|Karson Lewis surfs in North Carolina, wearing the Leucadia Bikini in Marble. Photo by Kevin Mitchell @seaturkeyphotos.
To Californians’ cruisey point breaks and endless sunshine, surfers on the east coast who deal with freezing barrels in the Outer Banks, and humid summers of windchop feel like a foreign breed of diehard shredders. But after catching up with Karson Lewis, a surfer and yogi in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina we found the reasons why we surf connected west and east coasts in the same ways deeper than the type of waves or boards we ride.
"Everyone here shares the same vibe and that vibe centers on a deeply rooted love for the water," Karson says of her home in North Carolina. "Whether you surf, kite, spear, boat, windsurf, wakeboard, or any of the other endless activities you can do on the water everyone feels the same energy."
We caught up with Karson to get her perspective on surfing in the close community of Wrightsville Beach, her favorite easy getaways for weekend trips, and what to do when the waves are flat.
|Karson Lewis surfs by the pier in the Leucadia Bikini in Marble. Photo by Kevin Mitchell @seaturkeyphotos.
|Karson Lewis wears the Tofino One-Piece in Blue Tide. Photo by Carleigh Sion @carleighflower
|Karson Lewis wears the Lido One-Piece in Roma. Photo by Blair Bigham @blair.bigham
|Karson Lewis wears the Zuma One-Piece in Paradiso. Photo by Carleigh Sion.
What's your daily surf routine?
Karson: I walk down the street to the beach every morning to watch the sunrise and check the waves. If it's good, I grab my board, throw on my fave onesie and paddle out. I'll base my whole weekly schedule around the surf report and am always switching work shifts if the waves are good.
My favorite time to paddle out is right before the sun rises. There's just something so invigorating about surfing golden hour with no one else out. You feel one with the ocean, taking each wave as it comes trying to match its beauty with how you ride it. I always feel a bit more graceful and ready to tackle any task at hand after having ridden a few waves! Surfing is my heart and soul.
I teach surf lessons for Sean's Private Surf Instruction. Such a rad company to work for and I'm beyond stoked to have the opportunity to share what I love doing most with others.
What else do you like to do when the waves are flat?
Take a paddleboard out at Wrightsville SUP to cruise around the sound side or anchor and do a little SUP yoga, ride my bike around the island, go to hot yoga at Wilmington Yoga Center, sunrise/sunset photo sessions, basically anything and everything that involves being active and staying outdoors!
Are there a lot of women surfers in Wrightsville Beach?
I think it's definitely safe to give a firm no here! I have about four chicas that I'll call up to go log but other than that the line up is definitely male predominant.
I always get really stoked when I have a surf lesson with a female because I know I'm doing my part in adding to the gurfer [girl surfer] population.
|Karson Lewis goes for a cruise to the beach in the Chicama Top. Photo by Carleigh Sion.
|Karson Lewis, all tangled up in North Carolina. Photo by Blair Bigham.
|When its flat, SUP or yoga on an SUP. Karson Lewis wears the Lido One-Piece in Gold Leaf.
|Life is all about balance. Mixing up her surf routine with yoga, Karson Lewis wears the Calafia Leggings.
Are there a lot of longboarders in Wrightsville Beach?
There are a few longboarders here and there, but for the most part you see performance shortboarding attempting to go down on shin high waves. The WBLA (Wrightsville Beach Longboard Association) is the main logging association in our area and they keep the circle strong.
Where are your favorite spots for waves?
Right side of Crystal Pier: I used to live right behind Crystal, walk out of my house every morning and go surf just for convenience sake. Left side can get fun sometimes too. Always risky when there's a fun little wave up against the side of the pier because of the surfing laws here, but you gotta risk it to get the biscuit.
C Street: Where you're gonna find up-and-coming groms throwing fins and the old guys cruising in from the outside.
Johnny Mercer’s Pier: Left or Right side of Mercer's can be fun. I pick based on the crowd.
Traveling to Puerto Rico: It’s become a second home, everyone that lives there is super welcoming... wilderness, aguada and tres palmas. If I could pitch a tent in the woods at wilderness and live there I would. Literally, I ride a log everywhere. I don't own a shortboard yet. I rode a 5'4 fish in Puerto Rico, so that will definitely be my next investment to broaden my quiver.
Where are your favorite surf shops for gear, pre-surf breakfast/coffee, and post-surf lunch spots for food?
Sweetwater Surf Shop for all the gear, Cafe Del Mar for the infamous iced flavor roast coffee to get your day going, acai bowl at Surfberry for a little mid day snack, and you can't go with out Margs and chips n' salsa at Tower 7!
Why does Wrightsville Beach feel like home to you?
The family aspect of living on the island is one of a kind. The more you hang around, the more you get to know the local crowd and end up not being able to walk, bike or drive around without hollerin' at a friendly face (or seven). It's a tight knit community that loves a good time and loves their surfing!! Home is where the heart is and my heart is surfing. I'm beyond grateful to be able to call Wrightsville Beach home.
Follow along with Karson's Wrightsville Beach happenings on Instagram at @karsoncoastal!
|Karson Lewis surfing during the chillier months in North Carolina. Photo by Carleigh Sion.
|Karson Lewis leans into the nose, wearing the Lido One-Piece. Photo by Blair Bigham
|Karson Lewis paddles out. Photo by Kevin Mitchell.
|Karson Lewis wears the Hermosa in Florencia. Photo by Kevin Mitchell.
- Rosie Jaffurs' Guide to the friendliest Summer waves in Oahu
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- Logging in Puerto Rico: Jettygirl Sormarie Nieves' Island Surfing Guide