Paddling Oregon Inlet, NC???

Made a trip to surf at Hatteras this weekend. Passed over Oregon Inlet while it was ebbing pretty strongly. Looked awesome! I definitely want to get out there. I have heard that it is pretty chaotic.

From what I could see while driving over the bridge, there appeared to be two rough water areas. There was one location on the north side of the inlet (about halfway between the bridge and the mouth of the inlet) where there looked like there were some nice standing waves and some clapotis, and then there was another spot on the south side of the inlet right at the mouth where there appeared to be a sand bar and there was some pretty good looking clapotis.

Where is the best play spot and where is the best place to launch? I assume conditions are best about three hours after high tide when the ebb should be at the strongest.



I’d go with a
SUP for the most fun at maximum tide outflow. Right at the beginning of the 4th hour.

Forget the kayak…too much boat.

only paddled through once
We left from a public access just north of the inlet. Maybe a mile away give or take if I remember correctly.

It seemed to follow the characteristics of most inlets in the area. Lots of shoaling on either side leading out. Where you want to play and where you can get the longest rides depends on wave and swell size and direction, tidal current direction and speed, water depth over the shoals, wave period/speed, the everchanging landscape of the shoals, etc, etc.

My approach would be to make sure the swimmer options were good. A separation from boat could mean a swimmer pulled out, and a kayak tumbled around stuck in the surf zone. So I always want to make sure a rescue can be handled confidently outside the surf zone before rough play with a strong ebbing tide. Make sure everyone participating has the mindset of extended relaxed swims among breaking waves, and knows what direction makes sense considering both tidal and longshore currents, and areas where assisted rescues will be reasonably safe for everyone involved.

Other than that, it’s not that big of an area, so just have fun with what presents itself given the conditions.

It would be fun to get up there with you. I wish it wasn’t such a drive.