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Old Lighthouse Beach, Cape Hatteras, Carolina

Cape Hatteras
Region: North America
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Located in North Carolina, Cape Hatteras is one of the better windsurfing spots out there and one of the best in the good old US of A. Proof of this fact is that Cape Hatteras is the fourth stop on the 2011 American Windsurfing Tour. As a matter of fact, representatives of the American Windsurfing Tour called Cape Hatteras the premier wave sailing destination on the East Coast. The swell generated during the annual hurricane season, the strong winds, make Cape Hatteras an ideal side-of wave sailing destination.

The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is a major landmark; it is in fact the tallest lighthouse in the US. Built in 1870, it stood near the water until 1999, when it was moved inland. That is good news for windsurfers, because the “Old Lighthouse Beach” as it is called, is a great spot and with the lighthouse gone, there’s plenty of space for parking. It is not a novice-friendly spot, mind you. You could end up losing a mast when the waves are big, you could not even make it out if you’re not that good. You should launch some 50 yards south of the jetty. You may not make it out from the first try because the wind is rather light on the inside and because of the strong currents which get stronger further south from the jetty you go. If you don’t get out on the first try, walk back up to the jetty and try again. Once you’re out, sailing at this spot can be quite an entertaining experience.

The wind at Cape Hatteras blows predominantly from the NE and SW; for riding it’s better when it blows from the NE. When it does blow from the NE, the swell will build up quickly.

If you’re a novice and you’re looking for a spot that is easier to ride, switch your focus on Pamlico Sound, the lagoon right next to Old Lighthouse Beach. At 80 miles (129km) long and 15 to 30 miles (24 to 48km) wide, it is the largest lagoon on the East Coast. The waist-deep waters of the lagoon are ideal for learning to water start.

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