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Florida Surfing Championships held at Jacksonville Beach

1:35 PM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Some of the state's best surfers spent  time this weekend at Jacksonville Beach for the Florida Surfing Championships. The four-day event included live music, kayaking and a 5K run and helped boost the local economy.

Jake McGuire, a senior at Fletcher, was one of about 300 surfers competing in the Florida Surfing Championships.

"We are competing against three other surfers who are all pros from all of the Florida and all of the East Coast, and it's actually kind of tough because you have a limited amount of time and you have to catch two scoring waves," he said . "With four guys they are all trying to get the best waves, so it's very competitive out there."

RELATED: Final results of the 2012 Florida Surfing Championship

With less than a minute to go McGuire got knocked out of second place. While he didn't advance, he and the other surfers did get a lot of exposure.

Paul West, President of the Florida Surfing Association and U.S. Surfing Federation said, "It's a very prestigious title to be crowned the Florida champion. At the same time it's a very high profile contest, a lot of good exposure. We have the live scoring you might hear going on. It's being broadcast live all over the world right now. So it really means a lot to these athletes."

West said the event has drawn thousands of people to the area, from surfers to vendors to spectators, and has helped put Jacksonville Beach on the map.

"We have an economic impact study that's shown millions of dollars of impact into the local economy, so the restaurants are full and the hotels are full. It's a great thing especially in today's world," said West.

Event organizers hope it grows even bigger next year. They want it to become a destination event.

"Our goal is to actually bring the U.S. Championships here next year," West said. "We wanted to show the city what we can do with the Florida Surfing Championships and we are looking to bring the U.S. Championships here October 10th through 13th, 2013 to Jacksonville Beach."

In addition to world class surfing organizers say this is also about giving back. 

Last Friday more than a dozen wounded veterans had the chance to come out and learn for the first time how to surf.

First Coast News

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