Kelly Slater, Matt Kechele, Jeff Crawford, Dick Catri, Bill Hartley, Mike Tabeling, Greg Loehr, David Speir, Charlie Kuhn, Todd Morcom, Lisa Anderson, the Lopezs and the Hobgoods. These names, and many more, will always be synonymous with Sebastian Inlet Florida. Fishermen first in 1886 ran a 500-foot channel using shovels and wheelbarrows. Preserving the Inlet required constant maintenance until the first set of jetties were installed in 1924. In the late 1960s the trophy wave appeared.
Sebastian Inlet has distinct waves, or peaks, running south to north. Bill Hartley explains in a video by SURFER posted in http://www.floridasurfmuseum.org/surf-spots/sad-fate-sebastian-inlet “…anybody that surfed there in the 80s, 90s, even in the 70s can probably, you know, tell you it was a VERY localized spot. Even though you are from Florida didn’t mean you were gonna paddle out there and get a wave…”
Matt Kechele tells SURFER “…Back then, you know, there was NO FREE waves. There was NO giving waves away to GROMS. Those guys were always competitive and pushing themselves…”
For roughly 40 years, Sebastian Inlet groomed more champion surfers than perhaps any wave on the planet responsible for 8 PIPE Masters, 16 WORLD TITLES, countless major East Coast, National, and Championship event wins. The site of several international pro events in the early ’80s and three U.S. championships between 1986 and 1994 Sebastian continues as the annual site of the NSSA’s Eastern Championships, from time to time. A popular WQS event from the mid 2000’s is now the Florida Pro. And Quiksilver’s King of the Peak, a long-standing specialty skins event, religiously draws pros for a chance at some decent cash and serious bragging rights. Sebastian Inlet is more than a collection of comps, stars and pictures. It’s literally the capital of East Coast surfing, laying claim to the greatest influence and attention, Fort that reason alone, surfers will continue to make a pilgrimage to this less than holy land: just to say they charged one of the world’s fiercest proving grounds — and survived. — Matt Walker (updated, March 2010) — http://www.surfline.com/surfing-a-to-z/sebastian-inlet-history_904/
Jaxson Weese, Owen Gaines Taylor and Colbie Leigh Taylor in certain ways can relate to “The Inlet” the same as all the legends before them. The ocean is a surfer’s getaway, a release, and a home all in one. All of us were once GROMS. As time passes you always chase that same feeling you felt when you began surfing for the first time. The size of the wave grows, as will you. The search for the thrill will lead us home.
GROMS must put in their time. The weak will fade and the strong will rise with the tide. You may see nothing, but with imagination, time, and effort you can be on a 1st Peak Banger like the champions before you! GROMS are our future and we must realize that. They are inspired by the people before them. Sebastian Inlet Florida, for these GROMS, is a great place to call home.
Blog written by Brandon G. Taylor
Edited by David Pritzker
Photos by David Pritzker