Shaun Devine matching wits with a punchy section. Photo: Streit.

Words by John Streit. Photos by Streit & Steven Schmucker.

Research pays off.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who constructed the 1,840 foot-long Field Research Facility in Duck, N.C., knows this fact as well as any organization on the planet. That’s the reason they decided to place a massive pier on an otherwise anonymous stretch of empty beach in northern Dare County in 1977 — they knew it was an extremely dynamic area in terms of oceanographic phenomenon. While the pier’s primary function is to observe and record wave, wind, tide and current data; the Corps happened to create the potential for a world-class surf spot.

Forget about pulling up, parking the car and scoring. This spot is reserved for either those with a personal connection in one of the residential/rental communities nearby or for anyone who’s willing to make a very, very lengthy walk from the nearest parking lot in downtown Duck. We’re talking miles. Otherwise, your car will be towed with a hefty fine to match.

As the calendar turned to June, the Atlantic sent a giant fetch of ENE wind pointed directly at the East Coast. “The Research Pier” was directly in the crosshairs of this shot of swell. As fickle as it can be perfect, we were beyond stoked to check the isolated break from a distance and see solid head-high-plus surf reeling off the pier’s adjacent sandbars — the culmination of years of chart-reading, prognosticating and spot-checking.

Research definitely pays off.


Mind surfers welcome. Photo: Streit.


S&A team rider Shaun Devine gets every ounce of drive from the keels on his new twin fin. Photo: Schmucker.


S&A team rider Conner Barnes’ specialty is shredding the Beater, but here he proves he’s handy with a more conventional stick. Photo: Streit.


Conner Barnes, throwing down a harder turn on the twin-fin Beater than most can with standard equipment. 1 of 5. Photo: Streit.


Conner, 2 of 5. Photo: Streit.


Conner, 3 of 5. Photo: Streit.


Conner, 4 of 5. Photo: Streit.


Conner, 5 of 5. It was impressive to see him reel in this slippery board in powerful surf. Photo: Streit.


S&A team rider Evan Micele. Photo: Streit.


Young Evan knows that you got to pay to play. Photo: Streit.


S&A’s John Streit burning speed on an insider. 1 of 2. Photo: Schmucker.


John, 2 of 2. Photo: Schmucker.


A green gem peels off in the golden afternoon light. Photo: Streit.


Evan Micele. Photo: Streit.


Shaun Devine. Photo: Streit.


Shaun Devine: pay to play, part two. Photo: Streit.


Steve Schmucker. Photo: Streit.


Scuba Steve, styling. Photo: Streit.


John Streit, single-fin trim. Photo: Schmucker.


Evan Micele. Photo: Streit.


It’s always a great feeling to see your friend killing it from out the back! Conner Barnes. Photo: Streit.


Conner with the parting shot: tucked knee and spot-on style at one of our coast’s most photogenic spots. Photo: Streit.

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