The Great Mighty Seahawk

Wrightsville Beach is home to a brilliantly contrasting bird of prey. Fisherman have its respect, naturalists listen for its call, and beach-goers may sight him catching fish out of the surf! The Osprey is one of the most energetic predatory birds found in our coastal community. The large black and white predatory bird has a powerful wing-span almost exceeding 6 feet. It is highly respected in coastal communities for its cunning and also for its seemingly effortless ability to capture fish. The bird’s great vision allows it to see fish while flying high above the ocean or tidal marshes. Upon noticing an acceptable target it hovers above with strong beats of the wing and then dives feet first straight into the water to ensnare the prey. The osprey’s diet is 99% fish and in one day it can catch up to eight fish. Come the end of fall, like many birds, the osprey heads for warmer wintering grounds, following the fish to Central and South America.

Fall Migration

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The largest migration of birds through our area will begin in late summer and into fall. The birds, moving south, prefer the Atlantic flyway during the fall migration. They Atlantic flyway is the the East-coast of North America and runs right through Wrightsville Beach. The birds at times fly directly over the ocean and at other times they make jumps from island to island as they move down the coast. A diverse abundance of birds can be found along our coastal habitats, with many birds preferring their own specialized habitat for example a mudflat, or a saltwater marsh, or an oyster reef. Wrightsville beach offers some great scenic natural areas to get out and view these birds from the water. There are also sandy beaches and spoil islands in close proximity that can give the adventuresome an enjoyable day outdoors. Don’t miss the up and coming migration, it is a great chance to see hawks, songbirds, falcons, waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, and many colorful interesting birds as they journey to their warmer winter grounds.

Up to Speed on Sunset SUP

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The last two weeks have been filled with fun and challenging races for all of our Sunset SUP participants. On August 7th, we held a race on the ocean side to test our paddlers in the swell. Our Dogfish Dash race builds on the skills developed and tested in many of our soundside races, but adds the element of ocean waves. Similar to our Sailfish Sprint race, paddlers leave the beach and paddle out to round a buoy. However, instead of sprinting back to the beach, paddlers round a buoy in the surf and head back out. Community racers completed two laps, while Challengers completed 4. It is no small feat to paddle in the ocean, especially with wind like we had on that Thursday. All of our competitors that accepted the challenge should be proud. Ocean paddling is a big part of stand up paddleboarding, both in racing and the history of the sport. It is great to see many of our paddlers take their practice to the next level. Although, many paddlers had a difficult time standing while paddling and then completing a buoy turn in the surf, they all finished the race!

Then, on the 14th, we returned to the sound side for the Bridge Bender: a course developed on the fly to accommodate paddlers amidst one of Wrightsville Beach’s exciting sailboat races. This was one of our longer distance courses, with Community racers paddling to the second bridge in Bank’s Channel and back, and then Challengers paddling out and back twice. Battling the tides and falling into a good rhythm were some of the challenges paddlers faced. After the long course was complete, the Kid’s race was off with some of our local groms paddling hard after also participating in the Community course!
We have a great community of local racers, and their skills are improving each and every week! Thank you to all that come out in support of the Sunset SUP Series. We hope to see you all in the next two weeks as we wrap up the second half of our series!

