Billabong, Body Glove, Rip Curl, Quiksilver and Rusty. In the 90s and early 2000s, if you had one of these stickers on your car then you were probably a surfer, and if you rode over to “check the waves” every day then you were probably pretty good at it. 

In the summer, the beach is often a refuge from the heat and a place to gather with friends. If you’ve ever found yourself hanging by the pier, then you’ve surely noticed the surf crowd but the smell of sunscreen and Sex Wax will lead you to them either way. Whether paddling out yourself or just being a spectator of the sport, you’ll find yourself anxiously waiting for the next wave. 

When you ask a surfer how it feels to ride a wave, most of the time they can’t even describe the thrill. With eyes closed and face illuminated, picturing themselves gliding on the water, you’ll eventually get an, “Ah, man, it’s amazing!” in response. That amazing feeling is exactly what OIB Surf Camp Owner/instructors Marty Mentzer and Jesse McCrery want to give to others. 

In the year 2000, Marty Mentzer was a Middle School PE teacher already leading a Surf Club at Shallotte Middle School called the Shallotte Shredders. He wanted to include more kids throughout the county and began holding a summer surf camp meeting at the West End water tower on Ocean Isle Beach. Local surf shops rented and sold surfboards and gave lessons, but Marty’s offering of a week-long camp has made OIB Surf Camp the longest running camp on Ocean Isle. Marty has been a competitive surfer since 1991 and still competes in the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA). 

Surf students are taught water safety, surf etiquette and basic beginner skills, but in 2004 an advanced instruction class was added and taught by Jesse McCrery. Jesse, being a five-time East Coast Surf Champion, was able to work with kids who already knew how to surf but needed extra help with certain maneuvers or practice for contests. 

When not doing camp, Jesse is also a professional surfboard shaper (JM Surfboards) and can customize boards for all ages and sizes. He and Marty are both available for private lessons as well. Since the beach is so crowded now during the summer months, OIB Surf Camp has moved further west and down in front of The Isles Restaurant. Jesse says that weeks do sell out so book now to secure your spot. Upon completion, students will receive a T-Shirt and a “SURFtificate”! 

If you head east, you’ll find Carolina School of Surf meeting in front of the OIB Community Center. They accept students of all skill levels from beginner to intermediate and also advanced. From initially starting to feel comfortable in the water, your session will be tailored to your needs to help you reach the next level of surfing. 

Beyond basics of the sport, students will learn about ocean safety, surf Culture and participate in surf related activities. Owner/instructor Carston Allen has been teaching surf lessons at Ocean Isle for the last 12 years. Carston’s favorite parts of surf camp are getting to watch students catch their first wave, surfing with the students and showing them how to surfskate. “It’s always really exciting to see someone succeed for the first time. It never gets old, especially if you ride that same wave with them,” he said. 

Carston took over Carolina School of Surf after being an instructor with the company for a few years. The original owners were professional surf brothers, Michael and Ben Powell. The Powell brothers now own Drift Coffee and credit traveling to find great waves as their path for forming a love for coffee around the world. 

For locals and vacationers alike, there are a couple options for summer surf camp. Sign your kids up now for a new, exciting adventure and let them see what it’s like to have their toes on the nose! 

OIB Surf Camp


Carolina School of Surf

Ocean Isle Beach: 910-713-9283

Holden Beach: 910-880-8617

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