Surfing on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Buxton, North Carolina

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The Outer Banks is renowned as the best East Coast surfing location, and the best Outer Banks surfing, no doubt, is on Hatteras Island within Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It wasn’t until the 1960s that surfing really took off on the Outer Banks, though locals had been establishing the sport here before that. In the ’60s, the word got out about Outer Banks waves, and surfers from all along the East Coast began making road trips to the area’s deserted beaches. Many of those early surfers ended up staying for good. Today, it’s harder to stereotype surfers; one reason is that there are many more people doing it here than ever before. The teenagers who started the sport here are all grown up and working regular jobs, but they still like to surf and now their kids are surfing the Outer Banks breaks. Several generations of the same family can be found in the water at once. Many of the devout surfers on the Outer Banks are fun-loving high school and college kids, but others are lawyers, engineers, parents, artists, restaurateurs, contractors, business owners, and more professionals who consider surfing a necessary spiritual experience. Several of the locals have become professional surfers.
Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores

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Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores

by Molly Perkins Harrison (Falcon Guides)

The Outer Banks is renowned as the best East Coast surfing location, and the best Outer Banks surfing, no doubt, is on Hatteras Island within Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It wasn’t until the 1960s that surfing really took off on the Outer Banks, though locals had been establishing the sport here before that. In the ’60s, the word got out about Outer Banks waves, and surfers from all along the East Coast began making road trips to the area’s deserted beaches. Many of those early surfers ended up staying for good.

Today, it’s harder to stereotype surfers; one reason is that there are many more people doing it here than ever before. The teenagers who started the sport here are all grown up and working regular jobs, but they still like to surf and now their kids are surfing the Outer Banks breaks. Several generations of the same family can be found in the water at once. Many of the devout surfers on the Outer Banks are fun-loving high school and college kids, but others are lawyers, engineers, parents, artists, restaurateurs, contractors, business owners, and more professionals who consider surfing a necessary spiritual experience. Several of the locals have become professional surfers.

©  Molly Perkins Harrison/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Buxton
Trail Type: Several options
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Contact information for the national seashore, visitor centers, and local resources are provided in the eTrail.
Driving Directions: Directions to Surfing on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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May 2018