TURF: 29th Annual Melbourne Beach Founder’s Day Pineapple Surf Contest; Ocean Avenue, Melbourne Beach, FL; May 7th, 2012.
ENERGY: About as small as it gets without being entirely flat, although the many gathered menehune had a blast in the clean one- to two-foot south windswell. But boy, was it hot this year, with high temps hovering in the low 90s and the weakest of breezes barely providing some relief. “Although the waves were micro,” said contest organizer Curtis Byrd, “the 29th Annual Pineapple Surf Contest was pulled off against all odds.”
FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: As the Pineapple Surf Contest is nearing 30 years of action as a staple of Melbourne Beach, FL’s, annual Founder’s Day celebration, there weren’t many new angles to be found this year. But one big one did come into play: the Sasha Sessions Pro-Am, organized by local legend Glenn Klugel, which gave all the local Brevard County groms a chance to surf against older talent like CT Taylor, Eddie Guilbeau, Marshal Alberga, Trip Freeman, Cheyne Cottrell, and Randy Sanders.
However, this wasn't just another pro division put on for pure shredding purposes. Instead, Klugel and his wife Courtney are in the process of adopting a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Sasha, and Glenn thought the contest would serve as the perfect vehicle to raise awareness. "He's been in an orphanage since he was three and he's 13 now," Klugel said. "My wife and I have been trying to have kids for 15 years, and this whole thing started via CT Taylor and a program called Project One Forty Three that's about hosting orphans for a month or so. But after meeting the kid that CT hosted, who lives at the same orphanage as Sasha, we knew we weren't going to host Sasha and then send him back. So we decided to fully adopt him, which costs $18,000-20,000. We've done all kinds of things to raise money — T-shirts, cookbooks that my wife created — so when Curtis called and asked me about helping out with Founder's Day, Sasha Sessions came to mind right away. Hopefully next year Sasha will even want to enter the contest." That's definitely a pro division back story we haven't heard before.
SLIDE: Rising Melbourne star Corey Howell held off all those bigger names to win the Pro-Am final, though, downing Alberga, Taylor, and Vero Beach grom Tommy Coleman for the win. Beyond that, this year’s Pineapple Surf Contest was all about the kids, with Coleman winning Menehunes and finishing 2nd in Boys to Chauncey Robinson, while brother act Kieran and Fisher Grant dominated Men’s and Junior Men’s, respectively, with Fisher adding a win in Longboard for good measure.
And don’t discount second-generation talent like Blake Speir and Sebastian Carver who are making their well-known South Brevard dads proud. Speaking of the old guys, they did get their due in Masters, Seniors, and Super Seniors divisions, with Randy Sanders winning the first two and Charlie Paxton emerging victorious in the latter. And Lea Taylor couldn’t be stopped, topping both the Girls and Women’s draws.
THE PAIN: None whatsoever, other than everyone getting hot and bothered in Florida’s early summer conditions.
THE MAN: This one’s a two-sided collective decision — first, the groms earned some much deserved due. “It’s fun to see the new little rippers really start to show their stuff,” Curtis Byrd said. “They’re definitely the wave of the future.” Second, all the volunteers who made this contest happen got some major props from Byrd. “This contest would not happen without the great volunteer support of people like Glenn Klugel, Skye Robinson, Gordon Lawson, Mike Grant, Matt Conneen, Jorge V, Jeff Bell, Warrick, Barry Pasonski, Randy Sanders, Jimmy, Dusty, Ariel, George Robinson, Henry Edwards, and many more,” Byrd said. “Our sponsors were also very generous again this year. Steven G. Casanova, P.A. graciously gave back to the community through his donation to the contest — Steve was one of the founding members of the Melbourne Beach Surf Club back in the ‘80s.”
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 29th ANNUAL DAY MELBOURNE BEACH FOUNDER’S DAY PINEAPPLE SURF CONTEST:
MENS SASHA SESSIONS PRO-AM
WOMENS SASHA SESSIONS PRO-AM