Cocoa Beach Surf Trivia Page 9

Surf Trivia/Cocoa Beach trivia

I was wondering if anyone there remembers the old “Johnny's pool/billiard parlor” near the corner of 520 and A1A. The owner was an old gentleman named Johnny Culbreath I think. He was a great old guy who owned and ran that 1 room pool hall for years. I remember that Matthew “Salem” Burke was the local hustler there. I played pool in there from 1968 thru 1971. Thanks. Just curious if anyone knows how long old Johnny lasted.

- Dave Phillips

Surf Trivia

I moved to Fl in 63. Immediately became fascinated with surfing. I lived in Cocoa at first. My friend & I stole 2 sheets of plywood and a 2x4 from a house under construction , we put the 2x4 between the plywood and shaped a board, nailed the edges and caulked them, then made a skeg. went to the beach an tried surfing, failed. Shortly after, my brothers friend died in a car accident, his mother gave my brother his pop out, I wound up with that. And off I went, it had a skeg, not a fin. It hummed when I turned, therefore my board was called the hummer. I was was called Goober.
My neighbor was Tommy McRoberts, we and our crowd surfed every chance we could. In our time a crowd at the pier was 30 people on a very good day. That would include Catri, Propper, Valuzzi. Tabling, the McRoberts, Guy and Tommy, Claudie and many others. My pop out was heavy, it would get you in trouble faster than it could get you out. We didn't have leashes then, they were for sissies (so we thought). I remember getting out by the pier on a hurricane swell, going out beyond the pier. There were 2 things you were obligated to do with a big heavy board, either hang on or let go. I got caught on an outside swell, got dumped trying to beat it out, got pushed under with my board hanging on for dear life. Lost the board. The next important thing at that time was to, in that condition, wait for your board to come down! Meaning, if you came up too soon, your board was coming down on top of you. I waited and waited until I had to come up, I came up with my arm over my head expecting, but not really believing my board was still air borne. It was, it came straight down and smashed into my arm and head. Good news was it was right there, just in time for the me to jump on and take the oncoming white water in for a break.

- Gregg Keyes

A Message to Ricky A. McIntosh who wrote in on 5/17/07

Ricky, could not resist reaching out to you and those who read this site …after reading your memory-clip. I remember the Hulk, the bouncer at the Anchor Club – who doubled as a bass guitar player – as I was a young undercover cop. The Hulk complained about the unscrupulous persons who hung out across the street who occasionally disturbed the Anchor Club patrons. This was an old motel – now gone, but the name escapes me - referred to as the ‘shooting gallery’ for its drug trafficking crowd. Hulk was a staunch supporter of the law enforcement and easily was successful in keeping those undesirables out of the club. That guitar looked like a tooth pick with strings. Five or six years ago, I had an occasion to re visit the area and patronize the club there now and mentioned Hulk’s stint there to the owner, and to my surprise, he had not known of this beach trivia, guess the years and generations gone by eroded and escaped the memories. Anyway, just a tidbit from my memory of Cocoa Beach of long ago.

- Good Luck, Bernie Palisi


Well it appears that the majority of writers are a tad older than me. I moved into Cape Canaveral sometime in 1964 and left Dec. 1967. I was 15 during the summer of '67. I don't have a lot of memories during that period. I worked at the Moon Hut washing dishes. Did attend Cocoa Beach High. Don't remember any big weather events. I wasn't into the surfing scene although my cousin Richard Hayes was and probably part of your group. I have often told people that I saw the Yardbirds in a tent while living there and they just laugh. I really had no way to prove it. As I remember, their travel bus was parked right next the tent and during a break they were out and about the bus and I'm pretty sure they were ...anyway just some good memories.
"Other fond memories of those days were the Yardbirds concert in a tent on the beach at Fisher Park. It cost a buck to get in and I remember standing about 2 feet from Jimmy Page as he let it rip." (quote by Dave Philips)

