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Surf trips are the best, especially with family & friends.

The Billings and Ferro families took the surf adventure of a life-time last summer to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and shared with us the details below.

I had been watching surfing movies since I was 8 and my dad turned me on to the thrill of riding a wave. Late at night, I would sit with him and watch movies about the history of wave riding, but by far my favorite was ‘A Hatteras Odyssey’ a short film made in 1975 about the long infamous Outer Banks.

It was the adventure of that movie, which early in 2017 led us both to a crazy idea, to create our own Summer Odyssey,  so the planning began. We had 8 days to hash out the most incredible trip we could think of.  It's true, more people = more fun, we packed up with another adventurous wave rider, my friend and twin from another mother, Lydia Ferro, to join us.

The days were action-packed and went by like a whirlwind of fun, but we did our best to great down all the action day by day.

Monday, July 17th
Mid-July when a yearly swell is known to shower the coast with perfect little rollers on over a hundred miles of raw coast, we packed for a camping adventure with our roof top tent and trailer. Driving North from Brevard County with my parents, we caught Lydia and her mom in Ponce where our adventure begins.

Tuesday, July 18th
Departing Ponce Inlet, we drove 3 hours, just a jump from the Florida/Georgia line, to catch the unusual scenery at Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island) before making our way thru Murrell’s Inlet, S.C. The seas were calm as the yearly swell was due to hit within a day, so we drove on to our first campsite at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Wednesday, July 19th
There were big plans for today, one of my favorite made in the USA companies had invited me to do a photo shoot at their home office in Downtown Wilmington, N.C.– an opportunity I could not pass up. We arrived at the Freaker USA office, a large brick building in the heart of the downtown industrial area that just so happened to be part of the hit television series Dawson’s Creek, where the ever gracious Lauren had the scene set for a morning of eccentric photography and fun with the always entertaining Zac and crew.

With our cameras filled, we made our way towards the coast taking in the far reaching landscape of tidal marsh that lead over to Jeanette’s Pier and just south to Oregon Inlet, a spot well known for it’s consistent beach break and copious amount of mosquitoes. Arriving at the campground, we headed out thru the dunes to find semi-glassy 2-4ft rollers that went on for miles down the
beach. Our quiver of Slydeswere the perfect match for afternoon fun that turned into a sunset session.

Thursday, July 20
Southbound on the single lane highway, we slowly made our way thru the iconic list of beaches along with a visit to the longstanding Rodan the Surf Shop: Pea Island, S-turns, Rodanthe, Waves, and Avon were all on the list, but we found the holy grail of waves for the day just north of the Hatteras lighthouse.

Buxton was a perfect 2-4 ft glassy left which ran along a row of jagged metal ruins from the previous jetty. The locals were more than happy to let two pint sized groms from Florida join the lineup. The stoke was contagious and the same wave replayed for the length of the afternoon. Like hitting the rewind button, the day slipped by as we sat side by side with seasoned watermen trading waves and alternating our Slydes with surfboards.

When we finally made it to Frisco Campground for the night, we hoped to find more waves and less mosquitoes. The long run to the beach from camp didn’t prove fruitful, but the campground roads that followed the dunes were a skateboarder’s dream, so we filled our evening with wave shaped hills to quench the thirst for a watery paradise we knew was still waiting for us the next

Friday, July 21
To make the best use of our time, our trip was planned in a linear fashion- there is only one main road on the OBX and miles of coastline. When we woke up this morning, we knew that once we headed south and boarded the ferry there was no coming back. The decision was unanimous; we couldn’t go without heading back to Buxton. After packing up, we headed back to paddle out for another session.

The conditions weren’t as clean that morning and the tide was further out, but it was still wave after wave. As the morning went on the tide headed deeper pushing the outer break past the ruins, we rounded the north side of the old jetty to find a right that was almost as addictive as the left had been the day before.

We didn’t want to go, but eventually we made our way down to the iconic Frisco Pier where on the south side of the island the waves were messy and blown out. So we went off to the Hatteras Ferry- a one hour boat ride across the inlet on a car carrying ship gave a sense of the uniqueness of this tiny chain of islands. Dolphins danced and birds dove as we crossed the channel and talked about the adventures of the past few days. Tonight’s campground was Ocracoke- a large grassy – and yes, buggy- field and the same messy surf we saw earlier in the day at Frisco.

With dinner on the grill, we played paddleball in the field and at the campfire s’mores were the perfect finish to our day.

Saturday, July 22
Ocracoke is a small island with a bustling tourist economy and though the waves were not cooperating, this little town was not without it’s own merit. Shops were adorned with all things related to life in the slow lane, while the local coffee shop was alive with wide eyed patrons taking in the town’s quaint lifestyle. We visited the most prominent historical features- the Ocracoke horses and a lighthouse- before boarding our final ferry south.

The Ocracoke ferry was a 2.5 hour trip to the furthest scattered Outer Banks Islands where if one wanted they could find adventures searching for wild horses on the endless shores. We stayed the course and after 3 more hours arrived at Cedar Point Campground for the night.

Sunday, July 23
After the previous night’s campfire fun and a good night’s sleep, we were off again making trails to the sandy shore. Unfortunately, the swell had turn to bitter wind and thrashing seas so we took to sightseeing down the long stretch past the insanely crowded Wrightsville Beach and down to Carolina Pier checking the blown out waves and stopping for local treats.

Just down the way past Kure Beach, we got a bit of history at the Ft. Fischer Historical Museum where the change in weather had brought the museum official out to bring in the flags. We were just in time …as a Boy Scout, I have had the opportunity to be a part of numerous flag ceremonies and have the utmost respect for the flag. We politely explained to the official that we would be
honored to help bring the flags down… to which he was taken off guard, but generously obliged.

We were able to retrieve the flags and as it was Lydia’s first time folding a flag- it was an even better end of a blustery day than we could have hoped and we retired to Carolina State Park for the night.

Monday, July 24
Thru the quiet and woodsy camp on our last night of this odyssey came highlights of guitar and ukulele strums as we sat around the fire and with the morning came one last exploration. We had found the N.C. Aquarium just down the road the previous day and before we completed our journey, we needed to catch sight of the ocean once more and visit the undersea world from the other side.

A morning of marine discovery behind us, we put our faces to the wind and made
way towards Florida with a final stop at Holy Smoke that’s Bar-b- que - which I highly recommend- and our bellies were ready to hit the highway.
8 final hours on the road, our vagabond wave searching had come to an end.

Saying goodbye is always bitter sweet… we depart from Ponce in the morning to head back home- our heads filled with boundless memories and our hearts with even better friends , but not before making plans to
do it all over again next summer.

Check out more adventures with Keaton & Fam HERE→

Slyde Handboards Family Vacation

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