Hurricane Fiona Gives Nantucket Surfers A Day To Remember

Gary Kohner •

84 CBB585 7 EF2 4 C0 F ACA7 178 E25 FA0017

I’m still processing what happened and what I saw and experienced this past Friday at the Valley. These are some iPhone photos (below) I took to help illustrate the story.
We all knew it was going to get bigger throughout the day. The morning was high tide, inconsistent but some good overhead waves (mostly lefts) and hard offshore with a touch of sideshore wind as seen in photo 2.
As the tide dropped the waves slowly built and the wind became straight offshore (photo 3). Then around midday it really started pumping, getting bigger and hollower with every set (photos 4 and 5). Then mid-afternoon things went next level. The Nantucket buoy went from around 7-feet every 14 seconds, to 8.9-feet at 17.4 seconds, to eventually 12-feet at 17.4 seconds. The surf went from pumping double overhead barrels to triple overhead (photos 1,6,7) within 30 minutes and the paddle out became nearly impossible (last photo).
However, Luke Johnson, Jake Johnson, Justin Roethke, and then Crawford Mitchell managed to sneak out just before it got crazy and were in the water as the waves got to a level that rarely happens here on Nantucket. Fifteen to 20-plus-foot top to bottom tubes. Many closeouts but a few perfect ones that if you could have been in the right spot and made the drop would have resulted in a barrel of a lifetime. Nobody got that wave and who knows when we will see waves like that again here but I’ll be thinking about it and the fact that I didn’t get back out there will haunt me forever.

I was really proud to see the young guns charging. Big props to the lads for sending it and a big shoutout to Wynter and Kydon Larrabee who were out there charging all day and attempted to paddle out when it went nuclear! Till the next epic swell!

- Gary Kohner

Gary “Kona” Kohner grew up on Nantucket and started surfing in 1984. He founded Nantucket Island Surf School in the summer of 1999 to share his love of surfing and the ocean with others. Photos below by Kohner.

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