I recall when I was 16 or 17 years old in High School in art class. I'd flip through surf mag's for inspiration constantly feeding my brain some new stoke material. We'd talk about how insane Christian Fletcher's airs were and how amazing it was that halfpipe tricks were now in the water. And probably a daily basis, we'd all admit how much we wanted to be Kelly Slater.
Kelly was the new young gun on tour and about our age. Kelly had style & power in his surfing that the world took notice of and the bastard was handsome too. Yeah, all the chicks wanted him and all of us teenage groms wanted to be him or at least Tony Hawk.
More than twenty years later, Kelly is still the best in the world nine times now and hopefully within days from this blog, he'll be making history with an historical 10th ASP World Title making him unquestionably one of the best athletes of all time.
My good friend Mark Longnecker from Endless Summer Tattoo's was again kind enough to be my tent-mate on the beach and we both painted boards to help raise money for the World Skin Cancer Foundation. We also had a few surf sesh's in the warm waters of Cocoa Beach. (Thanks to fellow artist Dale Sause for lending me your boards!)
I had some prints for sale and met some really outstandingly cool people during the few days I was there. I do a lot of my print sales online, so it's really special to me when I get to do these events far from home & connect face to face.
One of the things I was looking forward to most from this event was seeing some of our Floridian “family”. We had some dear friends drive to Cocoa Beach to visit us like, The Murray's (whom always provide comic relief), The Gomez's (Look for Gabe Gomez to be a famous rockstar soon, he's mad talented) & our friends Brian and Mike (who still owe me a chiropractor crackin', I didn't forget guys!).
Also, as an added bonus we had our good friend Eric Brigmond performing with Hayley Sales so we were stoked to catch up with him & his groovy wife Cat whom we adore spending time with. (As a sidenote: Eric plays keys for Donavon Frankenreiter and also is conjuring up some solo tunes, check him out and bug the shit out of him to get that new material released already! It's super funky!)
Our friend Luke who does videography work for Donavon was also around to document the event and our friend Justin from GoPro Camera was in town and it was the first time we've met in person after having a cyber bro-hood. He was awesome enough to hook me up with a GoPro package which you'll be seeing some in-studio footage from me soon!
Things ran pretty smoothly this year, the staff and crew did an amazing job. After the sun went down each day, the night-time festivities kicked in. It made for a great atmosphere to spend some quality time with the crew,staff & Slater family AKA: We got drunk together.
On our last night in Cocoa Beach, Chelsea and I were invited to a lovely dinner at a local jazz club. There was only about a dozen of us there including Hayley Sales, Sean Slater & his awesome fiance April, Skippy Slater, Kelly Slater,Justin Wilkenfeld, Julie Stine & her man Javier.
It was a very memorable evening of wine, laughter,dancing and jazz. Hayley got invited up to sing a song with the house band, April and Sean did one hell of a tush-dance & a 97 year old man belted out some oldies but goodies.
We left Florida with a few more friends than we started out with and for that, I am the most thankful.
Loving vibes to the Slater family, the event staff and crew and all of our loving and goofy friends whom made me feel so at home. I cherish you all!!
Here's some more pics from the event: