The Dark Side Of The Slick

If you’ve ever been to Cape Hatteras to kiteboard (or watched any video from Cape Hatteras) you will no doubt have come into contact with the REAL slick.

What is The Slick?

The slick is an “L” shaped island that was purpose built for kiteboarding. Back in the early days of kiteboarding – the sport’s pioneers planned out the perfect feature to place in the Pamlico Sound. This feature was designed to be a wind barrier to create a pool of perfect flat water for kite boarders to frolic in! Some time later – The Slick was complete and ready to ride.


Well – almost. Luckily for everyone, “The Slick” is actually a completely natural feature and just happens to be in one of the windiest locations in the USA… During the spring and summer – prevailing SW winds help support a hotbed of talent and “The Slick” reigns supreme as the premier kite spot in the area.

What about the fall and winter?

Sometime during August / September, the prevailing winds switch to the NW, N or NE and the slick is completely forgotten… unless you are in the know!

As it happens, in any NW or N wind, the “backside of the slick” is actually longer, flatter and even more awesome than the regular slick. I’ve had so many amazing sessions there and I’m definitely not alone! Today is November 3rd, 2013 and there are currently 3 very happy kite boarders having the time of their life riding the “backside of the slick”…

Kiteboaridng on the backside of The Slick
Kiteboaridng on the backside of The Slick

Why isn’t it more well known?

Well for starters, it’s a little cooler than in the spring or summer. NW and N winds bring colder air to Cape Hatteras so you can’t quite ride in board shorts. But that’s what wetsuits are for, right? We are talking about Cape Hatteras though so if you’re used to New England, Great Lakes or Canadian temperatures, it’s still warm (50s and 60s usually during November).

Pete Hardie and Evan Netsch Kiteboarding - Backside Of The Slick
Pete Hardie and Evan Netsch Kiteboarding – Backside Of The Slick

It’s also a little more discreet, when you’re riding down there you are slightly hidden from the backyard at REAL or any other launch site in the Tri Village area so you can expect to session with just your friends most of the time!

REAL Lesson Center favorite:

Our coaches LOVE teaching in this spot because the water is really smooth and you have so much space downwind to learn in shallow and really flat water. Since November kiteboarding camps are $200 less than in the spring or summer – it’s actually a very popular time to learn here!

Check out the action:

Here’s a clip from James Boulding over at Steez Productions featuring a lot of “backside of the slick” action (with additional footage from REAL’s Nate Appel at Cineaptic There are some other Cape Hatteras locations mixed in but it’s the really flat water and all of the clips of the Liquid Force Reverse Rainbow that you’re looking for… Enjoy!

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