The Best Day Ever: The Florida Board Riders Florida Cup
Words by Barry Pasonski/ ShredAlert.Com
Photos by Tom Dugan and Asher Nolan
It truly was the best day ever in the short history of the Florida Board Riders. On Saturday March 20, 2022 the Florida Board Riders ran their Championship Event, for our second season at New Smyrna Beach, FL . This was to decide who was going to the National Board Riders Championships to be held April 23 at the worlds most famous performance wave, Lower Trestles at San Onofre State Park in San Clemente, California. The Florida Cup was comprised of the top four teams overall in the board rider events from the season and the teams included New Smynra Beach, Jachsonville Beach, Daytona Beach and the Space Coast which is the entire Brevard County Coast. The waves were a little wishy-washy at the start of the day with a Southeast swell and South winds, The tide was also coming up fast which means that the beach would be impassable at dead high tide. Volusia County is one of the only places in Florida that you can drive a car along sea shore on the salty Atlantic Ocean. This place wrecks cars.
Volusia County, Florida is home to many great surf breaks which includes the iconic New Smyrna Beach Jetty surf break. New Smyrna is a magical area and the waves are consistently good there and so is the abundance of sea life and especially sharks! This contest we saw more Spinner Sharks twisting out of the water not too far outside the surf break than ever. The shallow low tide shoals further outside of the Smyrna Break is appropriately called “Shark Shallows” and the local hospital that treats the numerous non-lethal shark bites is coincidently named Bert Fish Hospital.
The Florida Cup is unique team format that creates dramatic moments during the one hour heat. What other surf contest have you been to that has a referee? A real referee with a whistle and ref shirt to make sure they tag up properly and are in at the close of the heat. Our referee is a wildly charismatic, Jarren Cooper, who goes by the handle of “The officer of Stoke.” He’s an officer in The Coast Guard out of Mayport and is just that — Stoked! There are seven divisions which are: Open Women’s, 14 & under, 15-19, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
The contest begins with the 15-19 Division in side shore drifty conditions. It was hard to stay in the competition area because of the strong drift flowing to the North. Blake Speir from the Space Coast came out swinging with a multi turn ride with big turns earning him 7.0 pts out of 10. Braden Kopek from Daytona had a really strong ride in the tough conditions earning him a 4.5 in the one-hour heat. Interestingly enough, the Jacksonville Club didn’t catch many waves in the first heat with some of their guys only catching one wave and coming in to tag up with the next surfer in line hoping for better luck. Surfing is all about having a relationship with the ocean especially when the conditions are tough. The 4th Jacksonville surfer had less then 6 minutes to paddle out and caught one wave.
The Boys Under 14 heat Starts off with Sebastian Peters (Space Coast) getting a really great wave with two strong turns in the critical section of the wave and scoring a 7.0. Luis Hultgren (NSB) Gets a super steep floater on a wave well over the young man’s head and landing this unbelievable maneuver to get a 6.0. Ethan Harbison (also NSB) caught probably the biggest wave in this heat. He performed a well-timed backside smash followed by a wrapping re-entry with a vertical hit.
The over 50’s division is always super entertaining. There are so many legends that still surf so good and still take surfing seriously. Good seeing Scott Brill (Daytona) in a jersey again. By time our third heat began the tide started filling in and the wind started clocking around more offshore. A lot of good waves went unridden because of all the wind and drift. David Spier (Space Coast) caught this one bomb on his backhand and did this carving hook in the “button” of the wave that was so critical and clean it was really beautiful to see. He then so stylishly weaved and carved turns all the way in and had a vertical finish. He raised his arms for the “Double Wammy” ride and got the 18.5 pts for his club. He still has it! Kent Comparye (Space Coast) got a good one and got a 6.5. Marco Barba (Jax) caught the first wave of this heat and did 5 sweet turns on his backside all the way thru the contest area to score a 7.0. Scott Bouchard also got a really good right on his backhand an got a 6.5.
