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CoastLine: Surf Spots Are Super-Secret, But NC Surfers Are Tight-Knit

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The East Coast of the United States – specifically North Carolina – is known for its beautiful beaches, but it’s not really on the map for world-class, surf-able waves.  Nonetheless, the Cape Fear region is growing a surprisingly robust surf culture.  

The beaches of North Carolina have landed on all kinds of lists – including on Dr. Beach’s 2019 list of the best beaches in America.  Okracoke Lifeguarded Beach in the Outer Banks won second place in 2019 – just after a beach in Hawaii.  But it’s not just beachcombers, sun worshipers, and swimmers who enjoy area beaches.  Surfers are a major part of the beach community.   

On this edition of CoastLine, we explore the culture and community with three of the area’s long-time surfing enthusiasts – who also happen to be experts:   

Jo Pickett has raised her kids on the waves off North Carolina’s coast.  She’s a former U.S. Womens Surfing Champion, and for more than two decades she’s owned and operated the Crystal South Surf Camp

Mike Barden has been a part of Surf City Surf Shop in Wrightsville Beach for nearly 28 years.  In 2003, he decided to buy the business – which he owns today.    

Sheldon Goodwin has served as Manager of Sweetwater Surf Surf Shop, also in Wrightsville Beach, for the last six years.  

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.