Is it worth it to go to the southern outer banks (Cape Lookout) or all the way to Hatteras for better surf in the summer? I suppose I am asking how much better is the surf on the various outer banks than what you would get in the WB area. Does anyone know?
I live in Charlotte (land locked), which means I have to travel hours regardless to surf. I rotate between FB, SC (shortest drive, rideable waves), WB (longer drive, better waves/more power), and OBX (ridiculous drive, best waves/lines/power). OBX gets more rotation relative to the others during the summer because it picks up significantly more swell energy (it is the only place to go), so there are numerous times when there are waves there during the summer, while WB is flat. The waves are also better than WB, hands down. I would suggest to commit and go all the way to Hatteras and not Cape Lookout. If you go to that area, then you can traverse the entire range from Kill Devil Hills through Rodanthe, all the way down to Frisco to find the best waves. That range has beaches which face different directions, picking up different swells. If you go to Cape Lookout, you are probably going to miss out on what KDH through Rodanthe would pick up. The added bonus is that you are also not going to have to deal with surf zones, unlike WB in the summer. As a disclaimer, I have never been to Cape Lookout (would not make sense for me to drive there vs Nags Head) and am just basing the swell statement vs OBX proper on how it sits on the coast line.
You are aware that you have to take a boat to get to Cape Lookout, right? No way of knowing how it's breaking at Cape Lookout except to take a boat and go over there. If you're traveling for the main purpose of catching surf, then keep heading North to Cape Hatteras. We rarely catch it good here at the S. OBX, most of the guys here head South to your area or North to Hatteras.
It's not a secret that the coast of the outer banks gets some juice and has power. Every where gets theirs if you know when and where to look. Something about Cape Lookout, besides that it does get really good, is that it kind of provides a little adventure. You kind of have to do your homework to catch it good. It is kind of fun to catch a boat ride out, catch it good, and not have a lot of people around.
Thanks for the feedback. I can't always tell from the forecasts. I believe there is a ferry that goes to Cape Lookout but it could be more complicated and a better risk of getting skunked.
We camped in Frisco all through my childhood and I only remember one flat day in all the years we camped there. But I didn't know anything about surf then and as a kid every wave seems big. I did go to OBX in early May once and it is true there was surf from Nags Head down to Ocracoke.. The water in Nags Head was icy but warm in Ocracoke. I was learning then and found the surf to be windy rough and closing out a lot. I saw chest to head high shore breaks dumping right on the beach in some spots. The wind was so strong I couldn't pitch a tent that would stay up. I know a lot more about surfing now but I also know I should check the wind forecast before thinking of camping.