Sports on the North Carolina Coast: Surfing
Of course, runs and marathons aren't the only sports that are played in beach towns. Every region has its own unique sports, and Coastal North Carolina is no different. North Carolinians love surfing, and this has led to a large variety of different surfing competitions.
Surfing competitions in the area started around 1965 and since then, Coastal North Carolina has never looked back. The first recorded competition in the area was fittingly called "The First Annual Surfing Contest," and took place in Wrightsville Beach. With the popularity of these competitions, organization became necessary and the Eastern Surfing Association was created in 1967.
The Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) is an organization whose goal is to make amateur surfing on the East Coast a better sport. They have over 7,000 members and are active on all of the beaches on the East Coast, which of course includes North Carolina's beaches. For the Outer Banks area, the ESA has a special branch: The Outer Banks ESA.
The Outer Banks ESA covers was formed in 1981 when it became clear that the Outer Banks was a different area than Virginia Beach, which was the branch of the ESA that had jurisdiction over the Outer Banks. The specific purpose of the Outer Banks ESA (known among its members as OBESA) is to foster better surfing among young Outer Banks surfers to hopefully lead them down a path to professional surfing. Every year, the OBESA puts on at least 6 surf competitions and these events are always quite popular. They begin in April and go all the way to the end of the year.
Similar to the ESA, the Atlantic Surfing Federation (ASF) is another organization whose goal is to promote better surfing and professional surfing among surfers of all ages on the East Coast. While the ASF has chapters in Florida, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, it is in fact headquartered in the Outer Banks.
Joining the Atlantic Surfing Federation will cost you $85 per year, but that fee nets you more than just a membership in the ASF. In addition to becoming a member in the ASF, the membership fee will also include you in Surfing America, the official governing body for surfing in America as recognized by the International Surfing Association.
Surfing America is a nationwide organization whose goal is to expand surfing to everyone. Part of the responsibilities of Surfing America is to not only choose the members of the official USA Surf Team, who competes against other countries' teams internationally, but to also hold the USA Surfing Championships each year. They have four smaller organizations across the country that help in their own regions: the Western Surfing Association, the Hawaiian Surfing Association, the National Scholastic Surfing Association, and of course, the Atlantic Surfing Association.
If Surfing America is something you might be interested in supporting, they are an IRS recognized 501© 3 charitable organization. This money goes towards making competitions better, hosting more events, and finding the best surfers for the USA's international surf team.
Of course, if all of the North Carolina beaches were incredibly polluted, surfers wouldn't have any place to surf and that's what the Surf Rider Foundation is for. Surf Rider Foundation (SRF) is an international organization whose goal it is to keep the nation's waves, oceans, and beaches as clean as possible for the enjoyment of everybody.
They currently have two North Carolina chapters: one in Northern Coastal North Carolina, the Outer Banks chapter, and one in Southern Coastal North Carolina, the Cape Fear chapter. The main campaigns of the Cape Fear chapter are to make Wrightsville Beach free of smoke and to ban plastic grocery bags in New Hanover County, the county where Wilmington is located. The Outer Banks branch is also attempting to ban plastic grocery bags, in addition to stopping offshore drilling in North Carolina and finding a solution to the local problem of Beach-Filling.
Of course, all of these foundations wouldn't do anything if Coastal North Carolina didn't actually have any surfing competitions. The region is a hotbed for competitive surfers and it would be impossible to go into all of the events that go on every year. There's a surfing competition going on in North Carolina virtually every weekend during surfing season which runs from around April to October, so all you have to do ask around the area.