Our traveling crew was elated to find somewhere to rest our heads for the evening as we checked into a last-minute Nags Head motel. It was nearly 11PM and we’d just come off some semi-severe traffic during the last leg of our Southbound drive.
It was April 8th and town was bustling! Motels and hotels were booked out. Until 10PM rolled around, our crew had never given attention to the thought of not getting a quick room to crash in for the night.
“I think it has to do with that show, The Outer Banks,” concluded the motel’s front desk girl.
“Was that even filmed here?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “But in the last year or so we had a big article come out and say OBX has the best beaches on the East Coast and that show came out.”
I knew I hated that show. And we were beginning to hate the resulting crowds without even being in North Carolina for a full day.
We began to heavily sample a local IPA called Busch ICE. Afterwards, we were all unsure if we had scored the front desk chicks or that was just a blur from the “Barely Legal” section at Biscuits N’ Porn. Confused and hungover we scurried South in search of solitude.
Finally, we had made it to the first island town on The Banks. It was time to camp, cook meats over the open fire, and score empty waves. Yet again, we noticed something different than previous trips–people! People checking the waves, people walking over random dunes, people parked in weird places.
“But we usually do all that stuff,” complained Mike Excell.
And we saw more people.
“But we hate people,” said Nick Holland. “That’s why we’re here.”
Rain was forecasted for our first night of camping. Could this be the beginning of the end? Unsure of what the rest of our trip would hold, we drank liquor and grilled meats–hoping for the best.
Instead of rain, we woke to brilliant sunlight. After a granola bar breakfast the wind subsided. The UV index was reading an 8! Shirts popped off as we tried to roast away our Winter whiteness.
Soon after, the flag hanging above our head went limp. We rushed to a local beach to find an abundance of swell and nobody surfing.
However, surfers took notice to our presence. They proceeded to see our car pulled off to the side of the road and check the surf every time we rolled up. But to our excitement, that’s all they did. It wasn’t until hour four of our second day’s session when we finally surfed with other people.
By the end of the trip, we realized that even a popular Netflix show could never ruin this trip for us boys. We scored mysto sandbars, had beach days all to ourselves, met kind people when we did engage with other humans, and basically checked every box that makes a great trip to The Banks.
“And had many hot tub beers,” said Sean Gallagher–reminding me that camping one night of seven is not that gnarly.
We’re thankful that such a place exists and can’t wait to be back. Til then, enjoy the resulting swell gallery below from a week’s worth of surf on OBX.
Photos: Nick Holland, Ryan Gallagher, and Mike Excell.
Surfers: Ryan Gallagher, Mike Excell, and Sean Gallagher.