Pro' amateur surfers compete; dogs will surf, too

52nd annual Easter Surfing Festival

Noah Schweizer of New Smyrna Beach catches some air on a nice wave as the crowds witnessed some great surfing at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. [PHOTO: FLORIDA TODAY / CRAIG RUBADOUX]

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – For 52 years, it's become tradition to celebrate Easter in Cocoa Beach among thousands of spring breakers, beachgoers and surfers. This weekend, the 52nd annual Easter Surf Festival makes waves again with three days jam-packed with surf contests, people-watching and dog surfing.

“We’ve been doing this since 1982, and along with the continued support and dedication of our community each year, it has become a weekend I am extremely honored to be a part of,” longtime event organizer John Griffin said.

The fun kicks off at Lori Wilson Park at 7 a.m. Friday.

News 6 partner Florida Today reports that amateur male and female surfers, ranging in age from 12 and under to over 40, will compete in 10 divisions. As a bonus, many of the area’s finest canine ambassadors will again take to the waves to “hang 10” and wag tails — with or without their owners.

“We will likely witness some of the best local and national amateur surfing talents, many who travel here from outside the state to compete," Griffin said. "I’m again happy to collaborate with the Brevard Humane Society to include as part of this year’s festival another opportunity to showcase several events that will enable fundraising opportunities in support of our four-legged friends.”

The four-legged friends event include the third annual East Coast Dog Surfing Championships, an inaugural dog and owner tandem surf contest, dog lure chase and pet adoption opportunities. A Surf n’ Tails silent auction and luau is set for 2 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m., respectively at nearby Jenna’s Breezeway, 20 N. Brevard Ave., Cocoa Beach.

“We have expanded our participation during this years’ festival and are excited to see so much interest in all of our scheduled activities,” said Theresa Clifton, executive director of the Brevard Humane Society. “Last year we raised $5,000 here — so we are hoping to top that. We’ve had some pretty awesome canine competitors so it will be interesting to see them tandem surfing with their owners.”

New to the festival this year will be the inaugural Street Slalom Skateboard race, organized and hosted by Cocoa Beach Skate Parks director Scooter Newell.

“We’ll be constructing an obstacle course on the north side of the park where skaters will maneuver around cones, mini ramps and other obstacles,” Newell said. “I’m looking forward to seeing some excellent skateboarding going on here. It will be an interesting challenge for sure.”

Final surfing events will be Sunday, and prizes for first through fourth in all divisions will be awarded.


The details

What: 52nd annual Easter Surf Festival

When: Friday through Sunday

Where: Lori Wilson Park, 1500 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach

Cost: Free, but bring change for parking meters

Info: Call John Griffin at 321-779-0493 or visit For more on the dog surfing events, visit

The schedule

Friday, March 25

7:45 a.m.: Calvary Chapel of Melbourne's blessing of the event

8 to 9 a.m.: Men’s LB 20-39: 4 heats

9 to 10 a.m.: Women’s LB 20-39: 4 heats

9 a.m.: Vendors village opens, free face painting

10 to 10:30 a.m.: Men’s LB 20-39 SF: 2 heats

10 a.m.: Keep Brevard Beautiful Trash Bash

10:30 to 11 a.m.: Women’s LB SF: 2 heats

11 a.m. to noon: Free Slalom skateboard lessons by Scooter Newell of Cocoa Beach Skate Park

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Dog lure chase

11 a.m. to noon: Men’s LB 40+: 4 heats

Noon to 12:30 p.m.: Humane Society pet and owner competition

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Women’s LB 40+: 4 heats

1:30 to 2 p.m.: Men’s LB 40+ SF: 2 heats

2 to 10 p.m.: (Offsite venue) Silent auction, live entertainment, horseshoes, limbo and Hula Hoop contests, autograph sessions, Bear Woznick Tandem demos, live remote with 98.5-FM the Beach at Jenna’s Breezeway (No. 20) on North Brevard Avenue. No cover.

2 to 2:30 p.m.: Women’s LB 40+ SF: 2 heats

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Men’s SB: 4 heats

3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Women’s SB: 4 heats

4:30 to 5 p.m.: Men’s SB SF: 2 heats

Saturday, March 26

8 a.m.: Keep Brevard Beautiful Trash Bash

8 to 8:30 a.m.: Women’s SB SF: 2 heats

8 to 5 p.m.: Vendors open

8:30 to 9:30 a.m.: Junior men SB 19 and under: 4 heats

9 to 11 a.m.: Street slalom and clinic

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Girl’s SB 19 and under: 4 heats

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Dive Surf Ride Boy’s SB 12 and under: 8 heats

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Dog lure course

11 a.m.: Shriners Rainbow Girls Easter egg hunt

12:30 to 12:55 p.m: Tandem surfing demonstrations by Bear Woznick

12:50 to 1:10 p.m.: Humane Society South Eastern Dog Surfing Championship

1 to 3 p.m.: Dive Surf Ride Girls SB 12 and under: 8 heats

3 to 4 p.m.: DSR Boys SB 12 and under: 4 heats

4 to 5 p.m.: Big Daddy Band in concert

Easter Sunday, March 27

6:30 to 8 a.m.: Sunrise service with Calvary Chapel Merritt Island

8 to 9 a.m.: DSR Girls SB 12 and under: 4 heats

9 to 9:30 a.m.: Jr Men SB SF: 2 heats

9:30 to 10 a.m.: Girl’s 19 and under SF: 2 heats

10 to 10:30 a.m.: DSR Boy’s SB 12 and under SF: 2 heats

10:30 to 11 a.m.: DSR Girl’s SB 12 and under SF: 2 heats

11 to 11:20 a.m.: Junior men SB: Final

11 a.m.: Best dressed contest for the best dog in an Easter outfit

11:20 to 11:40 a.m.: Girl’s 19 under: Final

11:40a.m. to noon: DSR Boy’s SB 12 and under: Final

Noon to 12:30 p.m.: Tandem surfing demonstrations by Bear Woznick

12:30 to 12:45 p.m.: Dog surfing

12:50 to 1:10 p.m.: Men’s LB 40+: Final

1:10 to 1:30 p.m.: DSR Girl’s SB 12 and under: Final

1:30 to 1:50 p.m.: Men’s LB 20-29: Final

1:50 to 2:10 p.m.: Women’s LB 20-29: Final

2:10 to 2:30 p.m.: Men’s LB 40+: Final

2:30 to 2:50 p.m.: Women’s SB: Final

2:50 to 3:10 p.m.: Men’s SB: Final

3:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Awards