The fact that Cocoa Beach is a mere 2 hour drive from Tampa, Florida can be a life saver for me. I get a little grumpy with all the flatness as far as the eye can see, so it sooths me when I spy a little natural variation on the horizon line. This generally comes in the form of waves. If the GC (Gulf Coast) isn’t kicking it up a notch with a strong windswell or a hurricane, my best bet is to Go East, Son!
My usual stomping ground is Sebastian Inlet, and this past weekend did not disappoint. Great waves on Saturday eased the beast within so much that I put my strategic mind to work and scheduled a surfing lesson for my little Shred Betty in Cocoa Beach on Sunday.
I hit up the guys at Cocoa Beach Surf Camp, and they lined us up with a skilled instructor named Wes. The waves on Sunday had dropped in size and were perfect for a surf lesson. Wes started her out with the fundamentals, and before long she was tearing it up. You can see the Cape Canaveral Kennedy Space Center launch pads in the background just above Shred Betty.
I’ve been surfing since I was 12 years of age, so I hope it becomes a hobby of hers that we can share for a lifetime to come. Meanwhile, I watched the little man and took pictures on the Cocoa Beach Pier. Apparently Hawaiians invaded Florida at some point?
It’s not even April yet, so here is hoping for more waves to come. Then it is the summer doldrums. Dare I say hurricanes? Bring it!
The coastline between Melbourne and Sebastian Inlet is littered with great surf spots, and it is not uncommon to catch the waves all to yourself. Because you are in what is described as central Florida, the water is much more blue and warm than the northern breaks. Even in the winter you can get away without a wet suit, but I would recommend a 3/2 full suit if not for the simple reason that you can stay out in the water for much longer.
Ever since I moved to Florida I keep a regular eye on the surf report, checking Surfline.com and Magic Seawood. It is interesting to see how often Sebastian Inlet catches a slightly larger swell than say Cocoa Beach. Also, it is far more tranquil and less developed. The thin stretch of land that separates the intercoastal waterway from the ocean makes for beautiful views on both the bay and ocean sides.
On my last visit to Sebastian Inlet the O’Neill Pro Surf Contest was just getting underway. As part of the week long series of events there is the “Red Bull Tow-At,” which involves towing competitors into the swells behind a waverunner. It gives the surfers the extra speed they need to pull of some pretty big air. It is certainly fun to watch.
If you want to experience some serious lens envy, just go to a surf contest. I was laughing my ass off pulling my little DV camera out and mounting it to my tripod. It was like having a water pistol in an artillery battle. Nevertheless, I was able to put together a little video of the action. I hope you enjoy it.