  Loggerhead Loop Dogfish Dash Bridge Bender
name division time points time points time points total
Jenna B Kids 6:22 0.75 - - 1:34 0.75 1.5
Caden P Kids 6:42 1 - - 1:42 1 2
Jackson Kids - 4 - - 1:40 2 6
Saylor Kids - 4 - - 1:43 3 7
Campbell Kids - 4 - - 1:52 4 8
Elle N Kids 6:52 2 - - - 6 8
Kathryn Kids - 4 - - 2:02 5 9
Evan Kids - 4 - - 2:02 5 9
Preston C Kids 8:28 3 - - - 6 9
Craig S Men’s Challenge 0:27:44 0.75 8:37 0.75 40:22:00 1 2.5
Barry B Men’s Challenge 0:27:48 1 9:33 2 40:02:00 0.75 3.75
Eric C Men’s Challenge 0:28:46 2 9:10 1 - 4 7
Ed P Men’s Challenge 0:30:22 3 10:55 4 - 4 11
Haywood N Men’s Challenge 0:30:22 4 10:37 3 - 4 11
Adam H Men’s Challenge 0:32:14 5 - 5 46:00:00 2 12
Don Weber Men’s Challenge 0:32:16 6 - 5 47:57:00 3 14
Dave D Men’s Community 23:20 1 22:54 2 28:31:00 1 4
Patrick P Men’s Community 23:19 0.75 - 3 - 2 5.75
Mark S Men’s Community 0:25:43 3 - 3 27:52:00 0.75 6.75
Larry C Men’s Community 0:26:30 4 7:48 0.75 - 2 6.75
Adam H Men’s Community - 5 11:07 1 - 2 8
Anna B Women’s Challenge 0:33:19 0.75 11:23 1 48:12:00 0.75 2.5
Sharna T Women’s Challenge 0:35:24 1 10:47 0.75 48:39:00 1 2.75
Jenna B Women’s Community 23:25 0.75 - 2 28:30:00 1 3.75
Sandy M Women’s Community 0:24:00 1 11:05 0.75 - 3 4.75
Lisa R Women’s Community 0:28:43 3 13:09 1 28:11:00 0.75 4.75
Tracy S Women’s Community 0:25:04 2 - 2 - 3 7
Sayor Women’s Community - 4 - 2 24:47:00 2 8

WB’s Summer Bird

IMG_4355-EditAn interesting sight to see this time of year on Wrightsville Beach is the Black Skimmer. The skimmer is a black and white bird with an unordinary orange/black beak. The beak like all birds is split in two, the upper and lower mandible; the skimmer has an unusually large lower mandible. Another outstanding feature of this bird’s beak is that it is knife thin. This characteristic allows the bird to catch fish while skimming the surface of the water. The act is intriguing to watch. While flying very fast, the bird descends to just above the surface of the water. While flapping quickly to keep up speed the skimmer dips it’s lower mandible in the water and banks and turns around sandbars in search of minnows. What they are doing is feeling for small fish. When one comes in contact with the lower mandible that is in the water, the top mandible shuts immediately, ensnaring the unlucky minnow. All this happens very quickly at a fast rate of speed! In the world of birds, this behavior of foraging is unique to the skimmer.

On Wrightsville Beach you can see colonies of skimmers during the summer on the protected beaches at the south end of the island. Arriving to North Carolina in late spring the birds begin setting up breeding colonies in natural areas, luckily for us they chose to make a colony on Wrightsville Beach. Chicks can be seen throughout the summer in the colonies waiting for parent birds to bring them a meal from the sea. As the summer goes on, the chicks grow and fledge to join the ranks of adulthood. The main portions of beach where these birds congregate are closed to the public to ensure the birds have safe breeding grounds to raise their young, but great sights of the birds can be seen from the water.

By the hour you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from the Blockade Runner, that are great for sightseeing and recreation or you can take a guided tour with an experienced guide. The rental center is located on the sound side of the property. There are also scenic tours offered to view these outstanding birds. The most notable charter in town, “Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours” is located at the dock of the Blockade Runner and chartered by Captain Joe. The summer time is the only time to see these interesting birds, come autumn the birds pack up and head for the Caribbean for a warm winter and better fishing not to return again till late spring the following year.

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Thanks to Jay Moore Photography for the top photo.

Sunset SUP Series part 2

 

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After a weather wash out the other Thursday, we were able to hold the first SUP race for the second half of our Sunset SUP Series. Paddlers battled a north wind in our Loggerhead Loop course to start collecting points towards the grand prizes.

After the end of the first half of the series we saw some very strong local paddlers take home the goods. Craig Stevens and Karen Wilson took the men’s and women’s Challenge Course honors, while Mark Sumner and Laura Stevens took the lead in the men’s and women’s Community divisions. The kid’s division was headed up by Saylor. James Bain of Epic Food Co. took the win for the prone division; Epic Food is also one of our sponsors and provides great prizes for our race participants. The finale for the first half was our Tern’s Turns course with some added distance. Paddlers battled around 4 buoy turns, crossing paths as the field spread out. This spectator friendly course is always a crowd favorite and a real nail-biter!

