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Christian Surfers A Tale Of Two Tribes Watch any two surfers meet for the first time. As soon as they find out each one surfs you will immediately hear strange lingo, excitement, and stories of waves they’ve once had or stories of a session they’ve just had. Both know they are a part of a global tribe, the tribe of surfing. The Gospel (good news) of Jesus has the ability to bridge cultures, age groups, economic disparity, and any other separator which normally can segregate people. When a Christian meets another Christian they feel united to the Creator and both have a common relationship which transcends any residual division. Both know they are a part a tribe, the tribe of the Creator. Both tribes are already crossing over. We exist to connect surfers who are Christian, and share Christ with surfers who are not. We equip Christians who surf with bibles, gospel focused dvd’s, magazines... and a network of other Christians that surf. We encourage this network to share Jesus in a way which speaks uniquely to the surfing tribe.

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Noah Dovin Name: Noah Dovin Age: I just turned 11 years old. Hometown: I live in Merritt Island Florida but I spend most of my time in Cocoa Beach FL. Home Break: My home break is sunny Cocoa Beach FL. Education: I was on Honor Roll last year and I am going into 5th grade at Audubon Elementary. Sponsors: Quiet Flight, RVCA, Excel Wetsuits, Bruce Ragan and Stu Sharpe surfboards Magic board: My current magic board is a Quiet Flight round tail quad shaped by Bruce Ragan Best results: My most memorable win was in the Tadpole division at the Tommy Tant contest when I was 7 and won a trophy twice as big as me. They lifted me high in the air and everybody cheered. Oh yeah, and winning the ASF East Coast Championship U10 and the NSSA East coast Championship Explorer Super Groms this past year. Dream Sponsor: I don't really have a dream sponsor right now but I like sponsors who really care, are fun, treat kids like kids and keep their promises. Tunes you are listening to now: I like all kinds of music such as Angels and Airwaves (even though I fell asleep at their concert) Life after surfing: I'll always surf, but after I finish school I am thinking about going into the Military Special Ops possibly the Navy Seals. Sportsmanship award goes to: All the kids I surf against locally are all really good sportsmen but If I had to pick one kid it would be the quarterback for my football team Trey Landress (His Dad was a local Pro Surfer). Trey is always encouraging us and saying good job, keep it up and other nice things, even if we are losing. Favorite pro surfer: My favorite pro surfer would be Jeremy Johnston. He is like a kid, always smiling, saying kind things and is always happy to see me. He helped get me on the Excel Wetsuit Team. Oh yeah, he surfs really good also. I also like all the local East Coast pros such as CJ & Damien Hobgood, Kelly Slater, CT Taylor, Todd Holland, John Holeman, Josh Wilson. Favorite local surfer: My favorite local surfer would be Robbie McCormick. He is really nice and doesn't brag and is an awesome surfer. Who would you take with you on a dream surf vacation: I’d take a 747 to Hawaii with 524 of my closest friends, everybody reading this article, my dog Guinness, and we'd hit the North Shore of Oahu. (If we take out first class we can put in a half pipe and skate during the long flight!) Dawn patrol or evening sesh: I prefer the morning sessions since it's usually glassy and bigger but I have to surf the afternoons during school time. Favorite snack food: I like a lot of different snacks such as crème cookies, Oreo Blizzards, fruit bars. I also like to snack on different kinds of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and bananas. When I'm not surfing: When I’m not surfing or skating I do a little bit of everything, depending on the time of year. I like wakeboarding, snowboarding, paintball, wrestling, playing “Call of Duty Black Ops,” playing airsoft behind my house with my friends, doing Iron Kids Triathlons… I currently train in Jiu-Jitsu at the Brazilian Top Team in Melbourne with Edgard Dutra and won several grappling tournament titles in my division such as the N.A.G.A World Cup and have traveled as far as Paris to compete in the N.A.G.A. European Grappling Championship and placing 2nd overall. I also placed 2nd in the IKF World Classic Championship of Kickboxing with surfer Dave “Little Giant” DiQullo as my corner man and trained under Trey and surfer James Hoog at the Cocoa Beach Fight Club. I am also just starting another football season with the Merritt Island Mustangs and just qualified for the National Iron Kids triathlon. Jesus is: Jesus is my guardian. Final words: Life is an adventure and the more things you do and see even if you're not good at it, makes you appreciate things and respect people more. Go, go, go, only stop to eat, sleep and watch cartoons.

Zoe Benedetto Name: Zoe Evelynn Benedetto Age: 7 Hometown: Palm City Nickname: Heavy Z Favorite (local) surf spot: Stuart Public Beach Sponsors: Roxy, Sun Bum, Sonic Surf Boards, Janga Wetsuits, Surf Central Surf Shop Fisheye Graphics What kind / size board are you currently riding: 4’8” Grom Jet by Sonic Surf Boards Where would you like to travel to, to surf: I really want to go to Hawaii and surf as many breaks and Islands as I can! And then go to California and see where my brother was born, Camp Pendleton, and surf Trestles and Churches! How old were you when you started surfing: I started Surfing at age 5, but caught my first waves on my own at age 6, almost 7. My mom runs the Surf Central Surf Camp every summer, so I have been on a board since I was a baby! I used to take great naps on the tip of a longboard during camp when I was a baby! Local hero: My mom is my hero and Kara Brown and Thomas Cooke too! Kara is from New Smyrna, she is like my big sister! She pushes me to take bigger waves, but is always supportive of me! Thomas helps my mom at surf camp and never has a negative thing to say about anything! I like that! Who do you like to surf with: I like surfing with Kara Brown and my mom and brother and now my little sister Rory is starting to surf! My Family is everything! What do you do when it is flat: When its flat I skate and draw and read and swim! Do you have any pets: I have a golden retriever named Lola and a crazy cat named Rasta! Recommended reading: Junie B. Jones…I love those books! What music is on your playlist right now: I like Michael Franti and Bob Marley. Best friend is: My best surfing friend is Ava McGowan. What surfers do you look up to: I look up to my mom the most! But then Lisa Andersen, because she made women's surfing what it is today! She is so Rad! Kelly Slater, because I like the way he is such a good surfer and good human being, no drugs or craziness! Tyler Wright because she is just so powerful in her surfing!!! Who has influenced your life the most: My mom and dad have influenced my life the most! They make sure I am having fun and improving and not worrying about how I do in contests! They want me to love what I do! Jesus is: Jesus is the Lord! He is the reason we have the earth, the reason we have waves to surf! I feel closest to God and Jesus when I’m surfing because I am enjoying the waves and beautiful natural world He gave us! Last words, for your fans: I am trying to work hard and stay humble because this is my life! I will surf for the rest of my life because I am doing what I love to do!

Click the TV to the right to view Zoe in action or log onto

On The Beach With over 40 boards to choose from, which board did you reach for? Asked at the Indialantic Boardwalk Channel Island Demo Day

