Abruptly jutting out off the Eastern Seaboard into the Atlantic Ocean, the Outer Banks of North Carolina can be a surfer’s dream.
The Outer Banks are practically a sitting duck for the largest swells that the Atlantic can throw at the East Coast. Positioned right where the Cold Labrador Current meets the warm Gulf Stream, the waters off the Outer Banks are positively active with swell-generating storms and low-pressure systems.
Basically, the Outer Banks are a series of peaky beach breaks made up of various sandbars located along the 300 miles of accessible coastline. These sandbars will shift throughout the year, as big storms (hurricanes & Northeasters) swoop in and carry the sand either north or south. But fear not: as one beack break diminishes, another is born.
The Outer Banks surf season starts in late July and extends through May. Hurricane season typically produces consistent, large southeast swell. As fall and winter set in, low-pressure systems begin to move off the Northeastern states, producing consistent northeast swell through winter and spring.
The great thing about Outer Banks surfing is that you get a feel for all four seasons. Summer’s weather and water are very warm, and there is plenty of sunshine. As fall sets in, cooler temps prevail and a 3/2 wetsuit is needed. During the dead of winter, surfing need a least a good-fitting 4/3 wetsuit with hood and booties. Then it’s back down to the 3/2 wetsuit with booties for spring.
If you’re traveling through this area, a four-wheel drive is preferable for driving through the miles of soft sand.
Outer Banks Surf Breaks
Below is a breakdown of the major Outer Banks Surf Spots.
Note: these are the major surfing cities. Large storms frequently move sandbars, destroying breaks and creating new ones. So, Outer Banks surfers are always driving around looking for the best area sandbars. This is why we did not include any formal names or directions to Outer Banks surf spots. Happy Hunting!!