"You Get So Many Waves, Sometimes You're Hoping For A Lull" - Stab Mag

“You Get So Many Waves, Sometimes You’re Hoping For A Lull”

Outer Banks surfing is the pinnacle of privilege.

cinema // Dec 11, 2020
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

O’Neill prides itself on being the first name in the water, as it should. Jack O’Neill pioneered the modern wetsuit in the 1950s and set new limits for cold water surfing. 

Today, the phrase “First name in the water” carries a new meaning. A daily one. It’s the surfer who’s up before dawn reading wind charts and buoys. The one who doesn’t mind driving hours for a better break and enclosing everything but their eyeballs in neoprene. Ten-hour sessions and constant traveling; no boozing all night for these fellas.

Luckily for Brett Barley, he doesn’t have to drive very far. Wintertime in the Outer Banks is a blessing for the East Coast. Cold temperatures drive out all the tourists and summer vacationers. Barley and the other OBX locals get to dance through heaving slabs with significantly fewer people around. And sometimes, when the conditions look just right, a few friends from out of town scurry through for waves so consistent, you’re “hoping for a lull” (see: Noah Waggy and Cory Lopez here). 

While you may recall seeing clips of Brett navigating bombs at Pipe, the Outer Banks is his stomping ground. He knows every corner of that narrow strip of land. If a single grain of sand moves, he gets an anonymous phone call about it. Lucky for Cory Lopez and Noah Wegrich, Barley was nice enough to give them a tour.


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