The Army Corps of Engineers dredged Mason’s Inlet at the North End of Wrightsville Beach, NC over the past few months in an effort to renourish the beaches of Figure 8 Island. The unintended benefit (ignoring the unintended environmental harm) is that we have a channel in which to paddle.
These image were shot at low tide. A higher tide on race day means more water and more of a channel. This will help you see the meandering understructure.
We have added a buoy
There is a new buoy in the inlet this year to help prevent paddlers from hitting the sand bars. We’ve had some injuries in past years and wanted to give people some room.
This will mean you have the possibility of being in between the waves breaking on either side of that bar. It is a relatively deep channel. We have a LOT of wind and high surf this weekend, so who knows if it’ll still be there in a week. We are making that assumption.
If the course runs out the inlet
You will exit the inlet going east and into the atlantic, heading out and around a buoy. You will have to round the buoy which will be places offshore, outside the channel entrance. You will round it on your right shoulder. This may keep you outside the breaking waves, but north or south wind blows chop through there, so it’ll be better, but not a foolproof, clean exit.
If the course runs in through the inlet
You will have to round the buoy before heading into the inlet. Again, this will be places offshore, outside the channel entrance. You will round it on your left shoulder before going in. At that point, you can slide north or south to catch either of the breaks leading into the inlet and surf in. OR, you can remain in the channel and perhaps avoid some of the breaking surf if there is any.