Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Crystal Coast

Just returned from our family beach vacation to Emerald Isle. Emerald Isle is part of what's called the "Crystal Coast". This is the southern most portion of the Outer Banks that includes Cedar Island, Harkers Island, Core Banks, Cape Lookout, Shackleford Banks, Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Emerald Isle, Cedar Point, Swansboro, and Bear Island. It is a very diverse area for all kinds of recreation. It's also very diverse for windsurfing.

Hatteras Island still rules as far as windsurfing because of it's various launches, various conditions, spots to sail, its shops, and the fact that many other windsurfers from around the world travel there. You'll be hard pressed to see any cars and trucks with gear on top at the Crystal Coast like you do when visiting Hatteras Island. There used to be a couple of windsurfing shops in Emerald Isle and Salter Path, but they're no longer around. However, most local North Carolina windsurfers and some out-of-state windsurfers know of the hidden windsurfing gem of the Crystal Coast and what it has to offer. Depending on the wind direction and tide schedules, you can find waves, swell, chop, and flat water. It's said the waves off the Core Banks in a NE may be the biggest on the east coast due to the long fetch from Diamond Shoals. But only a few have windsurfed there since you can only get there by water and it's logistically difficult. When I lived in Greensboro, the Triad Windsurfing Club used to take annual windsurfing trips to Emerald Isle.

Here is an excellent listing and summary of the best spots on the Crystal Coast (scroll down to "Morehead City" and "Emerald Isle" sections)...but there are many other places to launch.

Last week, I ended up windsurfing in Bogue Sound (after having tried by failed to get to Harkers Island). I also windsurfed in the ocean on another day in crystal clear blue water that looked like the Caribbean. I also stand up paddled in the ocean and sound. There wasn't much of a swell last week so I only caught some small knee high wave rides on the SUP. I also took my daughter, her cousin, and my brother-in-law on a kayaking adventure to Bear Island and shelled for sand dollars and conk shells. There are miles and miles of remote barrier islands and back water areas to explore on SUP or kayak. The area is so diverse and the water recreational possibilities are endless.

Here is a short 2 minute video of windsurfing in Bogue Sound.

Bogue Sound from WaterTurtle Productions on Vimeo.

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