Hatteras kingpin Brett Barley puts his arm around a beauty. Photo: Streit.

Intro by Shaun Devine. Body by John Streit. Photos by Devine & Streit.

Sometimes she says we’re going to hang out and we don’t.

Sometimes she claims, “It’ll be fun,” and it isn’t.

But when it all comes together, it’s nothing but love.

For most lifelong surfers, their first true love is the ocean. Like any relationship, it has its ups and downs. For the endless amount of joy she provides, she can also dish out plenty of frustration. You’ll never quite figure her out, no matter how much attention you pay or the lengths you go through to spend time with her.

The morning of Friday — Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14 was no exception. Even with the teeth of a hard offshore winds from the passing of Winter Storm Pax combing the sea surface through the night, most everyone anticipated firing conditions come first light. After all, the extremely powerful surf the storm generated just hours before reached double-overhead in the Outer Banks. However, the dawn broke crisp, clear and considerably smaller than anticipated.

Immediately we knew we’d have to go the extra mile to feel the love on this day. Her clues pointed to a fun-filled date at a certain Hatteras sandbar where we shared some great times together in the past. Sure enough, her calling proved worth the extra effort. While not in all-time fashion; fun, hollow peaks greeted us when arrived.

And so we danced through the morning — a much different tango than anticipated, but a beautiful one nonetheless.

As far as real relationships go, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from our romance with the sea. Always remember that while each day will present a unique challenge and the sailing may not always be smooth; feeling the embrace of your true love is a driving force of the human spirit — something that’s always worth fighting for.

Let go of unrealistic expectations and the myth of there being a final destination: Love is about being present in and enjoying every moment of your journey together.


A beautiful as ever, an unridden gem greets the day in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Photo: Devine.


She gave us clues early in the day that we would have to dig a little deeper. Photo: Devine.


The waves were scraping the bottom of Avalon Pier just 12 hours before. Photo: Devine.


With clear, blue skies, it was great to feel the warm kiss of the sun. Photo: Streit.


Shaun Devine feeling the love on a gorgeous righthander. Photo: Streit.


Shaun Devine gliding in. Photo: Streit.


Brian Bassett: We call him “The Barrel Hound.” This sequence shows why. Photo: Streit.


Timeless beauty. Photo: Streit.


Brett Barley. Photo: Streit.


Virginia Beach-to-Hatteras transplant Hunter Hicks: if he’s not commercial fishing, you can bet he’s on it. Photo: Streit.


Hunter Hicks. Photo: Streit.


Shaun Devine. Photo: Streit.


Still buzzing from the previous day’s session, Shaun grabbed his Party Missile. Split party peak with Brian Bassett. Photo: Streit.


“Still chasing my first love in Hatteras” – Shaun Devine. Photo: Streit.

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