By ROB ALDERMAN
The Rodanthe pier took another hit this week after an onshore wind created a powerful swell that caused well over 100 feet of pier to break off on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 6.
The most recent damage is on the heels of destruction caused in early October by two weeks of northeast wind and the passage offshore of Hurricane Joaquin.
In October, a piece in the middle of the pier was badly damaged and had not yet been fixed. Ironically, construction crews were already lined up to begin work to repair the previous damage this coming Monday.
Terry Plumbee, one of the pier’s owners, said in a telephone interview yesterday that the pier will be fixed “as is.”
The construction crews, he said, will make the necessary repairs to the remaining parts of the pier and the end will be capped where it currently is. This should leave roughly 500 feet of fishable pier that ends in nearly 20 feet of water.
I’ve known the owners of this pier well over a decade, since I was an employee there and they were just avid pier fisherman. These are down-to-earth guys who are not rich and who bought the failing pier about five years ago because of their passion for pier fishing and with hopes of keeping it going.
The latest damage is just another blow to the wooden piers of the Outer Banks. Wooden piers are far from being moneymakers. The constant damage and upkeep make it impossible to get ahead from fishing alone.
To the north—Outer Banks Pier, Nags head Pier, and, most recently, Avalon Pier — have all tried to increase their income by introducing outdoor bars and restaurants. Thus far, these additions seem to work and are generating more in revenue than the fishing. Plumbee said the Rodanthe Pier owners will be considering similar additions in the future.
For now, the gang at Rodanthe Pier is trying to get the necessary permits from the National Park Service to access the beach and recover as much of the pier as possible and clean up the debris.
Plumbee also said that, even with all the bad luck that the pier has suffered, the owners “are not giving up.” They hope to have all the repairs made and all 500 remaining feet open by April.
The Rodanthe pier in its heyday was 1,100 feet long, with the pier house sitting 100 feet out over the water. Much has changed since then.
IF YOU WANT TO HELP
If you’d like to contribute, you can go to Rodanthe Pier Facebook page and check out the Go Fund Me Page and the raffle that is underway to raise funds to fix the pier. You can reach out to the owners by private message on Facebook if you are interested in offering a hand in cleanup or repair.
The effort to save the Rodanthe Pier
(Rob Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 13 years and has worked in the recreational fishing industry the entire time. A former variety fishing TV show host, beach fishing guide, tackle shop and pier employee, Rob currently owns and operates Outer Banks Kayak Fishing. He is on the Pro-Staff of Bending Branches LLC, Wilderness Systems Kayaks, Release Reels, Yakattack and is an ambassador for Ugly Stik. You can follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)