Imagine yourself sitting on a perfectly-shaped surfboard and basking in the almost 100 degree temperature while your feet dangle in the luke warm Atlantic Ocean, waiting for that perfect wave to bring you back onto the shore of Florida’s Space Coast. That scene is a favorite for many locals, and surfing is unlike any other experience as it connects you with a world that is unknown to many. It is a deep and dark mystery where sea life moves and sways with the natural currents of the water and an exhilarating world in which to immerse yourself.
Surfing is not just a culture; it’s a lifestyle on Florida’s Space Coast. The need to be with one of the most natural elements on Earth is something that many people can’t explain, and yet, they yearn for people to understand their love affair with the ocean.
Florida’s East Coast is home to many well-known and professional surfers dating all the way back to the 1930s, but one story that hits close to home is Cocoa Beach’s native Kelly Slater. Slater, born and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida, is an 11-time world champion surfer and can be found on the cover of many surfing magazines at any given time.
In 1984, Slater won his first of four US Surfing Championship titles; two in the Menehune division and two in the Boys’ division. At the age of 14, Kelly Slater won the Eastern Surfing Festival at Florida’s Canaveral Pier and turned down the money prize to keep an amateur status. At the age of 16, Slater turned pro and the locals on Florida’s Space Coast couldn’t keep their eyes off of Slater as he dominated the surfing community.
A good-looking man that offered a Florida-vibe, people referred to his allure as “Slatermania,” and compared him to a young Elvis Presley. He was even included in the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People in 1991, and every local was swooning over their very own superstar from Cocoa Beach, Florida. At the age of 20, Kelly Slater was pro-surfing’s youngest world champion. Over the next several years, Slater mastered his skills and won several titles including Pipeline Masters, Quicksilver Pro, and many more. His 11th title came in 2011, at the age of 39, all while his local hometown continued to cheer him on.
Many local hopefuls wish to continue in Slater’s footsteps and become a worldwide phenomenon in surfing from Florida’s Space Coast. You can catch some of these hopefuls in the upcoming surf competitions. Below are some notable and local competitions.
- March 25-27, 2016 - 52nd Easter Surfing Festival - Lori Wilson Park - Cocoa Beach, Florida
- April 15-17, 2016 - Southeast Regional Championships - Melbourne Beach, Florida
We look forward to seeing you on the beach on Florida’s Space Coast. #StillCool #CocoaBeach