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Posted by Jeb Brinkley | 01.12.2024 | Teen Camps, Uncategorized

Wrightsville Beach – A Rich History of Surfing

Wrightsville Beach has been known across the country as a surf haven for decades. With warm summer waters, consistent sand bars, and an inviting atmosphere, Wrightsville offers waves from the very beginner to professionals. So when did surfing take hold? Here, we will dive a little deeper into the rich history of this amazing sport on our home beach.


Pioneer Days

The appearance of surfing in Wrightsville Beach, NC occurred alongside Lifeguarding and Swimming in the early 20th century. In the summer of 1909, Burke Haywood Bridgers attempted to surf the mellow waves we have to offer, pioneering the sport in North Carolina. In 1910, a newspaper in Honolulu published a letter by Mr. Bridgers requesting information on board building, hoping some Hawaiian locals would shed some on their surfing technique. This is the first written proof of surfing in Wrightsville Beach!

In the summer of 1928, Willie Kaiama and a team of Hawaiian surfers were giving surfing demonstrations in the Northern Outer Banks of the state, indicating a growing interest in the sport.



Growing the Sport

In 1964, it was clear that surfing had taken root in the old north state. The town of Wrightsville Beach decided to create “permitted surfing zones”, as the number of wave riders had increased drastically. This invigoration of the sport was increased as well, as, in the same year, one of the first local surf shops was started by Lark Lancaster and Harold Petty – “East Coast Surfboards”. They represent one of the first shops to design, shape, and build their own boards, tailored to the waves the Southeast Coast offers. Soon after in June of 1965, Mike Spencer began building boards in Wrightsville Beach under his own label, Spencer Surfboards. He would later move to California and Hawaii to shape boards, then return to North Carolina as one of the world’s leading wooden surfboard builders.


Modern Times

In the following decades, the love of surfing transformed Wrightsville Beach into a full-blown surf utopia. Named one of the “World’s Best Surf Towns” by National Geographic Magazine, there’s no doubt why it was chosen in 2001 to become the home of WB Surf Camp. For the past 21 years, our coaches have offered personalized surf lessons, low-ratio camps, and surf trips around the world, all while teaching the importance of safety, surf etiquette, and the conservation of our oceans. Come on down to the coast and see for yourself why we love surfing in Wrightsville Beach!