About Cape Hatteras

There are three groins here -- southernmost is the First and the northernmost is the Third. On a solid south or southeast swell, the Third can produce some heavy sweeping rights, while between the groins, several peaks produce more short-lived thrills. But the First is the major draw for its consistently heavy, barreling lefts when Northeast swells march down the coast.

Source: Cape Hatteras Surf Guide

Ability Level

All Abilities

Beg Int Adv

Main peaks at First and Third more for advanced surfers while further into the cove better for beginners.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

A tight group live and surf here. A little humility and respect will go a long way.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Can get packed when it is working.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

If the sand and swell are right this is the best wave on the Outer Banks, especially if you are a goofy-foot.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Can be very hard to stay up on the peak during bigger northeast swells.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Actually not that bad unless after a storm.

Additional Information


Submerged pieces of the old jetties.


The historical Lighthouse location offers several packed parking lots.

Bring Your



Sand, rock and pieces of the groins.

Best Season

Storm dependent: tropical cyclones in the late summer and fall with frontal activity and nor'easters in the late fall and winter.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos