Space Coast Thunder On The Beach

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wide eyed children stood motionless with pale and shovel in hand, toes digging into the soft white sand, as thunderous power boats kicked up rooster tails and sped by the Cocoa Beach Pier.

“Thunder On The Beach Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix” was completing its third and final day this Sunday at Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. The brainchild of Josh Blakely and Kerry Bartlett was now a reality.

It takes something special to captivate a beach audience, but this did it. I have been to surf contests and volleyball tournaments at the Cocoa Beach Pier before and the interest is sporadic and more of a gathering.  When these power boats sped by, the roar of the engines along with the sight of powerful, sleek, sexy boats kicking up huge amounts of water was mesmerizing.

Getting a call from Donna from the tourist development council yesterday asking me to do a blog about power boat racing, I jumped at the chance. I got to Port Canaveral about 8:30 am in the sweltering August heat. I forgot how nice the restaurants, cruise ships, shops, fishing boats and fish markets were. It really is a nice mix of the crusty old fishing vessels and the new restaurants. A perfect setting for the headquarters of the event.

I met up with Donna and her adorable 11-year-old daughter and was introduced to Clay, who was organizing the media boat to take us out. With a few minutes to spare I ran to where all the power boats were as they were making last minute adjustments before the race. Always wanting the story within the story, I bothered many of the drivers and mechanics with questions and some video shots. Most were very accommodating and put up with me. I hope they like my videos and photos.

At 10:00 am, soaked with sweat, I made it to the media boat and we headed through the Port Canaveral Inlet, out into the Atlantic, where the race was. Just south of the Cocoa Beach Pier we were stationed, in the middle of the race.  Privately owned boats were gathered by the hundreds to our west and several thousand beachgoers were gathered on the sand and pier.

The sight of these powerful boats, that can reach speeds of 160 mph, coming towards us was captivating. I had never been to a power boat race, but this was great. It was hot, but it was on the beach. A quick dip in the cool waves and it was OK for the spectators. What a great idea.

I must admit, I felt a little inadequate with my little I Phone 4 taking photos and videos. The other media members had lenses on their expensive equipment as long as my arm. When we got back to the dock, I slipped my phone in my pocket and was off to catch the organizer in a nice video while they were gathering their bags, lenses, and tripods.

Talking to Kerry Bartlett and his wife as they were about to leave, was informative and insightful. This idea came to their pal, Josh Blakely only six months ago. “Why not have power boat racing in Cocoa Beach?” Josh asked. Thus they sprang into action. Working with the tourist development board and local restaurants and businesses, the event became a reality.

This is a natural for this area, showcasing the beauty and accommodations of the South Brevard area. I can’t wait till next year. This is gonna be huge.

Needing to get some shots from the beach, I illegally parked at the Publix, about mile away, and sprinted to the Cocoa Beach Pier. Several thousand tourists and locals were transfixed on the action. Maybe it was the east wind or just the wondrous beach setting, but the view and sound was awesome. This was the place to watch this event. I tried to talk to people and get some video, but they wanted no part of me. Just to enjoy the spectacle that was unfolding in front of them.

I wish I could have stayed longer but I had to upload this and get it written so I could get to the gym. It is now 6:00 pm and I am finished.

Off to the gym for a chest, back and ab workout. Then a nice seafood and veggie munch. Whew, what a day.
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media-lady on

Great job Clay! You make us feel as if we were there with you!

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