The 20’s was nothing short of exceptional. Evan Geiselman (NSB) after a stellar performance at the WSL Beach and Boards Fest in Cocoa Beach the previous weekend got a really good one on his backhand and “Double Whammied” an 8.25. Chauncey Robinson (Space Coast) the winner of last year’s WSL Barbados event got a really searing right on his fore hand with a vertical check turn on the outside followed by a super critical and fast whip in the mid-break to “Double Whammy” an 8.0. Looks like he’s ready to defend his title at the end of this month again. Noah Schwiezer (NSB) had a really good heat here at his home break too. He scored a 7.0 and a 6.8.
The Open Women’s division saw the return of Lisa Anderson, the 4 time world champ, was on point and got a really steep right and went straight up into the lip and banged out a 5 for a single maneuver in the windy conditions. Daya McCart (Space Coast) had a good flowing right with 3 swift hits to get a 6.5. Kylie Pulcini (Space Coast) had a good right with a couple of nice hits to get a low 6. Eva Woodling steadily whittled away at the rapidly deteriorating conditions to get two strong 4’s. Also noteworthy in the Open Women’s Heat was Lindsay Baldwin (NSB), daughter of the super famous Realtor and former surf shop owner “Inlet Charley” Baldwin got a 6.0 for 3 fast slashes on a zipper of a right.
In the 40’s division, the offshore winds were really gusting hard and the tide was draining out low really fast. There were waves but it was really getting tough out there. Shark Shallows was breaking outside like 600 yards offshore and it was choppy from the offshore winds out there too. Asher Nolan (Jax) caught a really good wave on his backhand. He took off on this steep and zippy right and banged a searing slash out the back and then went even more vertical on this second slash and kinda got stuck. It came in at a straight 7.0. CJ Hobgood (Space Coast) former WSL Men’s World Champion caught the best barrel ride of the contest on a steep zippy left. He took off against the offshore winds and pulled it up in the tube, came out and did 2 nice slashes to finish the wave. Also former World Tour surfer, Shea Lopez (Daytona), got a really nice left and did a big slash while tweeking the tail in the lip to get a score in the high 5’s. At this point the Space Coast was more that 30 points in the lead over the field. Second place and the other “Golden Ticket” to the National Board Rider Championship was pretty tight between Jacksonville and New Smyrna. This last heat Jacksonville really needed to make some groumd.
The 30’s began in heavy gusting offshore winds and super low tide. The scaffolding was shaking with every strong gust. Cody Thompson (Jax Bch) found this wave out front of the judging tower and did this giant wrapping slash and then hit the gas pedal through the mid break. He raced all the way through the contest area and then did another huge slash on the oncoming close out. This scored in the 8’s. Wayne ” The Silver Hampster” Satterwhite got a great wave after that and found a nice right that opened up in the mid break. He did a big slash on the outside and surfed all the way in with a strong finish. Things were looking up for Jax Bch. The problem is that New Smyrna would have to choke and not get any significant scores. This was all good until Jeremy Johnston (NSB) got a really zippy wall and did multiple carves and slashes all the way to the inside and got an 8.5. His brother Caleb Johnston (NSB) got good scores at the beginning of the heat too. Jeremy’s last wave was bad news for the Jacksonville Club. Finally the heat ends and it is New Smyrna taking the second spot in the contest and qualified to be in the USA National Board Rider Championship.
This was a great event. Probably one of the most passionate events that happened in a long time. We saw the return of Lisa Andersen, Scott Brill, CJ Hobgood, and former WSL Tour Judge Dylan Fein. We probably saw more Spinner Sharks at a contest than ever, and we didn’t see any completed big airs. Not many tube rides either. What we did see was a lot of good and excellent surfing. We saw a lot of camaraderie within and amongst the Clubs. We even saw some pretty passionate emotions the other way too. All in all it was a great day. It was really windy and we being surfers will always find a way to make the best of it. This was the best day ever for the Florida Board Riders!
The National Championships will be held April 23, 2022 at Lower Trestles at San Onofre State Park in San Clemete, California. Good Luck to the Space Coast and New Smyrna in the National Champs. For more info on how you can join or sponsor a club, or the entire season go to FloridaBoardRiders.com Check out the ShredAlert.com online store for board socks, stickers shirts, shorts, hats and beanies.
Final Results For The 2022 Season :
1) Space Coast Board Riders Club 171.1
2) New Smyrna Board Riders Club 168.8
3) Jacksonville Board Riders Club 154.9
4) Daytona Bch Board Riders Club 101.25