With Tropical Storm Arthur churning off the east coast of Florida, some Brevard County retailers and restaurants on the beachside are preparing for a wave of additional business this weekend.
Specifically, they’re hoping big ocean waves will draw crowds of surfers and increase the number of customers, according to Local 6 News partner Florida Today.
“Oh, absolutely, absolutely, we’re looking for a big weekend,” said Bill Yerkes, owner and founder of the Balsa Bill Surf Shop in Satellite Beach.
Yes, there are upsides to tropical storms. Sometimes they provide an ideal combination of winds, swells and waves.
Yerkes and others said that the timing of Arthur is ideal for business, since it’s near the July 4 holiday. Bigger waves could draw a larger number of out-of-town surfers to Brevard.
It’s not uncommon for diehard surfers to pack up their boards and travel here from as far away as Alabama or Georgia.
“That’s a big factor in our business,” said Charlie Gibson, a shift manager at DaKine Diego's Insane Burrito shop in Satellite Beach. “Definitely, an increase in surf means an increase in business.”
Longtime surfer Keith Bowen of Sebastian, ordering lunch at Dakine Diego’s said that he regularly drives along A1A to check surfing conditions. Then he notices places like DaKine getting busier.
“When there are good waves, every place is packed,” he said.
Bowen said that Brevard County beaches offer some of the best surfing waves in the region.
For serious surfers, winter provides the best conditions. Summers usually mean flat, warmer water and smaller waves. Ideal for beginners, but not veterans.
So when a tropical storm or hurricane passes by, the swells attract out-of-towners. There’s a particularly large contingent from the Orlando area.
“The Orlando traffic is what fuels my business” said Dennis Griffin, who opened the Cape Canaveral-based Core Surf Shop two years. “It’s my biggest customer base.”