Orlando, the mecca of all things wake. Orlando was my very first solo international destination, a place filled with palm trees, geckos, theme parks and warm lakes. Each year I try to manage a trip down to the sunny south to catch up with old friends and get in a few sets. This year the Wake Canada Congress happened to take place in Orlando in the dreary Canadian season also known as November. Perfect timing.
The first few days were spent in a conference room analyzing the pros and cons of the direction of Wake Canada, and after hours of effectual discussion Sunday afternoon finally rolled around we were freeeeeeee!!!!! I headed on over to Freedom Wake Park to take a set with one of the very first friends I met years ago in Orlando, miss Tarah Mickachich. She’s a pro rider and owner of this amazing new wake facility right in the core of Orlando. She has two wakeboard boats and a private system 2.0 park… perfect for whatever you feel like riding . We caught up over boat sets, wine and dinner.
Monday morning I woke up bright and early to head to Coco Beach with my Friend Tommy Bailey. I’ve been on a Great Lake Surfing high lately so I was over the moon about getting out for some more consistent waves. Tarah and Cobe had suggested we go to ‘The Pier’, which is apparently one of the better Surf Spots in Cocoa Beach. I am quite unfortunately horrendous when it comes to directions so of course I managed to get us lost. We decided to stop at the beach and ask for directions. Our first encounter was with an umbrella salesman who took us to his tiny back shed that held two foam top boards and tried to convince us to rent from him. Although I am usually one who has good faith in humanity Tommy convinced me it probably wasn’t the best idea. Instead we walked over to a local shop and asked for directions. The storeowner was pretty awesome; he pulled out a map and gave us specific directions on how to get to the pier. After about ten minutes of discussion he said, “Actually, apparently the surf is supposed to be pretty good here. I’m no expert, but you should go next store, the owner is Kelly Slater’s brother and probably knows more than I do.” Both Tommy and I laughed out loud; the places you stumble upon when you manage to get lost are pretty remarkable!
After a full-blown tour of SSlater Surf and Tackle Shop, Skip rented us two boards; one hand shaped by his father the original Slater himself. Tommy and I spent four hours out in the waves before we could no longer move, and were sun-burnt to a crisp. When we headed back to the shop Skip invited us out for food and drinks with his pals at the local bar Coconuts. In the middle of it all we got hit was a gnarly rainstorm and ended up sticking around till later in the evening. Definitely one for the random adventures book!
Overall the trip to the sunny south was short but sweet! Looking forward to the next adventureJ