Wrightsville Beach: pioneer in East Coast surfing | Photo: Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach unveiled a historical marker installed at the North Carolina Highway to honor the island's surfing heritage.

North Carolina's most accessible beach from Interstate 40 has been recognized as a pioneer in East Coast surfing. In 1909, Burke Haywood Bridgers introduced the sport of surfing to the coastal town.

A resident of Wrightsville Beach, Bridgers brought his favorite hobby to the community after exploring a magazine article about people enjoying the sport in the Hawaii islands.

Wrightsville Beach: surfing since 1909 | Photo: Wrightsville Beach

Burke began building surfboards, promoting surfing and organizing the oldest surfing movement in North Carolina more than a century ago. In the following decades, John R. Handby, Katherine Meier Baird, Claire Fergus Funderburg, J. Skipper Funderburg and Will Allison were some of the names that helped boost and shape the Wrightsville Beach surf scene.

Today, Wrightsville Beach is full-scale surf town. There are surfboards everywhere, riders enjoying surfing and paddleboarding along the various waterways, and multiple surf shops and surf camps.

The O'Neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest and the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic are some of the events taking place during the year. In 2014, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History included the Wrightsville Beach Waterman Hall of Fame as a permanent exhibit.

August 3, 2016, was a day that surfers should never forget. For the first time in its long history, surfing was confirmed in the Olympic Games.

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