2020 NKF Rich Salick Pro Contest Wrap-Up And Tom Dugan Photo Gallery!

November 3, 2020 • Competition, East Coast Contests

Photos, story and captions by Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos on Instagram

The 35th Annual National Kidney Foundation Rich Salick Pro-AM Surf Festival was held October 10th-12th in Cocoa Beach at the Cocoa Beach Pier.  225 surfers registered to surf in many divisions with the Men’s, Jr. Men’s and Women’s Pro Divisions being the highlights of the contest.

Men’s Pro Longboard winner Stevie McClean hangs a clean five on one of the better set waves on Sunday. With each day the surf went down in size but running a three day event on the East Coast is always a gamble. For longboarders at Cocoa Beach Pier you couldn’t ask for more. Did we mention it was straight offshore winds all day on Sunday too? PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

The waves varied each day starting Saturday with chunky 3 to 4 ft waves.  Sunday was 2 to 3 ft with southwest winds giving the waves some clean faces and sections.  Monday was a foot to maybe two foot with straight offshore winds all day.  The three days did not see the best waves the event has had or the biggest, but once again they did remain contestable all three days.

Tommy Coleman was surfing at a pace that was hard to beat. With a few lefts off the pier Tommy unleashed turns like this one to take 1st place in the Men’s Pro. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Originally set for Labor Day Weekend, the festival was postponed due to Covid-19 concerns.  City officials finally gave the go ahead three weeks prior to Columbus Day Weekend with precautions being taken for the surfers and spectators safety.The big winners at the event were the hundreds of beachgoers out to enjoy the sun and sand with the only problems being the good old Florida rain storms.

Finals day October 12, 2020. Water 80° and air just shy of 90.° Perfect beach day at The Cocoa Beach Pier. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Saturday was off and on rain all day and Sunday saw storms at the end of the last heats for the day at around two p.m. Sunday was clear and sunny giving everyone a day of great weather, great finals, and great surfing.  All through the event the caliber of surfing was very high with the Pro fields showing the most talent.  When you have Ryan Huckabee, William Hedleston, Blake Speir, Corey Howell, and eventual winner Tommy Coleman out surfing you’re going to see some shredding no matter what size waves you have.

Cocoa Beach born and bread William Hedleston just missed out on the finals in the Men’s Pro by .04 of a point. He did win the Jr. Men’s Pro and head judge Eddie Guilbeau stated : “He knows and has what it takes to win and it’s showing.” PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos


The Women’s Pro and Men’s Longboard Pro saw some great back and forth leads in different heats but past winners Maddie Franz and Stevie McClean came out on top again this year.  Newcomer Niyah Rosen from New Smyrna Beach took the hour ride south to take the win in the Women’s Pro.  Her performance showed that this victory won’t be her last . Her dad, longtime shaper Erie Pepples supplied Niyah her surfboards and was her support on the beach that took her all the way to win. The 35th NKF  is in the books and the results are in.  Great event as always and thanks to the staff and volunteers for making this contest and weekend a great time.

For the third year in a row Maddie Franz has taken home the first place trophy in Women’s Longboard. Still going strong. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

2020 NKF / Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival Results:
Men’s Pro
1- Tommy Coleman
2- Corey Howell
3- Blake Speir
4- Ryan Huckabee

The Men’s Pro final is always the highlight of any event. Corey Howell was also on a roll and matched Tommy Coleman wave by wave and turn by turn but in the final tally he came up short by just .54 and ended up in 2nd place. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Women’s Pro
1- Niyah Rosen
2- Abbie Yates
3- Kylie Pulcini
4- Coral Schuster

Abbie Yates surfed her way to a 2nd in the Women’s Pro. Between two fans. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Men’s Jr. Pro
1- William Hedleston
2- Ryan Huckabee
3- Logan Radd
4- Dylan O’hallaron

Local Logan Radd surfed his way to a 3rd in the Jr. Men’s Pro. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Men’s Longboard Pro
1- Steven McClean
2- Sam Duggan
3- Dylan Andrews
4- Gavin Idone

There were a few small waves the final day that gave the longboarders something to work with. Sam Duggan on a clean one cruising into 2nd place in the Men’s. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Women’s Longboard Pro
1- Maddie Franz
2- Kaylin Weinrich
3- Kenzie Broughton
4- Fiona Sargente

Best friends but fierce competitors. Tommy Coleman and Blake Speir waiting out the sets on Monday during the finals with The Cocoa Beach Pier behind them. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Having won events at the pier before, Coral Schuster is always one to watch. Even though the final day saw only small waves, Coral worked each wave the best she could and earned a 4th in the Women’s Pro. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Missing out of a finals berth did not stop Logan Hofstetter from ripping a few of the small waves. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

The first day of the three day event saw the biggest waves with a few four footers thrown in. Tyler Helock found a nice one near the pier in the Jr. Men’s Division. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Local photographer Chorthip Cousins lined up the Women’s Pro Finalists for a quick shot under the pier before the finals. ( L-R ) Niyah Rosen, Abbie Yates and Kylie Pulcini. Photo Bomb : DUGAN @tomduganphotos

Brock Vergara bangs one near the pier in the Boy’s U12 Division. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Since the 1960’s halcyon days of East Coast Surfing Hall Of Famer’s Dick Catri, Gary Propper, Mike Tabeling Claudie Codgen, Bruce Valluzzi and Co., longboards have never gone out of style at the petri dish of East Coast surfing culture called Cocoa Beach Pier. PHOTO: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

And the longboarding culture is more than alive, well and still thriving with generation next. Local Gavin Idone is making a name for himself as an impressive classic longboarder. Here he hangs a clean backside five to a 4th place in the Men’s Longboard Finals. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Niyah Rosen drove down from New Smyrna and rode home with new hardware to put on the mantle. PHOTO: Niyah Rosen / Facebook

Blake Speir has surfed the pier a million times and can find the waves needed to advance. but with the small waves on the final day, a third place in the Men’s Pro was the trophy he took home. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

Grand Legends competitor Gerard Dillon heads for the tourist playing on the inside shore break. PHOTO : Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos

William Hedleston holding his first place trophy from local artist Cris Woloszak from Merritt Island, FL Cris has been making the NKF trophies for years. Nice work the both of you. PHOTO : Brett Hedleston

see ya’ next year!