2017 Easter Pro-Am, Held April 15-16 in Cocoa Beach, FL

April 23, 2017 • East Coast Contests

All words and photos by Tom Dugan — This was the 53rd year that Cocoa Beach hosted a surf contest over the Easter weekend. If you Googled “Easter Surf Fest,” an article from local newspaper Florida Today stated there would be no event this year, with longtime event organizer John Griffin explaining that the costs had gotten too high and the City of Cocoa Beach was not backing the event. So in stepped locals Crystal Cooper of Salty Sweet and Craig Harriman of The Beachside Resident with a new name, the Easter Pro-Am, $6,000 big ones for the pros to split, and nine surfing divisions total.

Even with a new name, the 2017 Easter Pro-Am was a huge success keeping surfing competition in Cocoa Beach, FL, on Easter weekend for the 53rd year in a row. With the old Easter Surf Fest cancelled, the show had to go on, and it did thanks to new organizers Crystal Cooper and Craig Harriman and a smaller, tighter format that did not disappoint the thousands of people enjoying the two-day event. Strong waves and great surfing kept the tradition alive. Photo: Dugan

New people, smaller divisions, and a tightly run contest with three- to four-foot choppy surf for the two-day event ended with all things good. Organizers kept the dog surfing division that was won for the second year in arrow by Surfing Pig, a three-legged dog and crowd favorite. The amateur surfing was contested by Central Florida’s best, but it was the Pro events that really had the spectators on their feet.

Always a crowd favorite, Tommy Coleman was in full force. He surfed the choppy conditions like it was a sheet of glass and wound up getting 2nd in the Men’s Pro and a $300 paycheck for a weekend’s work. Photo: Dugan

The four pro divisions — Men’s and Women’s Pro Longboard and Men’s and Women’s Pro Shortboard — were a hot ticket with some great surfing in very challenging conditions. Winds stayed above the 10-mile-an-hour range with Saturday’s gusts clocking in at at 18 MPH, so it was a bit choppy to say the least. But everyone did their best, divisions were won (full results below), and cash was handed out. Kudos need to go out to Crystal and Craig for keeping the tradition alive — the surf world looks ahead for more years to come of the Easter Pro-Am.

No stranger to the Easter contest even though he was a no-show for a few years now, Tommy O’Brien surfed tack sharp and on point, grabbing a 3rd-place finish and $200. Photo: Dugan

You can’t have Easter without a visit from the Bunny — Mr. Rabbit stopped by and gave out candy to the little ones. Photo: Duce

The Easter Rabbit even stuck around for the helicopter egg drop. Fun for all ages. Photo: Dugan

Panama City Beach, FL’s, Nick Alexander was the weekend’s Pro Men’s winner. Nick said he didn’t even see anyone else surf, didn’t look at them, and just stuck to his plan of surfing. In the end, it paid off for him with the win and a $400 check to take home to the family. Photo: Dugan

FINAL RESULTS OF THE 2017 EASTER PRO-AM:

MENS PRO SHORTBOARD

1. Nick Alexander, $400

2. Tommy Coleman, $300

3. Tommy O’Brien, $200

4. Mason Sapp, $100

Plenty of ripping was seen in all divisions. Here’s Forest Johnson throwing buckets on his way to a 3rd-place in the semis. Photo: Dugan

Forest Johnson gets a congratulatory high five after his heat. Photo: Dugan

WOMENS PRO SHORTBOARD

1. Zoe Benedetto, $400

2. Maddy Malizia, $300

3. Lauren McLean, $200

4. Eva Porter, $100

The big money winner was Steve McLean, who’s won this event before and keeps coming back year after year to up his competitive skills. Taking home a 1st-place in Pro Longboard with a check for $800 made him a happy man. Photo: Dugan

MENS PRO LONGBOARD

1. Steve McLean, $800

2. Patrick Nichols, $600

3. Saxon Wilson, $400

4. Ryan Conklin, $200

WOMENS PRO LONGBOARD

1. Jazmine Dean, $800

2. Maddy Malizia, $600

3. Jasmine Gailey, $400

4. Erica Peek, $200

Surf Pig defended his title from last year by taking down the field in the Surf Dog division, grabbing another 1st this year. Try that with only three legs. Photo: Duce

12 & UNDER PUSH-IN

1. Katie Coleman

2. Emily Coluccio

3. Silas Miller

4. Ella Kalantzis

5. Gwen Freeman

6. Kollin Boyett

The 13-18 division saw some of the most contested heats of the whole event. Here’s Tanner Corbitt on his way to a 5th place in Junior Men’s (along with a 4th-place in 12 & Under). Photo: Dugan

