The Swell that “Almost” Flew under the Radar – Story & Photos by Fat Tony

Tuesday, September 9 was a day to remember but if you blinked, it was gone. It started out with semi-glassy chest to head high waves and then all the wind predictions went into the garbage can as the surface became an oil slick of perfection. None of the wind predictions were accurate and only the lucky few were on it. Luckily Anthony Leone (Fat Tony) was able to grab a few photos during this swell event.

Here’s how it went down in Anthony’s perspective:

5:30 am and I’m banging on Juan Carlos Gerena’s bedroom window. The night before, we planned to meet up and try to grab a wave at first light. He was leaving for a contest in New Jersey at noon. The NE winds and cloudy skies seemed more ominous then potentially rewarding, but the water was warm and catching session with a homie in warm water is fun even if its a choppy mess.

Thunder, lightning, and dumping rain greeted us as we pulled into Avalon Pier, but the swell was showing signs of promise, looking over the radar maps, pounding coffee and croissants, I could see that the storm had something pushing it from the WSW. I hoped that as the storm passed we would get at least a small window of fun surf, and i was blown away with what transpired after.

As the rain died off, Juan Carlos and Sean Polk took to the water. The were winds shifting, waves getting better with every set, we would have been completely happy with the first hour session alone, but it just kept getting better and better.

Fat Tony_emptywave

Then we were greeted by this about 100 yards up the beach

Fat Tony_JuanC

Juan Carlos tucking in, in the rain.


Fat Tony_Sean Polk

You don’t need an umbrella with a roof like this, Sean Polk



The parking lot started filling in. The crews assembling and paddling out, rapid fire text messages flying, “sick” days getting called in, no one saw it coming. This swell didn’t have a name attached, no one frothed over night packing gear for this, the tourist were gone, this swell was just a reminder that somedays on this island, you’re going to wake up and the surf will be pumping…

Surfers photographed: Brandon Jenkins, Spencer Moore, Dana Quinn, Nathan Lowdermilk, Quinton Turko and Chris McDonald.


FatTony_Brandon Jenkins

Brandon Jenkins Hand Planing​

FatTony_Chris McDonald

Chris McDonald

FatTony_Dana Quinn

Dana Quinn with not a drop of water out of place.

FatTony_Nathan Lowdermilk

Nathan Lowdermilk got his fair share of waves.

FatTony_Quinton Turko

Quinton Turko sets up for a nice lefty.

FatTony_Spencer Moore

Spencer Moore in the thick of it.

About Anthony Leone:

At the age of 14, he started taking his first real photos. Inspired by skate and surf magazines, helways wanted to capture people and places in their moments of excellence. After spending a few years traveling the country doing film work and getting burnt out on the film industry, he’s back on his home island and stepping back into his passion for capturing still images here on the Outer Banks.

For more photos from Fat Tony, visit his website HERE. and check out his Facebook Page HERE.