For the seventh year in a row the Ron Jon Beach’N Board Fest was held in Cocoa Beach at Shepard Park. The four day event was from March 12th to the 15th. Once again there were good waves for most of the event all the way up to the finals where the high tide made it extremely difficult, making it a must to wait for the sets.
Air Show Winner Florida’s Robbie McCormick boosts one for the onlooking fans. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Day One Thursday saw the best waves, things getting set up in the parking lot and on the beach, with venders, food trucks, and the Billabong wakeboard pool about to be filled with water. Come day two Friday, everything was gone. Posted on their website was this statement: “Out of caution due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, we are eliminating most of the activities.” And so it was, no food or activities at or around the event, just 100% surfing.
Social D ( social distancing ) isn’t just the name of a band, it’s the new abnormal. Even though all the extra activities and food trucks were gone due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the beach was still packed every day with thousand of beach goers during Beach N Boards. Less than two weeks later this kind of gathering is strictly forbidden by county governmental ordinance since our Governor still won’t take his head out of his … oh, sorry, out of the sand ( pun intended) and institute a state wide decree. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Was this a good thing? YES. For the surfing fans it was all about the action in the water. For the Spring Breakers, not as much fun but they still were there in the thousands. The beach was packed each day with temperatures in the mid 80’s and light to offshore winds throughout the contest.
With a 13.60 combination Jabe Swierkocki took the win in the Juniors after a long four days of heats. The 17yr old from Ventura California stated ” he was psyched to win.” Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
The World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, Junior Pro, and Roxy Junior Pro crowned Kai Kobayashi, Jabe Swierkock, and Caitlin Simmers the winners. Kobayashi won the QS Jr Pro in 2019 and took the Men’s Pro this year, while Swierkocki had his first WSL victory in the Junior Pro, and Simmers again this year took the Roxy Junior Pro.
Back to back Roxy Pro Women’s Winner Californian Caitlin Simmers dropped a 8.83 and a 7.00 for a total final score of 15.83 and never looked back. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
There were contestants from the USA, Japan, Norway, Peru, Costa Rica, Martinique, and more than a few other places. The competition was fierce and the best of the best rose to the top. A few East Coast surfers made it to the finals but just could not find the waves they needed for a win. We hope next year the world will be back to normal and the event can move forward. And maybe a few right siders could make it to the victory lane.
With William Hedleston being the competitor who lives the closest to where the event was held may have had a home court advantage. William surfed smart and with his usual flair that took him into the finals and a fourth place finish in the Junior Pro. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
The next two WSL events scheduled Barbados Surf Pro QS 3,000 to run March 17-22 and Jacks Surfboards Pro QS 1,500 to run March 26-29 have been postponed.
Abby Yates. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
This huge sand sculpture greeted beach goers. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
South Florida girl Zoe Benedetto backside snaps her way to a solid fourth place in the finals. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Hagan Johnson Ron Jon Jr Pro. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
This guy walked the walk as a top ASP pro and now can talk the talk with his excellent color commentary and insights from the pro battlefields he surfed all over the world. Shea Lopez along with Phil Jackson kept the crowd informed and on its feet heat after heat for four very long days straight. Somebody from the WSL needs to get Shea-lo on the announcer team. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
One to beat was Costa Rican Jairo Perez. He’s a fierce competitor and you can never count him out. Thursday opened with the biggest surf and each day it went down in size but was very contestable the whole event. First day backside snap. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Up and coming ESA All-Star Camden Hoover and team Coach Jason Motes hashing over a heat. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
Third Place Roxy Pro Finisher Bella Kenworthy from California snaps back. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Jake Chandler Ron Jon Jr Men’s Pro. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
Coronavideo18 who-sie what?? I’ll like mine with a slice of lime. Ignorance is bliss we suppose. And along with it a much higher potential death rate in the Sunshine State. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
Last year’s event Junior Winner came back this time to win the Men’s Pro. Final day action in the shore break. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
The ice cream guy. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
Virginia Beach’s Kaona Wong tosses the fins during the Ron Jon Jr Pro. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
Jersey Girl ESA All-Stars Audrey Iglay and Brynn Gallagher waiting for the green flag. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
With Cocoa Beach’s shallow sandbars offering a lot of options as where to sit, each morning brought a different condition with swell, winds and tides. You had to be on it with your strategy for dealing with this large playing field. First thing Saturday looking good. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Fat Tire isn’t just a great Belgian style beer, it’s a way of life on the hard pack beaches of Cocoa Beach. Photo: Mike Vuocolo @mikesshoreshots
From Vero Beach Florida the under rated and under exposed, Logan Hayes surfed to the 3rd round of 32 but was put out. He later wowed the crowed with his airs during the Tow At Event. This kid is an exceptional talent. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Brevard Florida local Chauncey Robinson surfed in the event and the air show. Day two backside snapping. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
This Cali. kid can surf. Levi Slawson backside hit on day one. Photo: Tom Dugan@tomduganphotos
All the way from Barbados, The Caribbean’s best pro talent ever, Josh Burke had a great run but was put out just short of the final heat. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
A smiling Seamus “Moose” Carey from New Jersey was the poster boy for this year’s Beach ‘N Board Fest. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Sawyer Lindblad along with her brother Tai both placed second in their respective finals. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
It is a long way to Florida from Brazil, but when you’re trying to make the World Tour every event helps. 3rd place Men’s finisher Edgard Groggle made the trip and picked up a few points for his efforts. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Early morning beach tents and scaffolding. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Roxy Junior Pro Winners (R to L, 1st to 4th): Caitlin Simmers, Sawyer Lindblad, Bella Kenworthy, and Zoe Benedetto. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Mens Junior Pro Winners (L to R, 1st to 4th): Jabe Swierkock, Levi Slawson, Blake Speir, and William Hedleston. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500 Men’s Winner Kei Kobayashi and Runner up Tai Lindblad. Photo: Tom Dugan @tomduganphotos
Tags: cocoa beach, competition, ron jon beach n board fest, wsl