I moved to Cocoa Beach in 1960 when my dad was transferred to Patrick Air Force Base. In those days Cocoa Beach was booming and barges were dredging land from the bottom of the river to develop more subdivisions, the golf course and Minuteman causeway. People had moved in from everywhere because of the space program. The beach was wide and open and there were no condo's blocking the beautiful views. My dad would ride us up and down the beach and we would eat at Fat Boy's Bar-B-Que or the Cocoa Beach Drive In every Friday night.
In the sixties all of us kids got to walk to the beach to view all of the missile launches and we loved it! Lots of good memories and my how Cocoa Beach is so crowded now. Ron Jon was just a speck of a store in a tiny strip mall! Great memories as I lived there from 1960 to 1974!! Best beach in the world!
- Anne Hicks Hudspeth, Oklahoma - 6/12/07
Surfing and Diving in Cape Canaveral 67-70
I was 15 when we moved from Gainesville to the Cape. We lived in Harbor Heights from the winter of 1967 to the winter of 1970. Learned to surf there south of the jetties on a Hawaii Model A and any other board I could borrow. Then the short board revolution hit and we started cutting down those beautiful Model A's and other classic boards to make them into (5 - 6 Ft) short boards!! They were really ugly and did'nt ride well. Bill Eberwein, my best friend, started making boards in his father's chicken coop and we started trying to learn the "trade" too! Oceanside surfboards were the rage around Cocoa Beach with the factory being so close (Cocoa). We used to buy the "ends" from the owner, the foam blanks were for long boards, so they would cut off 3-4 foot of the blank to make the short boards....we would buy the ends, glue them together with dowel rods and resin then shape and glass them. The ends were only $3 or $4 apiece. Made some really hot, but ugly, little boards!! they were'nt real strong but they were affordable for those of us from the poor crowd. We used to watch Gary Propper rip inside the jetties when the v-bottoms were first introduced....anybody remember that? We watched as surfing evolved from noseriding to ripping right before our eyes!! Very primitive to what they are doing now, but very revolutionary then!
I got my first new board when I was 16.....bought an Oceanside "Intrument". Anybody remember those boards? After riding the junk we made, it was like riding a cadillac! I got a job cleaning the Cape Canaveral Baptist Mission, where my father was Pastor and saved the money for the new board....seems like it was $118 or &120 something like that.
Also played football with the Yeakley brothers, Billy Baggett, Bobby Foster, Dan Reeves, Mike Hughes, just to name a few.
We would spear fish when the waves were flat. We used to spearfish at the jetties, in the port, under the bridges, out under the marker buoys going out the channel......shot all kinds of fish and never saw Jaws once!! Can't remember which of our neighborhood gang ruptured their ear drums free diving at the marker buoys in 45 feet of water....anybody remember who that was?? I accidently shot one of the bouys with a .357 bang stick trying to shoot a very large (30-40 lb) tripletail. We freaked out and left the area thinking it would sink and we could go to prison.....they never caught us. :-)
"Buggies & Boards" opened in Cape Canaveral sometime during 1969. Two guys were selling dune buggies and Morey Pope Surfboards. Anybody remember those boards.....the "Big Mac", the "Power Dude", and etc.,.....great times.....great memories.....great waves....wish we could turn back the clock.....
- Bill Keith - 5/27/07
My family moved to Cocoa Beach in 1958, A1A was a two lane dirt road and Ron Jon's was located next to the Samoa lounge.
Graduated from Cocoa Beach High school in 1972, played football, basketball, wrestled and threw the shot put. I was the first state record in the school history in track and field. But that's not what I proud of, I'm proud of the fact as to where I was raised.
I tell people of the stories of Cocoa Beach and they just say, "sure". Nobody knew that Hulk Hogan worked at the Anchor club, with Don "The Dragon" Wilson and myself. People don't understand that you didn't have to lock your house when you went to work or school. Our police force would correct your behavior, not arrest you.
- Ricky A. McIntosh - 5/17/07
Hey, Great site. The CB surfing histories are wonderful...a bunch of us former CB surfers have been pointing each other to them, thanks for putting 'em up.
I surfed there in the longboard days, my mom was the art teacher Carson refers to. She lived there after I left in 1970, and died the day after the Challenger blew up.