- Steve Maglidt - Annapolis Maryland - 1/27/12

Cocoa Beach Trivia

Clark Merritt - PAFB, North Wherry 1959-1965. (9-15 years old)
Lived behind O'Club, surfed Picnic tables -> Patrick Pier. My dad was stationed at the Cape. My first board was a James & O'Hare earned by bagging groceries at the Base Commissary.
Went to Cocoa Beach 1st Baptist church. The Air Force Flight Surgeon, Col. Starnes lived in the first couple of houses on the beach at the north end of PAFB. I had to borrow his daughter's surfboard until mine was done. A guy I went to PAFB elementary school with's dad - Col. Thompson was a part of the REAL 8 - treasure hunters who found the galleons south of Sebastian Inlet. We had amazing Friday "Show & Tell" with his son bringing in coins, swords, helmets etc. from the find.
Survived Hurricane Dora - I was separated from my parents. Did manage to deliver the Orlando Sentinel during part of the storms.
Was very afraid when they locked down PAFB during the Cuban Missile Crisis. There were tanks & troops camped across the street from our house.
In the Summer of 1965 I worked in the hotdog stand on the beach behind the Pancake House. Betsy Twombly was my boss. She was a couple of years older than I, drop dead gorgeous & East coast surfing champion. I was in love. That stand was a major hangout with the who's who hanging around. Would like to thank the guy who came up to the counter with the first Byrd's album. He was raving about it. After work I bought it & my life changed after that - been a Byrd's fan ever since.
By far, my time in Cocoa Beach was the highlight of my life.

- Clark - 1/2/12

Cocoa Beach Trivia

Surf name Slurp aka Jeff Rose from Charlie the Tuna. We used to call him aka Poo Poo Man because he created the title. Remember people. Still alive and looking to take seniors at Canaveral Pier. I used to chase Matt Kechele off my wave. Still alive and well. Big shot tried to call you and no response. 727-712-7366. Remember Brassy's 5 drink and drowned.
Wow googled Charlie and found this, very happy. Lots of memories. Have lots of pictures.
To Matt and your family as in your crazy brother hope everything is good.

- Jeff - 12/1/11

Cocoa Beach Trivia

Nothing of any great importance, but I remember several years prior to when you were talking about. I was a summer lifeguard at the motel (Starlight?) after it had burned down – mostly. It ended up being adjacent to the Holiday Inn that was just being built. One wing, an office, the pool, cabanas around the pool and between the pool and the beach were still left. Since we had very few guests, those few (other than guests) could have access to the pool for the large sum of .50 cents. I rented one of the cabanas closer to the beach to Jack Murphy (Murph the Surf) and allowed a young man about 14-15 years old to use the pool whenever he wanted in exchange for him doing any occasional clean-up around the pool (his idea). He sometimes drew these weird cartoons. This ”young man” was Garry Proper – who moved a few years later to California and started “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. What a wonderful place and time to grow up. I never have “grown-up”. I still run about 40 miles per week, work 6 days per week, mountain bike, kayak, sail, and occasionally hike canyons in southern Utah. 127 Hours was filmed at one of my favorite canyons. Anything to keep moving and create challenges. One of the “spices of life”.

You may remember me from working at the Brevard Music and Art Store (later moving to Byrd Plaza as Voss Music and Art Store). They were special times, people and places for me then as I realize they were for you and your friends. Isn’t it great to have so many fun memories?!

- Rod Voss - 6/30/11

Cocoa Beach Trivia

I lived in Cocoa Beach in '73 and '74.
I remember the buffet lunch at Caron’s Hotel, it kept us alive. Mayor Lee Caron actually held court there every day. I can only imagine what deals were cut two tables away. Lee was always cool and thanked us for our business even if we were long haired surfers. Great businessman.

We partied at Satellite Hotel and especially Eloise’s Beach Bar, the chicks were there for the taking.
Bernard’s would always give a free drink if you were there during a launch. Go watch and return with an upside down shot glass next to your drink!

Got busted at George’s for “defrauding an innkeeper”, eating and trying to skate on the bill!!
I remember the bars would have dime beer nights, lady’s night it seemed like a different one at a different place every night.

