April 11, 2009
Hayes a boy among men
BY BRIAN McCALLUM
When surfers arrived at the Cocoa Beach Pier on Friday, they found the 45th Ron Jon Easter Surfing Festival behind schedule, but that didn't last.
Consider Logan Hayes ahead of schedule. The Vero Beach resident has been surfing competitively for about seven years, but he was in the men's open shortboard on Friday and advanced from his first heat.
That's ahead of schedule because Hayes' seven-year-career started when he was 5.
"I knew I'd have a son or a daughter at least introduced to surfing," said his father, Toby, "but I didn't know I'd have one competing against adults when he was 12 years old."
Hayes was in the open category for fun, but he will be more serious today when competing in the Steven G. Casanova $500 Boys Amateur Shortboard 14-and-under. That will begin at 8 a.m., back at the Cocoa Beach Pier.
As there was Friday and will be Sunday, there is also surfing at Shepard Park.
The men's shortboard will resume Sunday. Hayes failed to advance from the second round to the quarterfinals, but Cocoa Beach's David Aubrey will be there. Aubrey, 24, doesn't surf many contests these days, but he's hoping to make a little extra money this weekend.
He needs to make it through one more round to reach that goal.
"I just hope for the best and hope to catch a few waves," he said. "There's some guys that can surf the really small stuff, but on this, it's just mostly about your equipment."
Hayes picked up his love for surfing from dad, who has been surfing "since the Nixon administration." Logan surfs about five days a week now that his family has moved from Winter Park to the beach.
The sixth-grader has also traveled for the sport, including six trips to Costa Rica.
"It's a really cool place," he said. "I've got a lot of friends there. Every summer, I go there a couple weeks to surf and fish."
Hayes wowed the crowd with a 360 on Friday in his first heat, a trick he's been working on for three years. His dad taught him to surf first by holding him on his back and then holding him on the board.
Now, he has his own sponsors, including Ron Jon Surf Shop.In addition to the surfing, there was other entertainment on Friday. There was a kiteboarding exhibition and an air show by Rob Holland.
Vendors also lined the pier, including a visitor from San Diego. Mike Sick brought a bodysurfing product he developed, Surf Grip, which resembles a pair of oversized gloves made from buoyant material with a plastic grip inside.
"I would get on my children's body board and it would sink," he said. Now he uses the "floating hands" to ride his own waves.
Contact McCallum at 242-3698 or
Logan Hayes rides a wave during Saturday's 45th annual Ron Jon Easter Surfing Festival in Cocoa Beach.
(Craig Bailey, FLORIDA TODAY)