Surfing update: Kelly Slater, Caroline Marks and Cocoa Beach High wins again

FLORIDA TODAY Staff Published 2:35 p.m. ET April 14, 2021


Cocoa Beach surfs to NSSA regional high school title

The tradition continues.

For the sixth consecutive time, Cocoa Beach’s surf team won the East Coast Regional High School Championship during a stormy weekend in New Smyrna Beach.

Sparked by individual titles from Logan Radd and Sarah Stotz, Coach Sean Hayes’ team defeated St. Augustine 59-33 to claim the National Scholastic Surfing Association regional title.

“I think we’ve now won this 11 or 12 times since I’ve been (coach),” said Hayes, maintaining a long tradition of surfing stars who have graced the halls of Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High.

Other area champions included Kora Passarelli, who won her first East Coast regional with scores of 7.17 and 6.17 to rule Open Girls.

Radd also won the Open Juniors; Abbie Yates captured top honors in Open Women; and Kylie Pulcini scored a double, winning the Open Super Girls and the Explorer Girls divisions.

Book signing at Florida Surf Museum

Back in the day — well, the ‘60s, at least — surfing made a big impact on the Space Coast.

Author Greg Thomas, who has penned the book “Standing on the Front Porch,” will be at the Florida Surf Museum, just north of Ron Jon’s main store, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, for a signing and meet-and-greet session.

The book, subtitled “A ‘60s Story of Cocoa Beach and Beyond,” showcases the area’s raw talent — guys Thomas hung around with, in school, in Little League and on waves, of course, like Mike Tabeling, Bruce Valuzzi and Gary Propper, who garnered global attention.

“It was a special time,” said Thomas, who spent more than 50 years on Cocoa Beach, watching palmettos and sea oats turn into condos and beachfront homes before moving near the Blue Ridge Mountains In Georgia.

“We would all be friends but it was competitive, too,” Thomas said.  “Me, Mike and Bruce would represent the south side of Cocoa Beach and Gary and Claude Codgen would surf mostly at the Canaveral Pier. In those early days, there weren’t that many surfboards around so you’d have to call someone (who had a board) if you wanted to surf.”

USA Olympian Caroline Marks of Melbourne Beach competes in the Nissan Super Girl Surf  Pro in California.

USA Olympian Caroline Marks of Melbourne Beach competes in the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro in California. (Photo: ASA Entertainment / Pete Santos)

Marks falls short in Olympic clash

Melbourne Beach native Caroline Marks reached the semifinals of the World Surf League’s second stop, in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, where she lost out to Olympic teammate Carissa Moore 17.74-10.17. 

Moore went on to win the contest to take over the top spot in the rankings, while Marks is tied for fifth.

The men’s final was a battle between Brazilian Olympians, with Italo Ferreira defeating Gabriel Medina 14.94-13.27.

Surfing legend Kelly Slater

Surfing legend Kelly Slater (Photo: Bob Edme, AP)

Kelly Slater’s TV time coming this summer

Cocoa Beach surfing legend Kelly Slater, sitting out the Australian leg of the WSL season to recuperate from foot injuries, will be the primary attraction on “The Ultimate Surfer” series, which debuts Monday, Aug. 16 at 10 p.m.

Slater will be the special correspondent, analyzing the talent at the Kelly Slater Wave Co. pool in California and before matching his skills against the top wave pool riders.

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