Watching Tony Silvagni: A Professional Longboard Surfer on ASP Tour
Everyone cannot take their eyes off this a blonde-hair surfer on a perfect 12 foot face wave, while stylishly doing a hang ten on a Steward Surfboard at Wilderness, Puerto Rico. Spectator’s mouths drop and are mesmerized by how gracefully this surfer maneuvers and becomes part of the giant wave.
This amazing surfer is Tony Silvagni, a professional surfer from Kure Beach, North Carolina. Tony is one of the top professional long-boarders in the world. He has been on Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour for 7 years, and going strong with his elegant, yet, playful long-boarding style.
I met Tony in 2014 while surfing in Puerto Rico. Not only did I get to see him surf, but also get to know him off the ocean through his friends and family in person. His outgoing, open, yet, responsible personality made Tony become a popular person in the lineup and also off the water.
Tony and I chatted about his professional career, his schooling and new venture he started, Tony Silvagni Surf School, back home at North Carolina.
Surf Mei Mei: how did you get into surfing and competing?
Tony: I learned how to surf when I was 5 years old. I started competing when I was 7 years old with the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA). I competed up and down the east from New Jersey to Florida with the ESA and NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association). Now I have been in ASP World Tour for Professional Longboard surfers for 7 years now. I have really enjoy all aspects of competition, it’s my passion.
Tony is currently ranked 9th in the World Surf League World Longboard Championship 2014. And he is currently sponsored by major sponsorships like, Stewart Surfboards, Hot Wax Surf Shop and Kulcha Shok Muzik
Surf Mei Mei: Did you have other career choices before you choose to be a pro surfer? And how did you make that decision?
Tony: At the age of 16 I began to realize that professional surfing was my dream. I always wanted to revolve surfing around my life. I surfed so many events at a young age in the professional ranks that I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Luckily, Tony has a great family support system. Growing up, his brother, Andrew was also into surfing competition. The first year Tony competed in the ESA, he made it all the way to Regionals in Ocean City MD. According to Tony’s mother, Barb Silvagni, Tony and Andrew were both extremely competitive and were hooked on competitive surfing from the beginning. The Salvagni worked it out as a family to get to all the events up and down the east coast, from Maryland to Florida with a minivan. They would stay with friends, camped, or spent many nights in hotels to make sure the brothers could compete and family enjoy good and hard time together.
Surf Mei Mei: It looks like you have a very loving supporting family and fans you seem very sincere and loving. It sounds like your family very important to you and how has that affected your surfing and competitions?
Tony: My surfing has always been influenced by my entire family. They have supported me from the very beginning. My family has always been the biggest influence in my surfing career and business. They have supported me from the beginning and never have given up on me. We are a surfing family.
Thankfully, Tony also has had supportive sponsors through out his surfing career. He rode for Ricky Carrol and Local Motion, Kelly Richards with Perfection boards, and now for Bill Stewart and Stewart Surfboards. He was sponsored with a major campaign by Bavaria Holland Beer and later by Quiksilver, Hotwax Surf Shop, and Kulcha Shok. Tony was also an ESA Allstar and traveled to places like Australia with the Allstar Team. He also went to Puerto Rico with the Local Motion Team. Tony’s career was definitely a team effort supported by family, sponsors, and friends.
Surf Mei Mei: How did you start your own surf camp? Why? How do you handle your life in traveling for competitions and surf school?
Tony: I started my surf school while I was attending the university of North Carolina as a business major in the Cameron school of business. I chose to go to college to always have a back up plan. College teaches you many good qualities for time management, leadership roles, and business strategies. I feel education is important for everyone.
A local hero, Tony is a beloved individual back home at North Carolina. He is also a very funny guy who just likes to make people laugh. Unlike many professional surfers who concentrate on surfing only, Tony Silvagni chose to continue his schooling at the University of North Carolina as a business major in the Cameron school of business, which helped him to start Tony Silvagni Surf School with huge success.
Tony Silvagni Surf School has expanded with a Surf Cam, lifestyle merchandise. The Surf School and beach service have become a travel destination in North Carolina and it has received great local support. While surfing for fun and competing, Tony also has great work ethic and often thinks in big pictures like a successful entrepreneur.
Surf Mei Mei: What’s your favorite kind of surfboard to ride? Where is your favorite spot?
Tony: I have always been a waterman surfing on shortboards, longboards, paddleboards and bodyboards since I was a kid. I have enjoyed competing in all the divisions. Longboarding has been my forte and I enjoy it the most when free surfing and competing. My favorite board is the cmp model by Stewart surfboards shaped by Bill Stewart. This board is so amazing on many types of surf conditions. I like how it noserides and the responsive turning radius. Bill Stewarts surfboards have changed my life. The dimensions are 9’0″ x 22 5/8 x 2 5/8. My few of my favorite surf spots are Keramas, Honolua Bay, Cloudbreak, and Wilderness.
Surf Mei Mei: What advice do you have to all surf sisters out there who want to surf better?
Tony: Always to have fun and strive to be a positive influence.
Surf Mei Mei: What does surfing mean in your life?
Tony: surf, eat, sleep, repeat…
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