Joseph Vero Beach 5’6” Weirdo Ripper

Charlie Sebastian 6’2” Weirdo Ripper

Paul Melbourne 5’10” Weirdo Ripper

Justin Ft Pierce 5’9” T-Low

Kelly Melbourne 5’6” Weirdo Ripper

Mike Melbourne 5’8” New Flyer

Who do you Rep? Greg Taylor reps? Cobian Sandals, Quantum Optics, Katin Clothing, House Of Marley, Dolsey SUP/ Surfboards How long have your been a rep? 32 years. How did you get into this line of work? I was surfing amateurs and then turned pro at an early age and we would tour shops with dealers when I was on the Ocean Avenue and Natural Art Teams. We would surf events, do store promos and hang with dealers and kids from all over. So I had this phone call one day and was told that since I already had relationships with buyers, why don’t you become a full time rep. You live in St Augustine, but what territory do you cover? We actually have a full blown Agency now and we cover the entire South East with Cobian. So we cover FL,AL,GA,MS,TN,NC,VA,SC,…. You’re obviously on the road a lot, what is your mode of transportation? Ford 2013 Super Duty Diesel Lariat How many miles a year do you put on it? About 40,000, or more What town do you enjoy going to the most, for fun? The Keys How often do you get to surf when you are on the road? As much as I can, rule of thumb. Always bring your equipment and not just samples. When you have down days at home what do you enjoy doing? Being with the family of course and I love my church. Kicking back in my music room, shutting the door and just releasing some much needed stress with the piano, guitar and singing. Favorite food? Greek Food Best part of your job? The everyday challenges and people I work with. I love my team, who I work with daily, and helping out certain accounts grow their business and be more successful with our lines. That’s the greatest!!! Worst part of your job? Driving long weeks and being away from home (wife and kids). For some reason I am good with the first 3 or 4 days, but after that I get burnt. Favorite movie? Nacho Libre Who has influenced your career the most? I have a few buyers out there that have kicked my butt into shape. Susan from Aqua East, Paul from Maui Nix, JB from Innerlight. One of the reps that influenced me the most would have to be Tom Hudson. Just his story and journey blows me away. He always had time to talk to his team riders like he really cared. Who has influenced your life the most? The person that has influenced my life the most would be Jesus Christ and the Word that comes from scripture. So many people think that following Christ is a religion or a real bummer and that is has all these guidelines to live by. Yet in all reality He wants us to love life and live it to the fullest. Love Life and Love other people. This has been a major influence in my life and continues to be for the rest of my life. What better guidance to have then from the one who made us? Any advice to anyone hoping to get into the business? I get asked this all the time. I tell them to start in a retail shop first and learn that side of the business. Then look for sub rep openings with a small area to cover first, so you can do both to learn, so you can have income. Then if it works out, prove to your boss or company you are pro-active by communicating consistently and following up. Have passion. And if you really care about your accounts and you’re doing things for their benefit, and not yours, then great things will happen down the road. In our agency we strive to do the opposite. We fight for our dealers and actually go to bat for them on a daily basis, even if we have to loose points on commissions or drive our companies crazy. We are the stores and if you keep that mindset, everything will play out fine and you will gain trust and loyalty from your accounts. Final words of wisdom? When you serve others, great things will happen.

Surfer Update Caroline Marks had a great summer. Caroline went to California for her first surf contest out west and came home with the title Surfing America Girls Under 12 Champion. Surfline said she “absolutely dominated” and Caroline was invited to join the USA Surfing Team. Caroline also did a little driving up to Virginia for the ESCS where she finished 5th in the Women’s Pro division and 3rd in the Under 15 division, remember she is only 11. Next up is another trip to California for the Rip Curl Grom Search and the sky is the limit.

Tommy Coleman had a great showing in California at the NSSA National Championships. Tommy took 1st place in both the Open MiniGrom (where he combed the field) and the Explorer Super Grom divisions. Not only did Tommy take top honors at the contests but he was named NSSA surfer of the week back in February and, unofficially reported, he now holds the most wins by any NSSA surfer, ever. This past summer Tommy surfed in the Rip Curl Grom Search in New Smyrna placing 2nd and surfed in the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia taking 1st place in his division. Next up, more Primes, Rip Curl Grom Search in Cali and local competitions.

Nikki Viesins has taken to the road for the last year and has been making the east coast proud. Nikki competed in the ISA World Games, in Nicaragua, and helped the USA team to a Bronze medal. She competed back to back in the NSSA and Surfing America Prime contests. Nikki is the 2013 Surfing America Girls Under 18 Champion. Nikki is now chasing her dream to qualify for the world tour. Nikki surfed in the Swatch Girls Pro in Hossegor, France and in the Galicia Pro in Pantin, Spain. Her next stop is the Corona Pro in Puerto Rico and then keep an eye on her as she surfs the 2014 ASP Women’s Star Events.

