Surfing on the Outer Banks

May 13, 2019 6:55 pm

One of the many attractions to the Outer Banks is surfing. We have people who moved to the Outer Banks and live year-round here mainly because they enjoy surfing. We have tourists that come here to enjoy a family vacation but also specifically to surf the ocean.

Each town has a specific type of beach break. Here are some of the spots highlighted by one of the local surf gurus, Brent Nultemeier, owner of the OBX Surf Info.

Surfing waves Outer Banks

Best Places to Surf on the Outer Banks

Corolla has a more gradual sloped bathymetry that brings gentle, crumbly smaller waves – makes it easy to learn on.

Kitty Hawk through Nags Head is pretty much a standard sandbar break where the sandbars change all the time and can create “outside” breaks, “Middle” breaks and “Shore” breaks. There are many rip currents when the surf gets over 4 feet.

Rodanthe is probably one of the best spots to surf. It has deep water that comes up close to the beach which allows traveling waves to keep their energy right before it breaks on the sand. Rodanthe can provide everything from beginner to advanced surf.

Buxton is one of the only places on the Outer Banks that can act as a point break. It can hold a very large swell and wrap around providing some of the longest rides and barrels the Outer Banks has to offer.

Frisco can be a fun spot to surf but it’s more fickle than most due to how the sandbar sets up. Usually, there’s a wide trough between the shore break and outside bar. It’s known to close out or break too fast but on the right day, it can be every bit of fun as all the other breaks.

Piers are always a wave magnet. Mostly due to the way the sand is built up around them. There’s usually a decent break on one side or the other and if you’re lucky – both sides. Jennette’s Pier is probably the most consistent pier for surfing at the moment.

“Everything on the Outer Banks is considered a “Beach Break” set up where the only structure under the water is sand and/or sandbars. Every time a sizable storm comes through, the sand shifts. That’s why it’s a good idea to get in the car and check spots up and down the beach. 9 times out of 10, you can find a great sandbar with no one on it and basically have it all to yourself. If you see a lot of cars pulled over, it’s a good indication that the surf is good but it’s always recommended to keep on searching and spread out. There’s plenty of waves/sandbars for everyone.

The Fall season is the best due to strong storms and hurricanes. Summer is typically flat to knee high on average. Winter-Spring can also produce HEAVY surf but full suits, boots, and gloves are a must due to water temps getting as low as the mid-40s.

Read more information about surf condition on the Outer Banks here.

Please follow the ocean safety guidelines. Have fun, be safe and enjoy the ocean.

If you’re in town and need a surfboard, here are some of the local surf shops that rent out surfboards by the day or week:

Duck Village Outfitter
Duck, and Salvo

Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School
Kitty Hawk

The Pit OBX Surf Shop
Kill Devil Hills

Secret Spot Surf Shop
Nags Head

Hatteras Island Boardsports
Avon

Hatteras Island Surf and Sail
Waves

Rodanthe Surf Shop
Rodanthe

Fox Watersports
Buxton