So Long, S-Turns - Stab Mag

So Long, S-Turns

Famous Outer Banks surf spot becomes a scenic detour.

news // Jul 31, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

You might recall an article we ran a couple months back about two houses falling into the ocean at a famous surf spot.

To jog your memory, the houses fell as a result of their beachfront location on the barrier islands known as the Outer Banks. The persistent elemental onslaught that batters this surf-rich coastline, combined with its status as nothing more than a very large sandbar, has created a very real crisis. Houses and roads that once sat a few hundred yards from the water’s edge are now falling victim to consistent flooding and water damage.

In one effort to combat this liquid death march, the local government has built a bridge — just down from where the houses fell — which detours around one of the often flooded roads. Their plan is to demolish the existing road and return the dunes to their natural state.  

Someone didn’t read the sign. Photo: Callaway Ramsey

The reason we’re writing about this?

It just so happens that the two-mile stretch of road they’ve bypassed is the part that drives by the renowned wave known as S-Turns.

“If you live on the east coast, you’ve heard of S-Turns,” says local photographer Callaway Ramsey,  “It’s one of the more well-known Outer Banks surf spots since at least the ’80s, and anyone who’s been surfing here for a while knows how good it can get. It hasn’t been epic in a while, but we still check it every swell. There’s still some days when everyone surfs it.”

Breakfast for two. Photo: Callaway Ramsey

“The building of the bridge is proactive, and it’s good, because that road will eventually disappear,” he continues, “When there’s a hurricane or a big Northeast blow, the whole road gets flooded, and because that’s the only road between the mainland and Hatteras, if it gets blocked, people can get stuck on the island.  There’s a ferry to get off the other way but it’s way longer and it drops you in no-man’s-land.”

As for the wave, you won’t be able to check it from the bridge, or drive on the beach. So, if the sandbars whip themselves into shape for one of September’s infamous hurricane swells, some middle schooler with daddy’s E-bike might be getting coned off his head with no one around.

We wouldn’t wish the bane of Lower Trestles upon all you hardy East Coasters, but we can’t deny that an electric steed would be a handy asset in this scenario.

Michael Dunphy getting shaded. Photo: Callaway Ramsey


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