Summer Surf Jam When we set out to go on these annual trips our main purpose is to share our personal Jesus experiences with those the go with us. As we get closer to the departure date we get people asking if they can go and in the future we hope to have the man / woman power to accommodate everyone that wants to go. This year we had a great group of 4 adults and 12 young adults ranging in age from 6 years old to 16. We met and loaded up the trailer with all our gear, ranging from air mattresses, coolers, food, boards, tents…. and when the trailer is full we shove the goms into the vehicles and started heading north. Of course we have the “I need to stop at the next rest stop” being yelled out about every 20 minutes and the “I’m hungry, can we get something to eat” every 10 minutes. But, finally we make it to St. Augustine were we unload and set up for a good nights sleep, on the floor of the Christian Surfers National Headquarters. Tomorrow the fun begins. We wake up each morning to some strange bodily sounds and laughter but the days get going pretty fast with a pop-tart in hand and some fresh coffee and then on to our first surf spot. After a few hours of surfing we are off to our first food stop, our fist surf shop and our first skate, then back to the water for another surf and another skate. Once we are all pretty much wiped out we head back to the headquarters for a late bite to eat and some open conversations about God, Jesus, Life, Death and where we fit in. Each night was filled with raw questions and answers. We used the I Am Second new testament and their key questions as out topics this year and it seams to go over very well. A few videos (where you at Georgia?), Bible verses and special guests and the week flew by. Along the way we met with Mike Whisnant (see page 12 for Mikes Profile) who gave shared his knowledge of board design and God’s design. We also met with the Tory Strange and the staff at Surf Station who shared their stories with us. What an amazing group of Christians. At Ponce we surfed and Travis Ajay who shared his insight into the surf industry and his faith in Jesus and how it has changed his life. What a great group of surfers we had the pleasure of spending quality time with. Our last night was spent in New Smyrna Beach at Bill & Kate’s home (CS New Smyrna Beach chapter directors) and we concluded our discussion with submitting to God. On this trip we saw some great surfing in small conditions, we saw some skateboarding that pushed a few to their limits but more importantly we saw tears and heartfelt desire to be closer to God. We would conduct these trips for years for that one moment and we were blessed this year, like last with the Lord moving on some of these kids.

We want to thank: Calvary Chapel Vero Beach for the trailer to carry all our gear, the financial support and for teaching the Word. The Surf Station for being such a rad surf shop and for taking time out to share Jesus and the business with us. Travis Ajay with Arnett for sharing the truth and lies within the surf industry and his faith and drive in life. Famous surf wax for providing a wax gift pack for each kid and for supporting CSSI throughout. Sun Bum for bags, sunscreen for the entire group and beach toys to keep us busy. Whisnant Surfboards for taking the time out of your busy day to share Jesus with others. On A Mission for hooking all the kids up with leashes. Phix Doctor for ding kids for each of the kids. Sanuk for random grab bag goodies Smith Optics for shades and hats.

LIFE: Nothing about it is easy DESIRE: Nothing is ever enough SATISFACTION: It can only be found in Jesus UNDERSTAND: Jesus paid the price for your sin SUBMIT: Release yourself from yourself

Whisnant Surfboards

Name: Mike Whisnant Label: Whisnant Surfboards Age: 55 Hometown: Jacksonville Beach, FL Facebook: How long have you been shaping: 24 years How did you get started shaping: Mostly out of frustration. Had some ideas on shapes and at that time couldn’t get anyone to listen. How many boards have you shaped: almost 7700 Where are you shaping your boards: Atlantic Beach, FL Favorite (local) surf spot: AB pier(10th St.) What model and size board are your currently riding: Mostly I ride a 6’2’’ish Egg shape along with a longboard Do you have a single fin in your quiver: Just my 8’3’’ longboard What’s next in surfboard design: Not sure. Designs are moving so fast now, as a shaper you better be on your “A” game. What kinds of feedback helps you the most: All feedback is beneficial. Good and bad. Thank God I get mostly good.

Who has influenced your life the most: A pastor we had a few years back when he taught on Godly Character. Made a huge impact on me and my wife. Thought I had good character until that teaching. Had to make some changes. Favorite fin system, why: FCS. It is the most consistent of all systems. With the fins being at 0 degrees, this makes it possible to be consistent with the angle that goes in the fin. Do you have any phobias: Not fond of heights and roller coasters Best Breakfast in town: Beach Diner Favorite non-surf movie: Pirates of the Carribean (all) Where can we buy your boards: Direct and at Jax Beach surf shop and The Boardroom surf shop Social Media: All…. Really into Instagram, but also facebook and twitter Jesus is: King of kings and Lord of lords!!! Nothing else matters but God!

Watch Mike shape live on his website at:

Where You At? Setting up at surf contests – I WANT TO QUIT Serving always seems to be easier for some, running around like a headless chicken trying to cater to everyone’s needs, picking up unforeseen tasks and just adding more hands to the work force on the ground. I have a new theory though, that it is not really serving or you’re not serving enough, if you don’t want to quit at least once, want to shout at someone at least twice. While I think those things are not entirely right, it’s a great thing to have your heart tested and to consider why you are actually doing what you are doing? Are you doing it because that is what Christians do, they serve others. They want to be the salt and the light, which is a good thing, but the driving force should be “Do you have God’s Heart for people?” You see, if you have the “I want to be the salt and light mentality”, you will think you can do it in your own strength. I CAN DO THIS, I CAN BE THE LIGHT. It does not take long until you get frustrated and want to quit. When we start to see people like Jesus does, that becomes our motivation through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

