14 Feb 2022
When you’re looking for breaking waves on the Outer Banks, it’s not always as simple as grabbing your board and heading east until you hit the sand. Yes, the OBX is famous for some of the best breaks on the east coast. However, they’re not always as easy to locate as those off the Pacific. We asked some true OBX locals some of their go-tos for frequent swells. Graciously, they decided to divulge some of their favorite hot spots!
While Jeanette’s Pier isn’t exactly a “secret” spot for good surfing, it doesn’t diminish the plentiful waves you can catch while here on vacation. Located in South Nags Head, the pier is a wonderful tourist attraction of its own, but if you hit the water at the right time of day, you can have a lengthy and fruitful session of rolling waves. Locals recommend the early morning hours for two reasons: mornings are usually better for clean, rolling breaks and you’ll avoid the heavy crowds that frequent this part of the beach during the day. Book your reservation at one of our Nags Head homes and see for yourself!
Beaches North of Cape Point in Hatteras
There are numerous reasons why many surfers prefer the areas near Hatteras over the northern Outer Banks Beaches. For one, the water is usually warmer and clearer than other areas and two jetties of the area collided on the beaches north of Cape Point. What does this mean for surfers? This excellent natural collision produces consistent clean and high breaks. Here, you can also experience some of the best barrels the OBX has to offer! But don’t take our word for it. Stop in as a spectator for the many surf competitions this area holds throughout the year! Book your reservation at one of our Hatteras homes and see for yourself!
S-Curves North of Rodanthe
The “S-Curves”, also known as the “S-Turns”, is the name for the winding stretch of Pea Island Road in Northern Rodanthe. This spot is renowned for producing consistent waves anywhere from 3 feet to 8 feet and higher! You’ll know you’re there when you hit the winding, s-shaped highway. Another benefit of surfing the S-Curves is that the waves are equally high at any point of the day, as opposed to other areas, where larger swells emerge in the early morning hours.
Old Station/Laundromats at Milepost 2 in Kitty Hawk
If you’re vacationing on the Outer Banks, the likelihood that you’ll be staying in Kitty Hawk or a surrounding town is pretty high. Luckily, you don’t always have to travel to the far ends of our barrier islands to enjoy clean and steady waves. For example, a prime area for nice breaks is “Old Station” near milepost 2 in Kitty Hawk. Many cottages used to reside in this area, but have since been cleared and the wide spread of beach left is a popular hot spot for many local surfers. In older days, the area was referred to as “Old Station”, but now you’ll hear the name “Laundromats” thrown around a bit more. For the higher waves that hold well, head to the northern end of this area around high tide. Book your reservation at one of our Kitty Hawk homes and see for yourself! You surely won’t be disappointed!
Avalon Pier is another prime choice for catching clean, rolling sets in the more populated OBX area. There’s plenty of parking, but, like Jeanette’s pier, you’ll need to head out early if you want to avoid the crowds. Here, you’ll find the best waves roll in after a storm. The area is an exposed beach and jetty break and the best swells usually come in from the northeast direction. Like any area, there are some flat spells, but Avalon Pier is still well-known for putting out clean breaks that can be ridden and even barreled at any point of the year. Book your reservation at one of our Kill Devil Hills homes and see for yourself!
Surf Forecasts and Lesson/Rental Locations
While you can surely have some luck taking your board out at any of these spots at any time, it’s always best to be informed. For the best surf forecasts of these areas and more check out surfline.com and magicseaweed.com. And if you’re just a beginner, the Outer Banks is a great place to improve your skills! There are several surf schools in the area and Kitty Hawk Kites is definitely one of the best around for lessons! If you need to rent a surfboard, they’ve got you covered. Just mention your reservation with us to receive 10% off all adventure gear rentals! In addition to Kitty Hawk Kites, these other local businesses also offer surfing lessons:
- Kitty Hawk Kayak & Surf School
The big takeaway here is that the Outer Banks is a prime location for riding some nice, east coast waves. Yes, hotspots all over our barrier islands rotate in putting out the best waves, but by knowing where to locate and using tools like web surf forecasts, you increase your chances of having a highly-productive day after paddling out. Now that you know where to look, why wait?! Book one of our vacation rentals today, and ride some OBX waves until your soul is satisfied!
Frequently Asked Questions:
May I surf right beside a fishing pier?
While many pier locations are hotspots on our list for good waves, we recommend staying at least 100 feet from the actual pier. This is so you don’t harm yourself on the poles and so you don’t snag a hook from fishermen above!
When is the best time to go surfing on the Outer Banks?
Many of the locations mentioned here offer rideable waves at any point during the year. However, you’ll consistently find larger waves during the fall season, as opposed to the summer.
When am I not allowed to go surfing?
You may not go swimming when the red flags are up on the beaches. This is illegal both for your safety and for the safety of others (like lifeguards who will have to drag you in from the raging sea!). Being in the water during this period can warrant you a fine, in addition to accruing serious bodily injury.
When do I need to wear a wet suit when surfing and where can I rent one?
You DON’T need a wetsuit between late June and early October. For the rest of the year, yes, we highly recommend one. The good news is you can rent a wetsuit from many of the surf schools listed above. Please check with each company for wetsuit rental availability and pricing.