As we move on to the second half, paddlers start the point count over. While winning your division is always a great way to collect points, sometimes it’s better to just show up to more races! We will continue to award weekly prizes at random to race participants, and as always, we have free beverages donated by Natty Greene’s. We’ve already given out some great gear from Distressed Mullet, South End Surf Shop, Epic Food Co., and Carolina Paddleboard Co. Be sure to head out and join us this Thursday, and check out the photos from last week on our Facebook page: Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Academy.

Results:

 Loggerhead Loop
Name Division Time Points
Jenna B Kids 6:22 0.75
Caden P Kids 6:42 1
Elle N Kids 6:52 2
Preston C Kids 8:28 3
Craig S Men’s Challenge 0:27:44 0.75
Barry B Men’s Challenge 0:27:48 1
Eric C Men’s Challenge 0:28:46 2
Ed P Men’s Challenge 0:30:22 3
Haywood N Men’s Challenge 0:30:22 4
Adam H Men’s Challenge 0:32:14 5
Don Weber Men’s Challenge 0:32:16 6
Patrick P Men’s Community 23:19 0.75
Dave D Men’s Community 23:20 1
Mark S Men’s Community 0:25:43 3
Larry C Men’s Community 0:26:30 4
Anna B Women’s Challenge 0:33:19 0.75
Sharna T Women’s Challenge 0:35:24 1
Jenna B Women’s Community 23:25 0.75
Sandy M Women’s Community 0:24:00 1
Tracy S Women’s Community 0:25:04 2
Lisa R Women’s Community 0:28:43 3

 

Add Some Adventure to your Summer

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  Beautiful Wrightsville Beach has provided us with yet another summer for the books. Each day is filled with fantastic weather and a flood of people in a summertime state of mind. The beach is without a doubt great, but what to do on days when laying in the sand just isn’t enough? How can we as locals entertain guests or simply ourselves, without falling into the same old routine of bronzing all day until we work up the patience to stand in line at Trolley Stop?

Grab your guests, friends, family or pets and join us at the Surf to Sound Academy for an exciting adventure filled with kayaking, SUP or sailing. The time has come for friends and families of all ages to make the most of this gorgeous weather and try something new! Explore Masonboro by cruising in style while paddling a kayak or learn to sail through the Intracoastal on our Hobie Cat with specialized instruction. Relax with a SUP Yoga class or paddle out on your own. Enjoy all this in the ocean breeze by easily launching from the sound side of the BR and embrace the new adventure-filled summer days awaiting you.

This is the perfect way to make the most of what is left of your summer while relaxing on the water. Get started with helpful instructions from our experts or create an experience all your own. Pricing, location, and hours can be seen below. We look forward to helping you add adventure to the rest of your summer!
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Opened 9am until Sunset

 

 

 

kayak rental rates

1hr

2hr

4hr

1day

single

$20

$30

$40

$60

tandem

$35

$50

$60

$80

guided kayak tour (9am daily)

2hr

single

$50

tandem

$90

 

SUP rental rates

1hr

4hr

1day

1day

Single SUP Board

$25

$65

$75

$75

SUP group lesson* (930am and 1pm daily)

$50

SUP private lesson*

$100

  *includes 1hr instruction &1hr rental

 

Sail Boat

 Rentals

1 hour

$60

2 hours

$100

 

 Location 275 Waynick Blvd., Wrightsville Beach

 

 

 

 

Hurricanes & Independence!

