Words by John Streit. Photos by Shaun Devine, Mickey McCarthy, Jon Carter, Eddie Compo, Jonathan Breedlove, Allen Harcourt & Ethan Smith. Video filmed by Jake Horton & edited by Jeffrey O’Neil.

Before I get into the magic that was the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo on the Outer Banks, I must apologize for jinxing Virginia Beach by posting An Ode to Virginia Beach. Clearly, I upset the surf gods; who spitefully sent a pitiful representation of this massive, Category 4 hurricane’s swell to our shores. It just never quite came together here. Stories of frustration abound.

But if you were among the throngs of surfers who made the pilgrimage to the Outer Banks to worship at the altar of pumping barrels; the stories are the polar opposite. Even well-traveled professionals — surfers and photographers alike — staked bold-but-true claims: As good as it gets. Of course, not every spot boasted these kinds of conditions for the duration of the swell. However, as I scrolled through the volumes of photos captured over the weekend, it became obvious that if you were in the right place at the right time, perfection did indeed manifest itself in the form of perfect offshore winds, unseasonably warm water, long lines and gaping barrels.

As for the hurricane hype that preceded Gonzalo; has there ever been a swell that personified and perpetuated the stereotypes of surf between Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks? While the Commonwealth fell undeniably short of its forecast’s billing, the Great State proved to be just that.


Sometimes everything lines up perfectly. Photo: Devine.
S&A team rider Shaun Devine got out from behind his lens and into Eddie Compo's on this gem of a Hatteras barrel. Photo: Compo/The Wildlyfe.
Over-the-ledge and all-in: Shaun Devine goes in on this Hatteras chandelier. Photo: Compo/The Wildlyfe.
These guys get an eyeful of Gonzalo's magic as they walk to the top of this peak. Photo: Devine.
The kind of wave for which you would travel across the globe, only it's right here in our backyard. Photo: Devine.
October means Tacoma Beach is back -- with a big assist from Gonzalo! Photo: Carter.
Bradley Lamb slides into the iconic inside section at Avalon Pier. Photo: Carter.
Zack Goodwin goes wide open for his entry into this runner. Photo: McCarthy.
An unidentified goofyfooter drives both into the shade and the lens of 2M. Photo: McCarthy.
Another in-town A-frame. Photo: Harcourt.
While Hatteras Island boasted bigger and heavier waves, in-town OBX was groomed and more manageable. Photo: Smith.
Speed and style to burn: Ryan Rhodes. Photo: Shelton/Local As It Gets.
The northside of Jennette's Pier featured a long, reeling righthander. This unidentified regularfooter gets inside of it. Photo: Shelton/Local As It Gets.
Rise and shine, Rodanthe! Photo: Harcourt.
Virginia Beach photographer Jonathan Breedlove didn't have much time to shoot Gonzalo's swell, but his short window produce some epic captures. This unidentified goofyfooter -- and this wave -- find classic form. Photo: Breedlove/Coastal Creatures
This shot of Virginia Beach's Ryan Leopold captures the anticipation of pulling in. Photo: Breedlove/Coastal Creatures
Deep: check. High line: check. Style: check. Ryan Leopold brings it all together. Photo: Breedlove/Coastal Creatures
Andrew Meyer turned in an all-star performance over Gonzalo weekend, and the surf media world took notice. Photo: Devine.
S&A team rider Conner Barnes with his eyes on the prize. Photo: Devine.
Conner Barnes takes the elevator straight down into this Pea Island pit. Photo: Devine.
One of the best backhand tube riders around, Austin White trims speed on this meaty one. Photo: Devine.
2M x Andrew Meyer. Photo: McCarthy.
VIDEO: Visions from Buxton: "Gonzalo!" Filmed by Jake Horton. Edited by Jeffrey O'Neill.

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