FUN on the Dunes at Jockey's Ridge!

Of course there is excellent soundside windsurfing and kiteboarding found on the water west of Jockey's Ridge; however, this post centers on the fun found among the actual sandy dunes of the park! Jockey's Ridge State Park showcases the largest natural sand dunes found on the US East Coast. The terrain offers Sahara Desert-like views of nothing but sand and sky depending upon the vantage point. Coupled with scrub brush forests and unique dunes and ridge lines, a hike though the park is an experience not to be missed when visiting the Outer Banks. One of the biggest attractions on the dunes is hang gliding. With a steady east wind, the dunes come alive with excellent conditions for experienced or novice gliders. My buddy Tony Varga, a FedEx airline pilot, neighbor, and best man at my wedding, expanded from his water sports of surfing and kiteboarding to begin his aerial hang gliding adventure this summer with Kitty Hawk Kites. Given that our neighborhood borders the park, he was prime to venture into the dunes and fly! After earning his Level 1 rating, and recent Level 2, along with the purchase of an hang glider, he is amped to fly the dunes just minutes away from where we live!

Lauren, the little guy, and I hiked up to catch some of Tony's flights over the weekend! Check these out (click any image to open gallery)! (photographer: Lauren Nassetta)

In windsurfing news, you have likely been following the Pistol River Wave Bash, hosted in southern coastal Oregon, which scored epic conditions this past weekend! Congrats to the organizers and participants for an awesome venue and major plug for US mainland wavesailing! I definitely have to plan to be out there next year! For excellent video coverage of the event be sure to check out Pritchard Brothers Windsurfing.

Speaking of US wavesailing events, Hatteras Wave Jam 2010 will be officially announced very soon. Stay tuned!

Here on the OBX, we are locked into extremely flat ocean conditions and moderate SW wind. If only we had even a hint of a wave....?! Oh well, I guess the surf can only get better?!

Also on the FLASH wire, I received an email from Justin, a state park service ranger, noting this info nugget regarding kiteboarding on Pea Island. I noticed that the latest update on this regulation list was dated June 15, 2010, but see the line where "Kiteboarding and the use of Personal Watercraft are prohibited." Hmmmm, more on this piece in a future post.


At 9:28 AM, Blogger Tony Varga said...

Wow.Very cool being in the Headlines!...Yup...no wind or Not so useful east wind now becomes prime conditions for dune surfing in the air. Watching the guys who can fly the dune well make it look so easy. Hope to be able to do that soon! Its Like surfing an invisible wave...balance, agility, timing and skill will keep you up in the air just as much as they will get you down the line.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Relax said...

I'm keeping late September/early October open for the "Wave Jam". Looking forward to the details.

Ken K

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Waterturtle said...

Bill, I hope to make the Wave Jam...looking forward to details.

I like the hang gliding pics. Fun to see the non water stuff that happens on the island too.

Scary that kiteboarding is banned on Pea Island?!? What's that about? I hope that's not a slippery slope leading to ban of windsurfing, SUP, etc.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Hey Mac,

Yea, the kiteboarding ban on Pea Island, right up there with jet skis, was a shock to see it actually in publicized regulations.

I am speculating here, but I believe this ties to a recent power outage experienced for all points south of Oregon Inlet a few weeks ago when a kite was caught in the power lines running along Pea Island. I do not have confirmation this was the reason for the ban, but the post I submitted noting the fun session wavesailing SW side-on in Frisco was the same day of the power outage, and I actually noticed the kite wrapped in the power line when I drove down for that Frisco sesh.

I believe its either 1) the risk of island power outages; or 2) "environmental impact" due to similarities of a kite to "diving predatory birds."

Though, if I was to put money on real reason for the ban, its most likely to mitigate power outage risk since SW is the predominant wind direction and the only power line feeding all of Hatteras Island runs along Rt 12 on Pea Island. SW wind direction blows directly across the line and a free flying kite will easily be caught by the lines.

Stay tuned though as I am planning a follow up post on this ban once I find out some more details.

As for Wave Jam, news to come this week!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Chuck said...

Bill, Tony:

As a Hang(Level)4 hang glider pilot since 1975, former KHK Hang Gliding Instructor (1980) and avid windsurfer too, it was great to see the glider photos on you blog. Congrats to Tony too for taking his first fledgling flights into the fabulous world of hang gliding!
Now just as windsurfers always talk about the afternoon thermal in horizontal wind terms, you will now begin to think dream of harnessing its vertical energy as it takes you and your glider hundreds and thousands of feet up into the sky! Way Cool!!!

Chuck Rhodes
Chesapeake, VA

At 3:18 PM, Blogger George Markopoulos said...

Bring on the Jam!


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