The Boys, the RV and Cape Hatteras
Here's a recap of the September East Coast etnies surf tour that went down in the words of the etnies RV master, Nick U:
The tour started in Orlando, Florida, three days after the Surf Expo tradeshow. All told there were three surfers and one team manager and then myself, five in all. Of course everyone arrived separately over a period of two days but by day three everyone was eager to go.
On board we had Jun Jo, CJ Kanuha, Keith Malloy and their fearless leader and etnies Team Manager, Brandon Lillard. As we waited for CJ to show up, the four of us headed off to the coast and on our way in, we stopped off at Mike Andruszkos’ office which he shares with Brian who owns BAT, a board shaper well known in the area. The day was spent visiting three stores near Indiatlantic and Cocoa Beach including the store, AOE co-owned by Brian. Each of our visits were un-announced so the stores were somewhat un-prepared to see us. They were however stoked to see the bus pull up and Jun Jo, Keith and Brandon chatted with employees and management at each location. Before leaving, we left them with a few signed posters for the store and a handful of the East Coast Surf Tour shirts.
Surfing was not the order of the day so after our visits we headed back towards the hotel in Orlando and met up wit CJ who had arrived from the airport under his own steam. During the day, it had been decided that we would veer off the original plan of heading north and took a westerly route towards the Gulf Coast, Mexico Beach, just south-east of Panama City.
So we left that night, around 9 pm and drove till 2 am and found ourselves about 60 miles from out intended location in an I-10 rest stop. Sleeping eight in the bus was difficult to say the least but we managed to get about five hours of shut-eye before heading out the next morning. Breakfast was Burger King, enough said on that subject.
Hurricane Rita was doing her thing, whipping up waves not often seen in that area. Unfortunately, waves were not all that was coming ashore. All of the near-deadly sediment which laid at the bottom of the Gulf was now being stirred and this caused some of us to tear up, cough and in some cases, after spending time in the water, feel a little nauseous. Not to mention the hundreds of dead fish that had been washed up along the shore. Nothing stops these guys from surfing the best waves the coast had to offer and by the end of the day, we had made two stops to surf the same location, despite the foul water.
In tow on this side trip were Brian, CT and Kevin who joined up with us to film the event. The side trip proved to be fruitful, both for the filmer and the surfers and at the end of the day we went our separate ways and off the five of us drove to our overnight destination in Kingsland, Georgia just north of the Florida border. By the time we had rolled in it was time to hit the sack and that’s exactly what we did. The mileage for the next day was not all that far so we didn’t hit the road until about 9 am. We decided to try breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and when there we were approached by three young gentlemen who informed us of a local store, Satilla Boardsports not far from the restaurant that was having an event later in the day. Unfortunately, due to time restrictions we were unable to hang out for the event but we did manage to stop by for a quick visit.
We continued on our way after this brief visit and made it through Georgia and South Carolina before getting over the border into North Carolina. Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach was our destination that evening and we pulled in to our campsite around 8 pm, which was not really early enough to surf however.
The boys went out for a night out on the town, danced with a few ladies, had a few beers and made it back by about 2 am. This was to be another short night for sleep and we hit the road the next morning at around 8 am. We began our journey northwards towards Cape Hatteras, which for the geographically challenged is that small arm that hangs off the northern coast of the state. After a two-hour ferry ride and then another 45-minute crossing we found ourselves one step closer to the Hatteras Lighthouse area.
Surf on this half-mile-wide sandbar is abundant with pull-outs every few miles for beach and surf access. By the time we arrived at our destination, it was decided it was a little to late to hit the waves so we booked into a hotel up and found a restaurant not far from our location and settled in for the night.
Come the next morning we headed off in search of whatever the Hatteras area had to offer and after about an hour of scouting, we were flagged down by a pair of local surfers who directed us to a spot about five miles north of our starting point. This was just one of those beach access pull-outs I’d mentioned earlier. I parked the bus and the boys went to check the waves, coming back within a few minutes, eager to hit the water. They disappeared over the dunes and returned about an hour later, happy to have stopped, happy to have surfed.
As we continued north it was decided that our next port-of-call would be Virginia Beach, one of the better known surf spots on the East Coast. Here, we had three scheduled stops to visit’ all within half a mile or so of each other. VB has a number of large surf mega-stores offering pretty much any brand you can think of. We stopped, we signed posters, we chatted with store owners and employees and then we headed out towards the southern end of town, near Third Street. The beach was pumping and a number of locals were sessioning but many stopped to watch as the boys took to the water. This was only a brief stop as we were headed to Ocean City, Maryland which was our destination for that day and we had some miles to cover if we were going to get any further surfing in for that day.
We pulled into OC, MD at around 2 pm and after our usual visit with one of the local stores, K-Coast the boys were “talked” into scoping out one of the local surf spots not far from the store. The owner of the store agreed to run the guys down to the spot to check conditions and within about 20 minutes they had returned and were ready for action. I started the bus and everyone bundled on and we were off. Within five minutes we were parked and within another five everyone was headed off to the water. Everyone was stoked on the store owner who had taken his time to get them sorted and they managed to get in a good hours worth of surfing before it was time to head to our final destination, New York City.
This was our last day on the road, it was a short trip but fun. The stores we visited were genuinely amped on our visits and were equally stoked on chatting with the lads. Keep an eye out for the etnies bus in the near future—coming to a wave near you.
There's more photos than we knew what to do with from this trip! Check 'em out!