Saw a fellow surfer comment about Cocoa Beach in the 60's and would like to tell a short memory.
In 1968 I took a Greyhound from Boca Raton to Cocoa and hitched to Cocoa Beach. I went to the pier and bought a Gary Proper 8'6" V bottom, my first short board. There was a contest going on, Gary Proper was there with Corky Carrol. Man was I stoked!
That night my contact in Cocoa gave me my first silly pill and I just stared at the pier. The Door's were being played "When the Music's Over". The pier looked like a giant living thing.
I found a ride back to Boca. We stopped at Sebastian Inlet for my first time, it was 6 to 8ft faces and perfect. I came home a changed surfer.
I am now 47 and have purchased a lot in Floridana Beach for my surfing golden years. Thanks for the time and the memories. I've had a full and varied life but those memories are the BEST.
- Bill Holzinger - Delray Beach since 1959
Cocoa Beach Surf Trivia
I lived in Rockledge from '65-'69 and surfed the pier every chance I got. During the summer, after getting up at 4am to deliver the Today newspaper, my buddy and I would strap our boards to my dad's car and he would drop us off at the intersection of A1A and 520 on his way to work at the Cape. We surfed all day until we had to meet him for the ride home.
I started on a 9'6", 30 lb. tub and ended with a 7', 15 lb. flat bottom round tail Oceanside surfboard, which was a great board that was made locally. The original Oceanside shop was in Cocoa on Route 1 but it burned down and was reopened in Cocoa Beach. We usually surfed the pier but would also hitch hike to the Jetties and 4th street. During that time there was a Hobie surf shop on the pier where the original Ron Jon shop started. Locals that I remember were Gary Propper that surfed for Hobie and Mike Tabeling that surfed for Dewey Weber. Mike's dad ran a Weber surf shop. There was also a Surfboards Hawaii shop in south Cocoa Beach.
The best day that I can remember was Labor Day in '68. We got to the beach about 6am and were greeted with 8 to 12 foot swells that were unlike anything we had ever seen before. They had good shape in the morning but later in the day the famous East Coast onshore wind prevailed and everything was closing out. It was still quite a ride. There was even an article in Surfer magazine about those great waves. It was the first time anyone could remember Cocoa Beach being featured in a surfing magazine.
That was over 30 years ago but I still love surfing as much as ever. There is nothing in the world that compares with getting to the beach before everyone else, and paddling out and watching the sun rise above the horizon.
- Dave Barncord - Knoxville, Tennessee
Shooting the Pier
Our family has been here for five generations and ran the Cape Canaveral Light House until 1939. I have been surfing the pier for 32 years.
Last year I finally was able to shoot the pier from the south side snack bar all the way through to the other side. I came out at the corner by the stair case and cleanly into a kick out some five to ten feet past the last piling. I was on an 7'10" QF Sting Fish. I had been in there plenty of times but never got all the way through the widest and longest part of the pier before. Anyone else out there been able to go from the snack bar to the stair case?
Here's a little known fact only real old timers know. There use to be a pier out on the point of Cape Canaveral. I have pictures. It was built and wiped out several times between 1865 and 1940. One old family tale claims my great great grandfather, the light keeper from 1852 to 1896 let pirates and confederate blockade runners tie up at this pier in exchange for whiskey. My family has grave sites out there and I can get a pass to go out there but all I can do is look, no touch.
Has anyone out there ever pulled off a surf on the point? One of the bigget ironies of living here is that point has waves as good as Cape Hatteras and on a big north swell goes off, and we can't touch it.
And it's true, surfing inside the jetties was awesome before they dredged it out for subs. In fact the jetties on both sides could hold a huge swell back in the 60's. Still I have caught some classic waves in winter there with no one out. Next time a big north swell is coming in and the form sucks south, check out the jetties. If a big north wind is blowing and it's junk at 2nd light, the odds are the wind will be nearly off shore at the jetties due to the curve of the coast line going out to the point. I have caught waist high perfection there when everyone else was fighting drift and mega chop.
Anyone want to talk old surf story or have original trivia about Cocoa Beach and Brevard County?