Twin brothers Logan and Gavin Coluccio were in Cocoa Beach to get some trophies. Although his brother was the eventual winner of the 12 & Under division, Logan (shown here) ended up with a nice 2nd-place. Photo: Dugan

12 & UNDER BOYS SHORTBOARD

1. Gavin Collucio

2. Logan Collucio

3. Dylan Seaman

4. Tanner Corbitt

5. Aiden Adams

6. Kyler Coe

The grom divisions are so fun to see and it’s a place to find out who will be the next big thing in the surf world. Here’s Maddie Franz styling a cutback on her way to a 3rd-place showing in the 12 & Under Girls division. Photo: Dugan

12  & UNDER GIRLS SHORTBOARD

1. Abbie Yates

2. Emma Binder

3. Maddie Franz

4. Bree Smith

5. Gracie Brydges

6. Sophia Kalantzis

12 & UNDER GIRLS LONGBOARD

1. Maddie Franz

2. Bree Smith

3. Marley Reid

4. Caroline Noack

5. McKenna Reid

 

The man in the 13-18 Junior Men’s division was Cocoa Beach’s William Hedleston. He surfed heat after heat with one thing on his mind, and that was a win. William got it with moves like this — 1st-place always feels good. Photo: Dugan

13-18 JUNIOR MENS SHORTBOARD

1. William Hedleston

2. Sebastian Nicolini

3. Gavin Seaman

4. Willard Tomlinson

5. Tanner Corbitt

6. Chase Hankins

Local Sebastian Nicolini was so close to a win he could taste it. He surfed every heat with an all-out attack, and although he didn’t win he did manage a very respectable 2nd-place in the 13-18 Junior Men’s Shortboard division. Photo: Dugan

13-18 JUINOR WOMENS SHORTBOARD

1. Sarah Stotz

2. Morgan Morris

3. Amber Olsen

4. Makaya McCutcheon

5. Kaleigh Black

6. Jasmine Almeda

Easter is a time to give thanks and enjoy friends, and these characters here are some of Cocoa Beach’s finest. NKF’s Phil and Phillip Salick, event organizer Crystal Cooper, and Michael Meyer. Photo: Dugan

13-18 JUNIOR WOMENS LONGBOARD

1. Brooke Davis

2. Makaya McCutchen

3. Jasmine Almeda

4. Sarah Stotz

5. Sage Parish

6. Caroline Krueger

19-39 LADIES SHORTBOARD

1. Kialani McCutcheon

2. Nicole Williams

Some wooden eggs for the trophies. Photo: Dugan

19-39 LADIES LONGBOARD

1. Kialani McCutcheon

40 & UP GODDESS LONGBOARD

1. Christine Kyba

19-39 MENS SHORTBOARD

1. Miles Jacovitz

2. Brent Newell

3. Kyle Blanchard

4. Joshua Miller

19-39 MENS LONGBOARD

1. Brent Newell

 

For the older guys, it’s an honor to still be competing after all these years at the Easter event — hell, some are probably as old as the contest. Local Kent Compare put the hammer down and convincingly won the 40 & Up Men’s Shortboard division. Kent stated that he usually  doesn’t do competitions but figured it would be fun. Great job, mate. Photo: Dugan

40 & UP MENS SHORTBOARD

1. Kent Compayre

2. Barry Pasonski

3. Tim Davis

4. Greg Byler

5. Robert Trantham

40 & UP SENIOR MENS LONGBOARD

1. Jimmy Walker

2. Robert Trantham

3. Jeremy Stellhorn

4. David Booko

5. Sandy Beach

6. Daniel Coe

 

You don’t have an Easter Pro-Am without the local Cocoa Beach contingent. A man on a mission was Mason Sapp — how many years he’s been in this contest is anyone’s guess but you can count on him being there next year surfing it out with the best of them. Mason grabbed 4th in Pro Men’s and $100 for his bank account. Photo: Dugan

For first-time organizers Crystal Cooper and Craig Harriman, things could not have gone better. Sure, a little less wind, a major sponsor, and a few more entries would have been nice, but all that will fall into place as the years go by. The fact that a name change was added to this year’s event made it a bit hard to find info on a Google search. But when social media got the word out, there was a sigh of relief heard from diehard lovers of this event and its 53-year Easter tradition. Photo: Duce

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