08/12/08

Hatteras Island Sports

From kayaking to kiteboarding, the island was made for those who just can’t stay out of the wind or water. It’s no wonder that thousands of people flock to the island from all over the world for its exceptional weather and water conditions, both on and off the beaches.
New to the island sporting scene? Then pick a sport, grab some gear, and get ready for a little exercise. Remember that equipment and lessons are available up and down the island at renowned local surf and sport shops, like Kitty Hawk Kites, REAL Kiteboarding, Avon Surf Shop, and Hatteras Island Board Sports. Call before you arrive to reserve a lesson or equipment rental, or simply stop by for information once you’re on the island.

Kiteboarding
You might notice the sky over the Pamlico Sound filled with colossal colorful kites. These are the trailblazing signs of kiteboarders. Adapted from windsurfing, and borrowing principals of wakeboarding, kiteboarding takes the theory of riding the wind and water a step forward.
Hatteras Island was one of the first spots where Kiteboarding took flight, at Kite Point – the sandy beach adjacent to Canadian Hole in between Avon and Buxton.
The reason why this sport has flourished in popularity is simple. The wind conditions on the Outer Banks are perfect for kiteboarders, who reach peak performance in 10-25 mph winds. The Pamlico Sound offers beginners a calm training ground for learning the sport, while advanced kiteboarders can try their hand at surfing the waves of the Atlantic.
Of course, ocean or sound, the big rush comes with a gutsy jump from the water. The kite can actually lift the rider 20-40 feet into the air and allow him to soar for 7 seconds, enabling the kiteboarder to flip, spin, and play well above the water.
Kiteboarding lessons and rentals are available for all skill levels. Contact a local water sports shop for more details.

Surfing
With multiple breaks all along the island, chances are that you can find acceptable conditions for surfing at any time along Hatteras Island. Storm surges can bring in legendary waves and surfers from all along the East Coast, but beginners still have plenty of ways to get their feet wet.
For first timers, try the southern beaches of Frisco and Hatteras where typically smaller waves, (combined with a long board), ensure long leisurely rides to the shore.

Paddle Boarding
The newest craze to hit the beach is paddle boarding. Borrowing principals from Hawaiian locals who have done it for years, paddle boarders use a long board and an oar to navigate gentler waves and enjoy smooth rides along even the smallest breakers.
The waters of South Beach, just south of Buxton’s famous Cape Point, Frisco, and Hatteras are exceptional for this groundbreaking sport, particularly when the wind is gentle and calm.

Skimboarding
A great sport for the younger ones, skimboarding is an easy and inexpensive way to introduce you to board sports. You can pick up these smaller wooden boards at most beach shops, and ride the ocean waves by “skimming” along the shoreline in just a few inches of water.

Windsurfing
For generations, Hatteras Island has been acclaimed as the ultimate windsurfing destination and it’s easy to see why. The same wind and water conditions that attract kiteboarders also reel in windsurfers who smoothly sail along the sound and windy canals throughout the villages.
Check out Canadian Hole, a convenient parking area with bath houses in between Avon and Buxton, to watch the windsurfers in action, and stop by a local shop to learn about lessons and equipment rentals.

Kayaking
A tour of the soundside canals and marshy sound beaches via kayak is a must for nature lovers. Local shops often offer sunset tours along some of the best bird watching and watery view venues on the island. Anyone can enjoy a self-guided kayak exploration by launching from a soundside home, or from a number of sound access points along NC Highway 12.
For the adventure seekers, ocean kayaking offers the same wave riding rush of surfing and kiteboarding. Ready to ride? Weekly kayak rentals and seasonal guided tours are available at a number of local shops on the island, like Ocean Atlantic Rentals and Moneysworth.

Bicycling
Put the pedal to the metal with a marathon bike ride on NC Highway 12 that extends along the entire seashore. You can also find shorter, scenic rides through the quiet back roads of the villages, or along the nature trails in Buxton and Frisco’s maritime forests.

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