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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Paddleboarding in the Outer Banks | 3 Flatwater SUP Spots

Whether you're new to paddleboarding or are an experienced paddleboarder looking for a new spot, look no further than the Outer Banks of North Carolina. OBX is known for its beaches, and as one of the best spots to surf on the East Coast, but it's also got a variety of different flatwater areas that are great for paddleboarding. Here are 3 spots to check out on your next visit.

Photo: Holland Buchert
(1) Go Soundside in Duck

Duck, North Carolina is a great place to stand up paddleboard on the Outer Banks. The Duck boardwalk has a convenient kayak launch open to the public, but the hike to the end of the ramp can be trying. I find it easiest to use a kayak cart, or a SUP Carrier to lug my board around.

Once on the water, you can paddle next to the waterfront shops. If you get tired, you can dock your board next to Coastal Cantina and grab a beer and some tacos, or stroll along the shops.
You’ll encounter lots of vegetation growing along the banks. You will see ducks floating around near the reeds and osprey nesting in the trees.

For a sunset paddleboard trip, Duck is the best place to go. The sun slips under the water slowly and paints the sky with gorgeous colors. It’s something you MUST do when you visit the Outer 

(2) Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest

Have you ever explored a maritime forest? Well, Kitty Hawk Woods is the perfect place to start. Taking a SUP tour along the North Carolina Coastal Reserve will be one the the best tours you’ll ever take. The snaking bodies of waters can be easy to get lost in if you don’t have a tour guide. I suggest using Kitty Hawk Kayaks whose employees are trained and certified to take you along the waterways.

The habitat of the maritime forest will shock you. The thick canopy is a refuge to numerous types of animals during hot summers, or heavy storms. There are a variety of turtles, muskrat, and otters, among the bird population. Many magnificent trees have adapted to grow in the salty marsh water.

Because the waterways are protected from winds by the lush vegetation, Kitty Hawk Woods is the best place to SUP when the Outer Banks winds are kicking. It is also one of the best places to take a bioluminescent tour.

(3) Pea Island Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island is another North Carolina Refuge to paddle along. There are old remains of footbridges jutting out from the water where birds build their nests. There are a range of endangered species living on Pea Island. You can see loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles.

Pea Island is often called a birders’ paradise because of it is home to more than 265 different bird species. Birdwatchers and ornithologists from all over the nation come to observe the wildlife here Two of the most sought after birds to observe are the piping plovers, wrens, and american avocet.

Photo: Jeffrey Pippen
Because Pea Island is a natural refuge, you need to take a tour to be allowed to SUP or kayak here. Kitty Hawk Kites is a notable company and can provide you with a certified, and informed guide on the area.