The Space Coast hosted a World Surf League sanctioned event this week at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida. Florida Pro Surf was the event promoter and they did an excellent job putting on this competition. The event was for everyone, children, teens, young adults, parents, and grandparents…the family-friendly environment complete with exciting action and, extreme maneuvers. Once the leg leash is attached it’s Game On, otherwise the surfers talked with friends and fans, signed autographs and posed for photos and selfies.
The event consisted of Five (5) Rounds plus Quarterfinals, Semifinals and then the Finals.
Many locals (Florida) were amongst the competitors from Orlando, Jacksonville and New Smyrna Beach, as mentioned above. In addition to the locals, competitors came in from nineteen (19) countries; Australia, Argentina, Germany, Barbados, Peru, Ecuador, France, South Africa, Hawaii (considered a different country in surfing parlance!!), Puerto Rico, Portugal, Japan, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Chile, Spain, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Canada, and Brazil. As many know Kelly Slater, 11 Time World Champion, is from Cocoa Beach, Florida learning how to surf in the plethora of conditions the Atlantic Ocean delivers to the break on the central east coast.
The Champion in the Florida Pro Men’s was Evan Geiselman of New Smyrna Beach, Florida and the Ron Jon Pro Women’s Champion, was Caroline Marks of Melbourne Beach, Florida. Both Sponsored by Sunshine State Florida Lager. The points awarded to the winner were 1,500 and 6,000 respectively and Caroline Marks received a check for $11,000 for her win, one of the largest surfing purses for a Qualifying Event ever.
A small note…..Caroline Marks is only fifteen (15) years old and will be the youngest ever to compete on the WSL Championship Tour, for both men and women, EVER! FIFTEEN! She is still considered a Grom, imagine that. The years don’t define this Champion, she’s talented, articulate, friendly, humble and just plain down to earth. Soon she will be traveling to Australia to begin her first tour with the Women’s World Surf League.
The 2018 World Surf League tour starts in Queensland, Australia. The men’s event is the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and the women’s event is the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, both scheduled March 11-22, 2018. You can watch live online at World Surf League , the broadcasts are excellent, you will enjoy listening to the wave by wave action while learning a great deal about surfing.
One day surfing may become mainstream, although the community has been reluctant to go that route however with social media it’s becoming more of an expectation of today’s competitors and sponsors. Prime-time viewing may happen with the development of the Wave Pool concept (Kelly Slater is a developer). With a few more key locations and events loaded up with professional WSL competitors, it may well move into prime time, at least during the off-season. Weather is the key component to consider during the events, hence the long duration of each event. Swell and waves are the major driving factors in a surfing competition and are quite unpredictable.
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