While thigh-high, sideshore dribble frustrated Virginia Beach; this rare gem peeled across Briar Nelson’s lens in Hatteras, N.C.

Photos by Briar Nelson. Words by John Streit.

“Good from far. Far from good.”

The above quotation often describes the south-facing coast of Hatteras Island; as recently made famous via the social media accounts of Outer Banks photographer Daniel Pullen and pro surfer Brett Barley — and for good reason. The extreme bend of the cape, deep troughs, heavy currents, variable winds and that oh-so-eerie “sharky” vibe make this stretch of coastline peculiarly enigmatic compared to the consistency of the beach breaks just around the bend to the north.

Yet, we are drawn to explore the potential of this fickle strand. It could be a few hours of northerly winds after days of onshore, southwesterly flow. It could be a steeply-angled south swell spawned from a distant tropical storm. It could be a groomed, wrap-around northeast wind swell. It could be where the road runs out after hours of searching to the north.

For all these possibilities, most Hail Mary trips to the south side are just that. There is a massive inequity of “snore” stories to “score” stories.

Until photos like this are posted on the web. Then, all of us are kicking ourselves that we didn’t roll the dice and commit to the three-hour journey from swell-challenged Virginia Beach.

Hats off to Surf & Adventure Co. crewmen Chris Presley, Danny Brittain and Briar Nelson for rolling those dice and chasing the potential all the way to these iconic shots of southern Hatteras. What a way to break a flat spell!

You can’t blame the boys for having a little extra swagger the next day as the rest of the crew viewed the photos in disbelief.

Good from far, and even better from the inside of the barrel.


An unknown surfer cashes in. Photo: Nelson.


The boys ran into our good friend and Virginia Beach surfer Brian Bassett, who is as comfortable over the lip as he is under it. Photo: Nelson.


Brian Basset, deep. Photo: Nelson.


Barrels, airs, power: Brian Bassett is as well-rounded as they come. Photo: Nelson.


Chris Presley, backside tunnel vision. Photo: Nelson.


N.C.’s Jake Brown slotted on the 1,000th barrel of the day. Photo: Nelson.

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