Kiteboarding Crystal Coast

Kiteboarding Crystal Coast – Welcome to the Wild Wild East. Somewhere near the land of plenty, there lies a land that is untamed by many a kiter. There is a land that begs for exploration by the person with an adventurist spirit. We are all well aware of the path that leads to the Outer Banks, but are you aware of the Southern Outer Banks? This path is less traveled, less explored, and completely untamed.

We have islands; yes you heard that correctly, islands! Our coast is peppered with islands that are uninhabited by man, but the beasts roam free. 17th century horses left from shipwrecks have survived and prospered on these beautiful chunks of land in the sea. The waters are emerald in color like a beautiful gem that has yet to be discovered. It shouts and begs for your exploration. Pack your quiver of kites, grab your boards and all of your gear because this exploration is new, exciting, and wide open.

Let’s start with Bogue Banks, which is the main island. Here you will find plenty of places for ocean downwinders. When the wind blows out of the south we get some good surf because of our south-facing beaches. There are several good bars that produce some nice size rollers that you can play in while you head down the island. Feeling like a long downwinder? Take off at Emerald Isle and ride down to Atlantic Beach. This distance is from 20 to 26 miles depending on where you start and end. Let’s start with the point: Coast Guard Point! This is the western end of Bogue Banks, which ends at Bogue Inlet. Looking across you can see Bear Island just a short distance away. Coast Guard Point gives you a diverse area for kiteboarding. Ride the tide pool and find the flattest water around or ride ocean side on low tide and you will find a sandbar that blocks the surf to produce flat water in the ocean. Head out to the outer bar and find some of the best surf on the east coast. Sound good? We are just getting started!

Let’s head east from Coast Guard Point. If you start from this end of the island you could do the full downwind run to Atlantic Beach. This run is for seasoned veterans only. As you move down the beach on a southwest wind, you will encounter a lot of people gawking at you from the beach. Don’t be alarmed, they are only lustily looking at the amazement of what kiteboarding is. They will be pulling out their smart phones to snap your photo. Keep on going with your bad self and continue east toward Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach. You will pass by 3 piers, one of which is pretty short from Hurricane Irene’s angry surf. Once you pass the last pier, which is named Oceanana, you are almost to the finish line. The last point you can land a kite is at Fort Macon State Park. Pull out there and pack it up. If you have made it the whole length of the island, you are going to have to reward yourself with a tasty dinner at one of the many restaurants, either in Atlantic Beach or the waterfront of Morehead City.

At this point, many kiters would be satisfied with the diversity of riding that Bogue Banks has provided. We who live here would say you have not even begun to explore what this area is all about. You have just tapped into a small portion of the resource that has been bestowed upon a few. We are extending a hand to show it to many, or any who care to experience the awesomeness that it is.

Let’s look a little further east from Fort Macon State Park. Just across the inlet you can see another island. What island is that you ask?

Shackleford Banks (Shack) is full of wild horses, as was alluded to earlier. This is where you can find your north wind kiting location. You will find a host of different conditions, but it is mainly flat water with a little bit of chop. There are some small shoals, which can provide the perfect area for butter flat water. If you are a surfer and the wind has just gone north after a strong southerly, you may want to take a hike across the island and see the phenomenon of the Shack surf scene. The secret is out about this spot and on a good day there may be several hundred people, but that is a rare occurrence. If the wind has moved back to the south and you’re not much for riding in the ocean, just look a little bit to the northwest and you will see another island. Yes, another Island!

Carrot Island is located close to the town of Beaufort, North Carolina. It is another uninhabited island with wild horses. On a calm day this is a great place to go Stand Up Paddleboarding. You can easily access Taylors Creek and drop a board in the water. Be mindful of the tide because it can make it pretty difficult to paddle against. There are some cuts in the island that you can paddle in and possibly see some of the wild horses. If the wind is cranking and you’re up for kiting, then you will definitely want to ride Sand Dollar Shoal, which is just a short distance to the south of Carrot Island. This shoal provides the perfect flat-water location. We would even dare to say that this is some of the best butter on the east coast. One thing you will notice while in this area is the absolute stunning beauty that surrounds you. You will have questions running through your mind as you race across the flat water. The one that will reoccur most will be, “why haven’t I spent my life coming here?” Its okay, you’re here now!

By now you must be thinking that we have exhausted all of our coolest locations. While we don’t want to start an argument with you, you are fortunately wrong. We have a lot more, but we can’t cover them all or you would get tired of our ranting.

Its quite likely you have heard of Cape Lookout National Seashore. We are happy to say that we are blessed enough to have that as part of our coast. The Cape runs north and south so the beaches face the east and west. What does this mean? It means that you have the ultimate playground for the waterman. The Cape will rival the best surf the Outer Banks has to offer. If the wind has been blowing for several days out of the NE, you can guarantee the Cape will be going off! That is on the east side of the island. If you’re not into surfing and the wind is blowing NE, then you can ride inside the bight. This area is sheltered from the ocean as the island comes around in a hook. To the west you can see Shack and its close enough to kite over and ride the backside for some butter flat conditions. There are even some sand dunes you can climb and jump off back to the water if the tide is right. We would not advise this unless you are at the expert level of kiteboarding. All of this and we have only discussed the southern half of the island.

If you have a 4X4 vehicle you can take it over for a fee and then do some real exploring. For lodging, you can actually reserve some cabins on the island that have no power, which adds to the rustic vibe that the island offers. If you don’t want to do that, then you can just camp. Get out and explore this island, which has the potential for some of the best riding that kiteboarding has to offer. With just a quick search on Google Earth, you will see the endless potential for flat water lagoons and undiscovered wild wilderness. It’s not just a question of should you come and check out the Crystal Coast; it’s a question of how soon can you get here? You are the only one that can answer that question. We urge you not to quit your job after reading this article, because some of these activities do cost money, but they are quite reasonable. Go and talk to your boss and tell him of your upcoming plans. We look forward to seeing you in this untamed land of luscious landscapes and beautiful beaches. Please email us with any questions at or visit our website at

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