On Saturday, January 13, 2018, Florida surf museum and the local surf community held a memorial paddle out for Pat O’Hare on Cocoa Beach. Pat was well known from coast to coast, having started surfing in California in the late 50s and relocating to Cocoa Beach in 1963. Pat began his career as a surfboard shaper which brought him to Cocoa Beach, but his talents as a surfer were quickly noticed and he began to surf professionally and then shape boards.
In the early days he made surfboards with his friend, Rick James, under the name James in O’Hare. In fact, my first board was a 9′ 6″ James and O’Hare longboard.
Me with my first surfboard
Soon after that he started O’Hare Surfboards. Most locals like myself owned one or more of Pat’s boards. Many still do.
A Paddleout is a Hawaiian born surfer tradition and memorializes surfers and brings their ashes to the sea. Numerous surfers gathered on the beach and then paddled out into the Atlantic Ocean. Once out they formed a huge circle. After a few words were spoken on Pats behalf, Rose petals were tossed in the air, water was splashed up, and his ashes were put into the water.
Pat, with a bigger than life personalty and his suffering & shaping skills will be missed by his family & extensive friendship network.
Although the surf wasn’t great this month and we spent time both in Florida and at the lake, I did manage to capture some sweet rides. The first part is long boarding in Florida and then SUPing on the west coast. Was Atlanta for Christmas and then to Florida so a short summary. Enjoy.
As part of our last trip to Florida to visit family for Thanksgiving, we had the opportunity to stay a few nights at the 4 Points by Sheraton Hotel that is part of the Cocoa Beach Surf Company’s surf shop complex. Cocoa Beach Surf Company is billed as the world’s largest surf shop complex and is directly across from Ron Jon’s. We had a nice suite that actually overlooked the interior of the multi story surf shop (I was in heaven).
I was a bit strange not having a window directly looking outside, but it was fascinating to see the activity in the surf shop and the Shark Pit bistro. The room was very comfortable and accented in surf related lamps, pictures, etc.
It was very quite and just a block off the beach. We would recommend at stay at this unique hotel.
Visited Cocoa Beach in June 2011 to help celebrate my mom’s 92nd birthday. She is doing great and we had beautiful weather. The shot above is of me one morning at the Cocoa Beach/Canaveral Pier. While there I was able to SUP almost every day. The water was warm (hence, no wet suit) and I pretty much had the ocean to myself. Below is the link to a collection of short videos of my time in the Atlantic. Enjoy.
Made a stop at Kelly Slater’s statue on A1A at 4th Street South.
The pictures below are other sunrise shots. Our condo was just south of the pier.
Cocoa Beach Surf Company advertises itself as the “world’s largest surf complex” and is located on A1A in Cocoa Beach, Florida directly across from Ron Jon’s Surf Shop. The complex includes a Sheraton Four Points Hotel, Starbucks and The Shark Pit bar & Grill. Cocoa Beach Surf Company has a great inventory of boards, gear and surf/beach wear. They also have an extensive rental business. In the center of the complex is a huge saltwater aquarium with live sharks swimming around with many other species of fish.
Welcome to Cocoa Beach!
I grew up in Cocoa Beach, Florida. We moved there in 1964 when my dad’s work took us south. Known from the 60’s TV hit “I Dream of Jeannie”, Cocoa Beach is located on a barrier island, nestled between the great Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River. It is one mile wide and has six miles of ocean beachfront running the entire length of its city limits. With the Space Complexes of the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral to the north and Patrick Air Force Base to the south, Cocoa Beach has been shaped by its association with the Space Program and is widely known as the surfing capital of the East Coast; being the hometown of surfing champions (including 10 time world champion, Kelly Slater).
We lived two blocks off the Atlantic Ocean at 10th Street (one of the great surf spots). Although Kelly Slater has dominated surfing for last decade, in the 60’s we had our share of good surfers. Exceptional surfers of the time included Gary Proper, Joe & Betsy Twombly and Dick Catri. The video below is a trailer for a film by Balsa Bill (Summer of ’67) highlighting Dick Catri’s East Coast Hobie Team which consisted of some of the hottest surfers of the time.