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  • Writer's pictureDavid Porter

Exploration Close to Home

Author: David Porter

Photos: David Porter, Logan Rhoads

Surfing: David Porter, Logan Rhoads

Sometimes, an epic adventure is right under your nose. After watching too many YouTube videos and seeing one too many people posting about their trips to the far corners of the globe it can be easy for one to believe that the only way to get the excitement of exploring a new place is if they are going on some long, grand trip. We tend to look at the horizon and forget what's in between us and there. No matter where you live, there are unique and interesting things to do and places to visit, no matter your interests and taste.

All of my surfing life I have loved surf movies, with my favorites ones usually being about exploring new waves in remote destinations. Growing up in South Carolina and learning to surf in Myrtle Beach, my back drop in the water has usually been houses and hotels. While the beaches are beautiful and often pretty empty in the off season, they are not exactly in wilderness settings. I have been fortunate enough to surf in beautiful locations in Central America and the Caribbean and other East coast locales, and found that riding waves in a gorgeous natural setting teeming with life, and few humans around, really just takes the surfing experience to another level.

Fortunately, the Southeastern seaboard is made up of numerous barrier islands, with many of them uninhabitated and left in their natural state, as raw and breathtaking as they have always been. These islands are often well exposed to swells from different angles, and can offer up spectacular waves with no one around. Most require a boat or kayak to paddle to, or paddling your board across an inlet mouth (with sharks and gators potentially lurking below).

I have had my eye on one of these islands, as I knew with the right conditions it could offer up incredible waves with no one around. In an ever shrinking world, this is a special treat. After months of looking at maps and weather charts, it was finally the day to load up the creek boat and get out there and see if my dream could become a reality. I called up my buddy Logan who I knew would be down for the adventure, and as the sun rose early one morning we disappeared into the marsh on the hunt for waves and solitude.

Can't beat the view. Tube town bound loaded down without much room to spare.

Upon arrival we unloaded our gear, strapped it on our backs, and off we went across the island in search of waves. The hike through the marsh and maritime forest was as pretty as they come. Untouched woods like that are rarer and rarer to find. Even rarer is a trail through the woods leading to a sandbar with solid peaks rolling through, perfectly groomed by the offshore wind. And not another person other than us to surf it.

Me freaking out after my first glimpse of the waves.

We surfed for a few hours and got the best of the incoming tide, trading turns dropping into reeling lefts and agains the grain wedging rights. As the swell began to fade we then each took brief turns taking pictures and eating snacks up on the beach, before we ended with trading off a few more waves. It was amazing to be out in such beautiful lumps of ocean, and to look back at the beach and see nothing but pines, palmettos, and drift wood scattered along.

The prep and the score.

Above. Logan Rhoads, 3 rights and a left.

Above. David Porter, a left and two rights.

Sun baked and sore we began our trek back to the boat, and back to civilization. Surfed out and content knowing we had just completely scored, we were already planning a return trip the next time the conditions aligned. The early wake up, dodging noseeums and boat wakes, and hauling gear was well worth it. You never know what you'll find if you just go look, and aren't afraid to keep going around the bend.

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