Surf Culture Survives

What: Oak Island Labor Day Surf Off
When: Saturday, August 30th
Contests begin at 8 a.m.
Where: Ocean Crest Pier
1411 E. Beach Dr., Oak Island
Cost: $25 to compete, $5 for each additional category. Free to spectate.
Info: (910) 278-5518

Surfer kids, ages 9 and under, prepare for the 'Guppies' heat during a past Oak Island Labor Day Surf Off. Photo by Jeff King

Surfer kids, ages 9 and under, prepare for the ‘Guppies’ heat during a past Oak Island Labor Day Surf Off. Photo by Jeff King

Whether you live at the beach or are a visitor, the surf culture is apparent. There is something cool about surfers: their agility and grace, the “oneness” with the wave. Even their vehicles are cool: surf racks and boards, headed for adventure at every possible opportunity to dip and dive. Surfers exude a laid-back confidence, healthy and strong, born by water and wind, salt and sun.

To the non-surfer, there is an obvious camaraderie and bonding that takes place past the breakers, a group with the same illustrious desire: to catch the wave. From a distance, a spattering of surfers out in the water, right past the pier, can resemble a flock of birds, taking rest from flight, bobbing with the swell, and with animal instincts, stirring, knowing the precise moment when to begin the paddle, the rise and the crouch. The ultimate ride is a synchronized movement of twists and weaves, sprays and flashes of color.

More than a sport acted out on a powerful and mercurial playing field, surfing has been likened to an affinity with nature. As a casual observer, there is something strikingly poetic upon the almost intrusive chance sighting of a lone surfer in the pre-dawn light. How serene, a private moment, a deep sense of solitude and peace engulfed in an intimate relationship between the person on the board and the vast, mysterious sea.

This Labor Day weekend, the Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department is co-hosting the 11th Annual Oak Island Labor Day Surf Off with the Crystal South Surf Camp. And although Oak Island is not necessarily know for big waves, Rebecca Squires, interim director of the Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department says, “This is the 11th year, folks. Come out, all ages and people participate and have a good time, waves or no waves. It’s a tradition that we’d like to continue.”

The competition will take place in the vicinity of the Ocean Crest Pier, located at 1411 E. Beach Dr., Oak Island, kicking off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 30th.

All ages can compete, as surf categories begin as young as 9 and under in the popular “Guppies” group. The event will heat up with shortboard division, longboard division, womens, masters and senior men. A bodyboard competition will take place for those 11 and under, while a stand-up paddleboard race will be offered for all ages.

Fees are $25 to enter and $5 for participants to try their luck at additional categories. For more details, contact Rebecca Squires at the Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department at (910) 278-5518 or

One Response to Surf Culture Survives

  1. Jeff King says:

    being from Gastonia NC and only seeing surfing on tv it was really fun to watch this and photograph

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