“Do you have God’s heart for people?” It comes back to spending more time with Jesus, the more of his heart we are exposed to the more we will learn and be able to share his love and grace. Being the salt and the light is about responding differently, forgiving quicker, loving more. Serving is so much more than just carrying 500 bags. Anyone can carry them. Only Jesus can love while carry them. We need Jesus. Working in a non-Christian environment for Christians is hard because we want to impose our moral conduct onto those around us, rather than sharing the grace and love we first received from God, before we started to change our behavior. Belong, Believe, Behave (stole that from someone). A father always offers love and comfort and a place to feel safe and loved before he offers discipline and direction. So, please pray for us, that we will see people, like God sees them. That we will love people like God loves them. That we will serve people like Jesus served God.

Key Verse:

Luke 1:3-4 “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”


Luke records the story of the life of Christ and His ministry. Covering the same time period as the other Gospels, Luke seems to focus on the humanity of Jesus. Luke was both a physician and an accomplished historian. The Gospel, bearing his name, was written for the purpose of being a chronicle of the life and ministry of Jesus. It was written to a public, political figure, as a treatise on the life of Christ.

CSSI Devotion Making Jesus Famous? I have heard people say they want to make Jesus famous. That sounds wonderful, but I’m not sure Jesus wants the help. The irony is, while He was on earth, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to become famous, to leverage His influence for the Kingdom. And yet, He resisted. He repeatedly told the people He healed to be quiet about the miracle, or to simply present themselves to the priest for confirmation of their cleansed state. On one occasion, when a man who was tormented by demons was set free, the man pleaded with Jesus to let him travel with Jesus. The man could have been Jesus’ opening act, the dramatic testimony that would “build faith” in the crowds before Jesus took the stage. Yet, Jesus tells the man to simply go home and tell his own people what the Lord had done. And when Jesus did set His face toward Jerusalem, it wasn’t to perform a spectacle at the Temple, as Satan had earlier suggested He do; Jesus went to Jerusalem, to the epicenter of culture, to die. But what about the crowds? There were still crowds of people who followed Jesus around. For all His efforts, Jesus was still, in a very real sense, famous. True, but what Jesus chose to do and say among the crowds is instructive. He fed them, taught them, often performed miracles and did everything He could to leave them or drive them away. In John 6, Jesus does all of the above. After performing one of His greatest miracles—the feeding of the 5,000—the crowd got so excited they insisted on making Jesus king “by force.” Think of it: The people were going to make Him king by force. Isn’t that what Jesus came for? Couldn’t God “use this for His glory”? Jesus seemed rather uninterested in a large following or in growing His fame. For Jesus, immortality—living forever, the eternal kind of life—was not in the gods of fame or success, but in knowing “the only true God” (John 17:3, TNIV). And this, more than anything else, is what Jesus wants for us, too. This article originally appeared in Neue magazine

God Speaks Softly When Elijah went to the mountaintop to search for God, a hurricane force wind came out to meet him. Following it, came an earthquake, and then a forest fire. But the story says simply: But God was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire (1 Kings 19). He wasn’t in the natural disasters. Elijah had to listen intently because God came to him as a still, small voice. So often, Christians want to demonstrate God with our version of those natural disasters. We want to shout loudly with irresistible, fiery force. We want Christians to declare to America what God thinks—with thunderclaps and lightening. We want Christians to speak out boldly and lobby the government for our agenda. God speaks softly Source: Relevant Magazine

Why Blank? Like a surfboard, we all begin as a raw blank; scuffed up, yellowed and not so pretty. As the master shaper, God works in us to shape us for His glory and to His plan. We may not know exactly what our final shape will look like, but He is the master shaper and we have to trust in his plan. You may want to be a big wave gun and he may be shaping you into a fish. Why a fish? He has a plan to use you when a wider outline, slightly thicker rail and fuller tail is needed. How well will you work, for His glory, if your outline is for Pipe and you are surfing Ocean Ave.? We will never be glassed. In this shaping bay, the Master Shaper is never finished with us.

Blank Magazine Fall 2013  

Christian Surfers Sebastian Inlet Blank Magazine Fall 2013