We survived Hurricane Arthur and the 4th of July! Although the forecast threatened the Independence holiday with high winds and rain, Wrightsville Beach was one of the lucky towns where Arthur took his leave late Thursday night. In the wake of the storm was a beautiful 4th of July with a cool north wind. Our only “casualty” was the Thursday night Sunset SUP Series, as we were unable to hold our weekly paddleboard race due to the hurricane. Friday morning was the perfect opportunity to enjoy our soundside kayak and SUP rentals, and in the afternoon the light breeze made sailing an attractive option. Usually boat traffic is very heavy on the holidays, but this year it was manageable. The local college crowd was hunting for rides to Masonboro Island, and we were able to see numerous boats loaded up to capacity and ferrying people over. On our beach side lawns we were launching water balloons, competing to see who could eat the most watermelon, and getting artistic with face painting. The beach was hopping with guests from all around the world soaking up the sun, enjoying the cool breeze, and swimming in the warm water. Overall, it was great 4th of July weekend. We had a great time, and would like to thank all of our guests for choosing to share it with us here at the Blockade Runner. If you missed the holiday here this year, be sure to start planning to join us for 2015! Arthur

April in OBX

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This weekend our SUP Instructor April traveled to a local North Carolina SUP event in the Outer Banks. The OBX SUP Series consists of three-events held the last weekends of June, July, and August. At each of the events, paddlers have the opportunity to compete in both surf and race courses. An avid racer and surfer, April competed in both events and took 1st place in the Women’s divisions. On Saturday, the winds were high, but the SUP surf competition went on with slightly longer heats than planned due to the difficulty getting out through the breaks. Rides were tough, and although some waves were caught here and there, wipeouts were much more abundant. Sunday was forecast to be windier, but the race was on the sound side and somewhat protected from the winds. Elite racers paddled a figure 8 course around two small islands. April finished 5th overall alongside some fast male paddlers.

Week FOUR of the Sunset SUP Series!

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What looked like impending weather blew through and left a beautiful evening in its wake on Thursday for our Sailfish Sprint and Kid’s races. As racers arrived we set the buoy and arranged our heats. Heats were run with four racers in each, with the top two advancing to the next round. With over 30 racers, the heats were run back to back in a spectator friendly course that was action packed and fun to watch! At 6, racers lined up for a short clinic to improve their forward stroke; a vital stroke in sprint racing. The sprint course not only required an efficient forward stroke, but built on the lessons from the last two weeks. The course began with a running beach start and also included a buoy turn at the half way mark; racers that attended the courses on beach starts and buoy turns looked confident and smooth in the water. A huge “Thank You” goes out to all of our participants for this week’s race, as well as our sponsors: Carolina Paddleboard Co., Distressed Mullet, CrossFit Coastal, the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and the Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Academy.

July 3rd has something very special in store, so be sure to swing by and either participate or observe our very special race! Be sure to “Like” the Blockade Runner Surf to Sound Academy on Facebook for updates about the Series and Photos from our events!