If you're interested, here's a pointer to some tracks I recorded about 60s-70s Cocoa Beach:
Also some references in the blog here:
- later, Robert Edgar - 4/8/07
Cocoa Beach Trivia
We moved to Cocoa Beach in 1965 when I was 13 years old. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
I learned to surf on a beat up board I bought used from a grizzled old fellow with a boat repair shop up in Cape Canaveral.
In those days, Ron Johnson had a small surf shop on south bound A1A in Cocoa Beach, in a small L-shaped plaza of four or five shops, a block or so from Alma's Pizza. The shop was the size of an average living room. He had a couple of dozen boards, a line of RonJon T-shirts, some skate boards, surfin' baggies (swim trunks, dude) and lots of surfboard wax. I bought my first skateboard there for $12. It was a princely sum in those days. Ron was there at the store most days and was his own primary employee. I see RonJon t-shirts all over the country now, even up here in Boston where I now live. I once visted the modern RonJon's at the end of the 520 Causeway and it was impressive, but I think I liked it better the old way.
- Dave Chapple - 4/5/07 - Cocoa Beach High School- Class of '69
Like the others, some of my best memories involve surfing on the Space Coast.
My dad moved to Cape Canaveral in 1963 to work at the Cape. He used to tell stories about the days of sandy roads, undeveloped lots with palms and oaks, and driving on the beach. The Vehicle Assembly Bldg. was under construction at KSC, Our Savior's Church was a small mission parish, and the 528 bridge was newly completed. He told me he was snoozing at the beach in CC when JFK's assassination was announced over the radio. The days of astronaut parades and Apollo moon launches were truly exciting.
I grew up two blocks from the beach, and I really miss it. I remember walking to the beach with neighborhood kids in my early teens. The summer of 1982 comes to mind as we hung out in the in the smallish surf and tried to duck our heads into the tiny tubes of the two foot low tide "swell".
I'm sure some guys remember the Hurricane Hugo swell of 1989, but one day that stands out for me was the smaller but fun waves of Hurricane Gabrielle just a few weeks earlier. One of the best days I remember was in the summer of 1986 with waves waist to chest high and clean and lots of sun. The Scandinavian Seas day-cruise ship was off the coast, and I think the old tethered blimp was still over the port for narcotic surveillance.
One bit of trivia I don't think the younger generation knows about is that the creator of "The Six Million Dollar Man" lived in Cocoa Beach. Martin Caidin, author of "Cyborg", was the creator of the fictional Steve Austin and used the name of Dr. Rudy Wells in the novel with persmission of the Cocoa Beach physician. In 1997, Caidin's ashes were scattered from the air over the Cocoa Beach coastline as he was particularly attached to the Space coast area.
That's my trivia contribution to the site. Enjoyed reading the others.
- Peace and all good, Jim G. - 12/7/06
My grandpa moved to Merritt Island for the space program in the mid sixties. My dad and his brother and four sisters took to Cocoa Beach life easily, most all of which surfed in the local contests.
I was born in 1979 and was surfing steadily by time I was 7, mostly at the pier, or just north by the president's streets, where my grandma (82) still owns a beach front condo and walks the beach every day the weather permits.
I remember the Easter Surfing Festival, spending all day in the sun, surley yeilding skin cancer eventually. Also the all weekend goodness of the NKF surf contests, waiting for my heat longboarding, which seemed to always be when the tide turned and waves crapped out.
I went to Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School in 1997 and was a Brevard County Ocean Lifeguard for 3 years. I too have surfed inside the Jetties, on an overhead day, before the new fishing pier was constructed by the rocks. I have photos of this, as well as some of the great Hurricane swells off the pier, I think some from Bertha, etc.
Does anybody remember the late Benji McRoberts or Tommy McRoberts who frequented the pier in the 70's? I dated thier neice in high school. Anyways- I'd like to use this message to congradulate Kelly on his 7th World Title, and also Damien Hobgood, (who probably doesn't remember me, but I've surfed with you and your brother a few times down at Dunkin Doughnuts in Satellite when we were kids) for winning the Globe Fiji Pro. Good job guys!
I'm away in Jacksonville at UNF for college, but can't wait to get back to Cocoa Beach and eat some Anacapri's pizza or some Taco City dinner and draught beers!
- Adam Brang - 6/10/06
Anyone want to talk old surf story or have original trivia about Cocoa Beach and Brevard County?