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5 Reasons to Attend the Mike Martin Surf Festival on April 12-14th

Updated: Apr 3

We love community contests. 

Where else can you feel the sand between your toes while you see familiar and friendly faces, meet local sponsors who do business just down the road, and watch some of the region's best surfers competing in front of their hometown not necessarily for a prize, but for bragging rights?

Last year, two of our favorite community contests included the Mike Martin Pro and the SEV Chamber of Commerce.

This year, both contests are joining forces to bring the ultimate homegrown surf contest to the sands of New Smyrna Beach on April 12-14: The Mike Martin Surf Festival.  

The event is in honor of Mike Martin, an integral and passionate component of not just East Coast surfing, but surfing around the world. 

Mike was a member of the Smyrna Surfari Club, which is one of the longest running surf clubs in America.

He was also the ASP’s first full time International Head Judge, and Co-Architect of the Rule Book. 

CJ Hobgood remembers him fondly. "A man that loved surfing. I'd say he was a big reason that Kelly (Slater), Cory (Lopez), Shea (Lopez), (Ben Bourgeois), Gabe Kling, Damien and myself were all on tour at one time. Mike's dedication to cultivating our skills through amateur and professional ranks prepared us for the big stage and we all love him for it. He was a great teacher to many and loved by many." 

"I had the privilege of first meeting Mike in 1985 at the Surfabout in Cape Town,” Graham Stapelberg, WSL EVP, said in a recent interview. “It was my very first ASP event that I judged. He went on to become a great mentor to me and really paved the way for my future on the ASP traveling judges panel. Although he took his role extremely serious, once work was done for the day he thoroughly enjoyed the local hospitality and I have fond memories of us visiting interesting places outside of the events. His contribution at the infancy of professional surfing cannot be understated and should not be forgotten."

If you don’t already have the event on your calendar, here’s a few reasons to be there: 

#1: It will feature some of region's the best surfers. 

Not only will this contest feature some of Florida’s best surfers, both junior and pro; many other East Coasters are making their way down I-95 to paddle out. 

Did we mention the team event? That's right: while surfing is an individual-focused sport, the contest will feature a division with 30 teams all vying for first place & bragging rights, which will take place on Friday.

The pro and amateur contests will kick off Saturday, with finals scheduled for Sunday.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to surf and learn at this contest,” Stephanie Brown, the contest director told us. “The younger generation will be able to practice competing against some of the top guys in the region who have battled on the WSL Qualifying Series.”

And yes, there is a hefty prize purse: while it’s still being finalized, you can expect a check if you finish in the top among your division. 

“At the Mike Martin Pro last year, we gave out a total of $19,000, and we’re on track for that this year,” Stephanie said. “Mike Martin was a big proponent of equal pay for men and women, so you will see that represented among the winners at the event.” 

#2: Meet & Make Friends on the Beach

“Seeing the community come out is my favorite aspect of the event,” Stephanie said. 

Imagine all of New Smyrna & neighboring beach towns descending upon the contest site — that's what you can expect.

You're guaranteed to meet pro surfers, business owners, leaders in the community and more.

#3: Vendors (& free swag)

Do you love free stuff? Yeah, us too! 

At the Mike Martin Surf Festival, expect a vendor row, where you won’t be able to walk through without getting free gear of all shapes and sizes. 

#4: Free Beach Workouts

Kicking off each morning will be beach workouts and yoga.

If you're looking for a sweat before the contest crowd arrives each day, come on down!

#5: A Beer Garden in the Sand

That’s right: a beer garden will be on the beach from noon to 4pm.

Let’s face it: you were planning on being on the beach drinking beer this weekend anyway.

Why not come and do it at the Mike Martin Pro along with other members of the community — while watching some of the region's best surfers battle it out? 

We’ll see you there on April 12-14 in New Smyrna Beach.


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