Downwind Tern’s Turns Loggerhead Loop Sailfish Sprint
Name Division Week 1 Time Week 1 pts Week 2 Time Week 2 pts Week 3 Time Week 3 pts Week 4 pts Cumulative pts
Laura Stevens Women’s Community - 2.00 7:42 0.75 24:50:00 0.75 0.75 4.25
Saylor Women’s Community - 2 - 4 26:04:00 2.00 1.00 9.00
Jenna Blackburn Women’s Community - 2.00 8:35 2 - 3.00 5.00 12.00
Patty Davis Women’s Community - 2 - 4 30:00:00 5.00 3.00 14.00
Sandy Mitofsky Women’s Community - 2.00 10:04 3 - 7.00 2.00 14.00
Cristy Bain Women’s Community - 2.00 10:04 3 - 4.00 8.00 17.00
Dana Stevens Women’s Community - 2.00 - 4 - 7.00 4.00 17.00
Lexy Malone Women’s Community 21:37 0.75 - 4 - 7.00 6.00 17.75
Jennifer B. Women’s Community - 2 - 4 30:30:00 6.00 8.00 20.00
Regi Elliot Women’s Community - 2.00 - 4 - 7.00 7.00 20.00
Karen Wilson Women’s Challenge 17:21 2.00 - 3 33:32:00 2.00 0.75 7.75
April Zilg Women’s Challenge 16:55 0.75 - 3 31:08:00 0.75 4.00 8.50
Anna Blackburn Women’s Challenge - 4.00 13:02 0.75 34:50:00 3.00 2.00 9.75
Sharna Tolfree Women’s Challenge 19:00 3.00 14:03 2 36:31:00 4.00 3.00 12.00
James Bain Prone - 3.00 6:17 0.75 18:46 0.75 4.00 8.50
Mike Medwedeff Prone - 3.00 6:31 2 19:58 2.00 4.00 11.00
John Beausang Prone 19:39 0.75 - 4 21:24 3.00 4.00 11.75
Dave Baker Prone 21:30 2.00 7:14 4 23:28 4.00 2.00 12.00
Renee Prone - 3.00 - 4 - 5.00 0.75 12.75
Jason Colclough Prone - 3.00 6:46 3 - 5.00 4.00 15.00
Katie EP Prone - 3.00 - 4 - 5.00 3.00 15.00
Mark Sumner Men’s Community - 2.00 8:36 0.75 - 3.00 0.75 6.50
Larry Cleveland Men’s Community 22:37 0.75 - 2 - 3.00 2.00 7.75
Jim Adams Men’s Community - 2.00 - 2 20:48 0.75 5.00 9.75
Dion Waters Men’s Community - 2.00 - 2 24:51:00 2.00 5.00 11.00
Craig Stevens Men’s Challenge - 5.00 11:04 2 28:56:00 0.75 0.75 8.50
Barry Blackburn Men’s Challenge - 5.00 11:02 0.75 28:56:30 2.00 3.00 10.75
Eric Carter Men’s Challenge 15:45 0.75 12:52 7 30:05:00 3.00 5.00 15.75
Ed Pierce Men’s Challenge 17:16 3.00 12:30 6 32:08:00 6.00 6.00 21.00
Erik Bigsby Men’s Challenge - 5.00 11:06 3 - 12.00 2.00 22.00
Greg Lew Men’s Challenge - 5.00 11:42 4 30:35:00 4.00 10.00 23.00
Haywood Newkirk Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 31:06:00 5.00 4.00 23.00
Corey Curtis Men’s Challenge 16:41 2.00 12:12 5 34:59:00 8.00 10.00 25.00
Don W Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 34:00:00 7.00 10.00 31.00
Alex Hedman Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 35:00:00 9.00 10.00 33.00
Tommy Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 - 12.00 7.00 33.00
CB Men’s Challenge - 5.00 16:15 8 - 12.00 8.00 33.00
Jon B Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 35:50:00 10.00 10.00 34.00
Patrick P Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 43:25:00 11.00 10.00 35.00
Scott Werstlein Men’s Challenge 18:00 4.00 - 9 - 12.00 10.00 35.00
Rich Men’s Challenge - 5.00 - 9 - 12.00 9.00 35.00
Caden Kid’s n/a n/a 4:39 4 n/a n/a 3.00 7.00
John Kid’s n/a n/a 4:48 5 n/a n/a 2.00 7.00
Sean Brennan Kid’s n/a n/a 3:56 0.75 n/a n/a 7.00 7.75
Saylor Kid’s n/a n/a - 7 n/a n/a 0.75 7.75
Oliver Bain Kid’s n/a n/a 4:17 2 n/a n/a 7.00 9.00
Dana Stevens Kid’s n/a n/a 4:30 3 n/a n/a 7.00 10.00
Jackson Kid’s n/a n/a 4:39 4 n/a n/a 7.00 11.00
Evan Lew Kid’s n/a n/a 5:08 6 n/a n/a 5.00 11.00
Kathryn Kid’s n/a n/a - 7 n/a n/a 4.00 11.00
Hayley Kid’s n/a n/a - 7 n/a n/a 6.00 13.00

Let’s Set Sail!

unnamed (1)Starting this week the Surf to Sound Academy will be offering SAILING! Rentals will start out at $60 for an hour or $100 for 2 hours. Have no fear if you’re not sure how to sail yet, lessons are also available. With our instructor certified by the American Sailing Association and US Sailing, you can safely learn all about rigging, rudders, and tacking up wind from our soundside beach. We ask that you call in advance to schedule lessons.