Cocoa Beach Trivia
Wow, I saw that insert from Tony Graham. I remember taking Tony Graham and Greg Taylor to Sebastian Inlet when they were just beginning to surf. I took Greg and his brother George surfing the first time they ever went – I told them, you gotta get into this… They sure did! The first time I saw Greg on a surfboard I was totally amazed at his balance. I would have been surprised if he DIDN’T go places… The first time I took George surfing I made him squeeze into this wetsuit that was way too small! Ha!
I used to hang around the pier a lot in those days too and with such people as Dean Roberts, Danny Lee, Phil Solomon, Jeff Kluegel, Jeff Haney, Bill Kowalik, Mark Greenwood, Charlie Abling, Mark Whitaker, and the list goes on and on…
Wow! The time and the memories associated with the pier (my band even played there once), second light, picnic tables… Good memories and good vibes!
Oh, and I almost forgot to add – One night my good friend Jack Pettit drove his car off the pier. It sat there in the sand and rusted for quite a while. Does anyone remember that?
- Matt Mahan - 12/11/08
Cocoa Beach - 60's
Thanks for the site and memory space.
We moved to Cape Canaveral in 1960, the first wave of engineers. I grew up on Esther Drive, a funky little street that had an extension pumped up from the river.
The Holiday Inn across the street was HQ for astronaut activities. I jumped the rope at a ceremony for John Glenn, and swiped my finger across a full scale of Mercury capsule chocolate cake. I still see the chef racing toward me with his hat flapping.
1964 must have been the biggest year for surfing. In addition to the pier opening, the Propper family moved up from Miami.
The images: fantastic logos for surfboards Hawaii, Bing, Con, east coast west, O'Hare. The "radical" new Dewey Weber performers, square skeg era.
Other places: Edwards Field, Surfside Playhouse, Teen Town. A given night could have pirates from Peter Pan (Craig Nichols) mingling with the babes at TT during intermission.
People now may have trouble envisioning cars driving and parked along the water from the 520 to what is now Minuteman causeway. We had a 56 Chevy Bel Air that got swallowed up by the tides, and soon a rust hole in the back seat floor. From then on we were the "Flintstones". Residents today should know it was the cutting of the channel at Jetties thanks to the Army corp. of engineers that changed the flow of tides and sand down from the Cape. The beach was much, much wider in the 60's, and it seems there has to be replenishment, from my last visit.
Other messages bring recollections:
All the messages together form an idea why Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach were so special - since there are thousands of small beach towns on both coasts. These recollections all have one thing in common, how we all seemed to know how lucky we were to be living on this strip of land, and unique little world. Every few months the world would invade for a manned launch.
I am in the process of assembling any remnants from this period. Please contact me if you have photos, memorabilia, junk from this place and time.
- Richard Frezza - email@example.com -7/19/07
the good ol days
I am so stoked that I found this site. Great trip down memory lane.
My best friend at that time, and still a life long friend was Matt Kechele. (I was the best man at his wedding years later). Matt and his brother Mark were making home made surfboards, much to his dads chagrin, in the house garage. It was a tight fit, because both Mark and Matts dad were VW freaks and always seemed to have two or three in various stages of repair.
Matt's world was nothing but surfing. We were in the water every day, all day. No matter what the conditions, we were there. Our spot was the Islander Hut. At the end of third street north. We both lived in that area, so it was a short walk. Just up the road at 4th street was the home spot to Sam and George Drazich, two great surfers, still to this day. Chuck Woffard, Jim Broughten, Alden Pitard and Chris Leanard also started at that break, and don't forget Barry Wolfe, and his sister Sharon, one of the hottest female surfers from the area. Of course when there was no surf we hung out at all the local shops. I remember Primo, Little Hawaii, (the owner Bill Volmar had a son Alan, who was a buddy of ours) Surfing World up by 520, and if you ventured south, quite a hike on a schwinn stingray, but we did it, there was Natural Art and Quiet Flight.
Our world really turned around when Rich and Phil Salick, along with Bob Carson opened up a surf shop right across from my house, Carson Salick. We could have died and gone to heaven, we had a local shop to hang out in, and did we ever. Matt was obviously the most talented surfer in the bunch, but quite a few of us started the local Carson Salick team. There was Greg Taylor and Tony Graham from Merritt Island, (Tony and I work together in Orlando to this day) myself, Tom (Troll) Black, Scott Robinson, Sharon Wolfe, Jim Broughton, Alden Pitard, Chris Leanard and the rest of the gang. Rich and Phil became more like fathers to me and really helped me on my way to adulthood. Both attended my wedding in 1997, and I still see them when I return to CB.
Those were the greatest days of my life. I take my 9 year old daughter to CB quite a bit and point out all of my old haunts to her. She gets a good laugh.
I know that everyone says that they knew Kelly Slater back in the day, but Matt and I helped teach him to surf. He used to ride a boogie board and tied the leash to his wrist. His mom worked at the Islander Hut where we all hung out, and my family was good friends with the owner, Scotty and Sherri. Yes, they did have the best fries in town, if you could scrape up 50 cents. You could also get a cold can of Mountain Dew at the corner car wash for 25 cents. Or, you could get a frosted 8 ounce bottle of coke for 10 cents across the street at Cocoa Beach Hardware. That was next to Beach Bait & tackle, the fishing shop owned by Kelly's dad Steve, may he rest in peace. My house was RIGHT across Orlando Ave. from there. Don't forget Bills Subs, The Sausage Hut, Krystal, Gekidis, and of course Taco City. I was a busboy there in '79, and on Wednesday nights they had Nickel Heinekins. A bottle of Heinekin for 5 cents! Wow! Remember Old Fishermans Wharf, The Rivers Edge, the El Capitan, and the Maryland Fried Chicken, right where the roads came together in South CB. Down at the end of that street, by the river, was where the surfboard factories were.
Remember Pizza Joes, across from the glass bank. And A&P grocery, the Cocoa Beach Theatre, Surfside Playhouse where we would wait in line for hours to see a surf flick. That was the highlight of the year. Every surfer in town was there. I remember seeing 5 Summer Stories, and of course Free Ride. You could never hear the dialog because of the hooting and hollering. Matt and I would be the first ones there and sit in the front row. I remember we used to go to the Playhouse on Saturdays and the guy would give us 50 cents to clean up after the movies. We also knew a guy named Joel that owned Backstage, the hair studio. We would pick up cigarette butts from his yard and he would give us free haircuts.
Wow, those were the days. Never again will there be a time and place like that. It was the best place possible to have grown up in, I wish I could take my daughter back to Cocoa Beach, but it will never be the same. I still go back quite a bit, but it is just not the same. Great memories and I enjoyed sharing them with your readers.
An old timer from good Ol Cocoa Beach.
Anyone want to talk old surf story or have original trivia about Cocoa Beach and Brevard County?