Hatteras Lighthouse vs. Ocracoke

The previous two posts showcase the prime locales for Hatteras wavesailing in NE wind. There is debate as to which place is better and both sides note the plus and minuses of each spot.

I would say that the following likely applies:
If conditions warrant “survival sailing” at Lighthouse Beach, then the southern facing beaches such as Ocracoke would likely be best. There are times when Lighthouse Beach is completely blown out and it is simply a washing machine as far as the eye can see. The fun factor in these conditions is quite low since it feels more like survival out on the water if you even make it out past the surf zone. Keith with a top hit on one of the best chest high waves at Ocracoke on Tuesday - photo: Jim MyersOcracoke is fantastic when there is sizable swell wrapping from the north, or a strong southern ground swell. However, waist to chest high surf stemming from a northern wind swell questions the worthiness of the drive even if conditions are side-off to offshore and "clean." The tidal effect either makes or breaks the lineup, and the wave is generally pretty weak. The outside swell lines are hard to find, and the micro chop/bump makes it difficult while bouncing all over the place.

Tuesday, Lighthouse Beach - Jay foreground, Tommy background in the lineupOn the other hand, if Lighthouse Beach is not a washing machine, there is usually sizable outside swell which provides easy pickings for an outside turn back to the wave break. Lines do form and DTL riding can be done with an opened sail at the top turn. Fast moving current can be an issue, but launching near the groin generally lessens the current and can make it easier to get out. The Lighthouse also provides fun ramps for jumps and other aerial acrobatics. Though, it can get crowded with surfers and kiteboarders all jockeying for a narrow area of waves downwind of the groin.

Quality vs. quantity this past week was dependent upon whether you prefer bigger surf or cleaner wave zone lines. Given the two days and the options between Lighthouse Beach and Ocracoke, its a tough call, but I would have to pick Hatteras Lighthouse Beach. "Grass is always greener..."

See what we missed on Tuesday at Lighthouse Beach!
Glad to see that the kite crew scored big time in the surf, and not in the ferry traffic!

(All kiteboarding photos by Lane DuPont)

Tuesday, Lighthouse Beach - Jay eying a nice section!

Tuesday, Lighthouse Beach - Tommy with arm raised...well overhead high surf!

Caleb on a nice line Monday at the Lighthouse. Missed it on Tuesday!
Photographer: Bill B


At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess it shows that Hatteras has something for everyone. Do you want your waves with Side-On or Side-Off winds. The Island delivers, you make the choice. Didn't you guys sail port and starboard on the same day two weeks ago. Can't do that on the West Coast. The East Coast rules.

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like hatteras wave sailors are aging,rather than face the thought of a long swim or possibly a long walk,its much easier to say it sucks and drive around looking for small easy waves

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Keith said...

dear anonymous, yeah..we are aging while you are sitting on your butt in front of your computer.. ;-) Bill, great synopsis.. I've always liked both spots.. I enjoy sailing the LH till i've had enough of the onshore antics then its always fun to sail the offshore stuff on the next day or two.. we've got it good..two spots to choose from for the same wind direction.. we should be so lucky.. enjoy it while you can..like anonymous pointed out life is short, so i'll add.. quit your whining and go sailing! ya'll sound like a bunch of kiteboarders.:-)) - Keith
ps does anyone have the balls to sign their name?

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like windsurfing at the lighthouse because you get to watch the Park Service throw a stack of dead kiteboarders into the dumpster at the end of the day!

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your right keith,as long as you sail the L.H at least once outa of a 3 day n.e blow,but to drive to ocracoke for weak waist hi surf when the light house is chest to head and 5.2?help me understand that...why not just go to hatty inlet or izzy if you want to road surf? While im at it...just cuz you dont kite(or sign your name)i know who you are...EMO stop leaving comments that make you sound like a "local" they ride waves way better than you.signed...instig8tr

At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wondered what that smell was when you drive by those dumpsters. Thanks for filling me in.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would someone please tell me what an EMO is? I hear everyone talking about one but have never actually seen one. Is it like a nutria? or bigger? Do EMO's ever get wet? Does it wear it's trunks over it's wetsuit? Maybe Bill could post a picture of an EMO so that the rest of us would know!

At 10:52 AM, Blogger EC said...

Yeah, what the hell is an Emo?
Any wind in sight?


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