The Flagler Board Riders Club is making a run for the championship in the Florida Cup — both to participate and to host it.
The Florida Cup — a championship surfing competition hosted by the Florida Board Riders and finishing out its third year — has one more competition before its final championship meet. The Florida Cup is available to local Florida Board Riders chapters, like the Flagler Board Riders.
It takes place at the St. Augustine pier on March 4 — It was originally scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. but moved due to weather — and the Flagler Board Riders are competing to hold their second-place position.
Kelly Brasol, president of the Flagler Board Riders, said it’s going to be a tight race.
It should be incredible. Incredible surfers — sometimes ex-pro’s — come out and surf. — Kelly Brasol, president of the Flagler Board Riders
“It should be incredible,” she said. “Incredible surfers — sometimes ex-pro’s — come out and surf.”
Brasol said the Flagler Board Riders team placed second at the last two competitions, in Jacksonville in November and in Flagler in October.
Each competition has seven divisions: youth 14 and under, ages 15-19, open women’s division, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and older. Groups of four from each chapter compete in each division under a one-hour time limit.
Each surfer’s top score from the hour is added together with their teammates’ to determine the chapters scores and then the winners. The surfers who compete usually change from one competition to another, since only 28 surfers can compete from one chapter at a time, Brasol said.
Only the top five placing teams will go to the championship.
Of those five teams, Brasol said, the championship winner and runner-up will go to the nationals in California.
Even with the tough competition, Brasol said the Flagler Board Riders Club performs very well for its size.
“We’re extremely talented for our size,” she said.
That community-support mentality is a large part of the Florida Board Riders modus operandi, according to its website. Dane Jeffreys, executive director of Florida Board Riders, said the local chapters are community-centered organizations that are affiliated with Florida Board Riders, but function separately from the association.
Lucy Noble, a senior at Flagler Palm Coast High School, is a Flagler Board Riders member. She surfs, but not competitively, she said. She spends a lot of her time at competitions helping with food lines and recording footage of the surfers for them to use.
She said the club is very close-knit and supportive, hosting community events like a monthly beach clean-up that’s open to everyone to join in.
“The best part is how it really feels like a little family,” she said.
The Florida-based surfing competition series started in 2020 and is a chapter of the U.S. Board Riders Club. Florida Board Riders has 12 active chapters in just three years of operation, Jeffreys said.
Jeffreys said Florida Board Riders was founded during the pandemic as a nonprofit. It started as a way to gather surfers together, he said, to share a love of surfing.
“Now the Board Riders is more of a team aspect,” he said.
Their 2022-2023 Florida Cup Championship competition is in March and Jeffreys said they are looking at a few locations to host the championship. They have permits for New Smyrna and Flagler Beach, he said, but the weather will ultimately decide where the championship will be held.
“We really want to have it in Flagler just because of the whole support, from the mayor, all the way down to all the surf community,” Jeffreys said. “But Mother Nature is the one that really decides.”
As part of the consideration, Brasol worked to clear all the paperwork needed to host the event, including petitioning the Flagler Beach City Commission on Jan. 26 for permission for a beer garden at the championship.
The beer garden would be inaccessible for minors, Brasol said to the commission, and the alcohol would stay in the sectioned off area. The commission approved the request 5-0.
Jeffreys said they want to host the championship in Flagler Beach because of how supportive and close the community is. The venue, too, he said, is more like a stadium than other venues they’ve had.
“You have the boardwalk that overlooks the ocean. You have cars that can pull up and be right there,” he said. “It’s so tight-knit … it has a great homey-like, Southern feel to it.”
Jeffreys said Flagler Beach has also been easy to work with in the permit process and at previous competitions. The competition is also a boon to local businesses and tourism, he said, bringing in the teams and viewers, too.
You have the boardwalk that overlooks the ocean. You have cars that can pull up and be right there. It’s so tight-knit … it has a great homey-like, Southern feel to it. — Dane Jeffreys, Executive Director of Florida Board Riders
Brasol said they always have such positive feedback from events in Flager Beach.
“Its just so spectator friendly,” Brasol said. “Flagler Beach is just a great place to hold a competition.”