Chances are, one of our southern barrier islands — Bald Head, Oak, Holden, Ocean Isle, or Sunset — has been your beach for years. Look beyond the sand and surf, and you’ll find charming villages, acres of nature, and signature fried seafood, generations in the making.
It might boast: Outer Banks breakers are the envy of the East Coast. Or it could share a tale: The world’s best surfer first got his feet wet in the shadow of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Ask nicely, and it might divulge a secret or two: About legends and landmarks — even where to find a clam cookout or a fine fish supper. After all, our waves have plenty of those, too.
In the 1980s, three Atlantic Beach surf shops — Bert’s, AB, and Marsh’s — gave teenagers a social network as connected as Facebook and as immediate as Twitter. Before long, surfer fads turned into fashion, gossip became news, and young people found their community.
Legendary East Coast surfer Jo Pickett travels the world, chasing waves. But she makes her home in Wilmington, where Carolina’s blue swells remind her of family and the importance of living fearlessly.