years where I would get ten to twelve days out there of straight surf at least chest high or better.  Out of all my travels it is still one of my favorites to visit and one of the entities I miss the most about leaving the east.

People would be stoked too.  No body loves surf stars like east coasters do.  I know I still get star struck when I see Dane Reynolds paddle out and blow up Emma Wood, an everyday thing around here.  I nearly fall over every time Slater or Tom Curren make everyone else look like kooks at Rincon.  It would definitely be a moneymaker and you know what that is why there are commercial sporting events in the first place; to make money.

I am all for a WT East Coast event.  I watched my favorite pros surf shitty waves at nearly every other venue on tour even some of the ones that were suppose to be all time.  Why not see them grovel in my old stomping grounds.

Hatteras. Good enough for the pros??????

You be the Judge.

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