Surfed the pier, 1st and 2nd lights with Crawford and DCB. I remember Jeff telling us all about his greeting when he got to Hawaii... a can of dog food thrown at his face. Surfed Patrick Pier and the reef at Lum’s, Monster Hole and many more spots that at my age I can’t remember any more!!.
Got laid in that make shift tee-pee at Spanish House, I remember that.

I’ve only just scratched the surface of how much fun we had, especially at Spring Break when they all came down!!!!

- Pips Hopkins, San Diego, Ca. - 1/3/11

Memories of E. Gadsden Lane

I'm not a surfer, though my son is an avid one in California (he even surfed in England while he lived there for two years). My dad, however, lived on E. Gadsden Lane with his wife, Evelyn. His name was Bill Nelson (not the senator!) and Evelyn's two kids, Mike and Sheri, lived there, too. They were there from about 1961-1970. My younger sister and I visited him probably only three times while he lived there, but the area left such wonderful memories for me, despite the fact we always went down in the summer, the hottest time of the year. I think his house was only the second or third one from A1A, and walking that short distance to cross the little causeway to the open beach and ocean was amazing to me. I loved the smell of the water and even that of the occasional rotting seaweed. I can relate to the sadness of hearing that condos had taken over the waterfront. I guess we were smug to think the sand that stretched on forever "belonged" to us and would be there undisturbed for the public forever.
I'm so grateful that I was there at a simpler time.

I also remember the small shack that was Ron Jon's, and the pictures on the wall. I'm sure that the one of the big Kahuna that was there is the same one in the now Vegas-like store.

Another memory is that of, believe it or not, the 7-Eleven. We had never seen a convenience store before, and it was a big deal to walk to it. At least, I think it was within walking distance.

My Dad was a Coast Guard Auxiliary Commander, so we had the privilege of viewing the roll-out from the VAB of a Saturn 5 rocket, before the moon landing. And, yes, we were down there to watch the grainy images when Armstrong took his first steps on the moon. We had missed the liftoff, though. Dad also owned a marina at the time and took us out on his houseboat, the Aquarius. So many special memories of a past era in Cocoa Beach.

- Betty Nelson Mermelstein - 12/9/10

Cocoa Beach Trivia

I’m doing research for UCF and History museum on surfing Cocoa Beach. Any help would be appreciated.

- Dennis Bennett 321-626-0364 - 9/18/10

Cocoa Beach Trivia

I was talking to Ken Babington, Pastor First Baptist Church Cocoa Beach. He told me about a parade to honor the astronauts beginning at the church parking lot. Does anyone know if J.F.K. was in that parade or an earlier one?

- Alan Bergman, First Baptist Church, Cocoa Beach Fla. - 9/6/10

Cocoa Beach Trivia

I stumbled on this site looking for a picture of The Moon Hut from the 60s/70s.
My parents both worked for the Hilton and stayed on when the Freedom Center bought the hotel. We lived in Cape Canaveral right across from Cape View Elementary. Since my parents worked at the hotel, we “had to” dress up and meet the astronauts, Liberace and the Chinese Ping Pong Team. (Most people think the Chinese Ping Pong team was something made up in Forrest Gump.)
I used to hang out in the kitchen and help make cookies and deserts for the guests and watch the launches standing on the roof of the convention center.

After school and every day during the summer we were on the beach. One time we caught the trees on fire trying to cook hot dogs. Fortunately an off duty fire fighter was watching and put the fire out. He took us home and told our parents. I was grounded for a month. Today they would charge us with arson.

I remember when Ron Jon’s was in the strip mall, The Moon Hut, Krystal Burgers and standing on the jetty watching for sharks while my friends surfed. On Sunday we went to the port for lunch at Captain Ed’s. I loved the tug boats and watching for subs. I was friends with Lee Caron’s grandson and I’ll never forget his birthday at the Carnival Club.

We used to have to drive to Winter Park to go to the mall and then they built Merritt Square Mall. It was truly a beautiful thing.

I wish my kids could have grown up in a time and place that was so special.

- Angela (Free) Schimenek - 2/5/10

More Stories From Way Back When...

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Anyone want to talk old surf story or have original trivia about Cocoa Beach and Brevard County?
and let all these new kids know what it was REALLY like pre-internet days. Peace. BH2