Florida is not the place that pops into most surfers’ minds when they’re dreaming up ideal places to hit the waves. The action along Florida’s Atlantic coast is either brusque, choppy and unpredictable, or next to nonexistent. Surfing on the Gulf of Mexico is a nonstarter, as there really are no waves to speak of in that gentle swimming pool.
Still, “brusque, choppy, and unpredictable” is better than nothing, and unlike most other surf spots in the country, Florida has warm waters much of the year, so surfers swallow their pride and head out on their boards to conquer the one- and occasionally two-foot waves that crop up along the mid-Atlantic coast.
This part of the state offers some of the best of Florida’s mediocre surfing opportunities, and as a result, something resembling a surf culture has popped up. Its most obvious manifestation is the impossible-to-ignore presence of Ron Jon Surf Shop (4151 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, 321/799-8820, 24 hours).
From its round-the-clock store hours to its ubiquitous presence on billboards along I-95, you’d think that Ron Jon was beckoning you to a surfing paradise; that’s not quite the case, but the gear, clothing, and surf miscellany they sell does actually get used on a regular basis.
And if there wasn’t a demand for their offerings, how likely would it be that a formidable competitor — in the shape of Cocoa Beach Surf Company (4001 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, 321/799-9930, 24 hours) — has managed to not only to survive but to thrive?
The relatively isolated Savannahs Golf Club (3915 Savannahs Tr., Merritt Island, 321/455-1377, www.golfthesavannahs.com) offers a par-72 Gordon Lewis–designed course that takes full advantage of the natural surroundings, with plenty of water hazards and a legendarily tough seventh hole. There’s also a waterfront driving range, a practice range, and a putting green.
Boating and Fishing
Red Zone Charters (1 A. Max Brewer Memorial Pkwy., Titusville, 321/302-9606, www.redzonecharters.com) runs a flats boat that’s perfect for the shallow waters along Mosquito Lagoon. The small boat can only accommodate two passengers, but their knowledge of the waters means a productive fishing day will almost certainly be had by both of you. Bait and tackle are provided; food and drinks are not.
Adventure Scuba (2400 S. Hopkins Ave., Suite A, Titusville, 321/383-1001, www.adventurescubafl.com) sells and services diving gear and does tank refills; they also offers scuba certification classes as well as lessons in underwater photography. Expeditions are available, but most are multiday trips outside of the immediate area.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition