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Red tide may be trouble for O'Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro...



O'Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro

Red tide could suck life out of surf event

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 December, 2007 : - - Brevard County's red tide alert could hack up some trouble for the upcoming $110,000 O'Neill Sebastian Inlet Pro surfing contest. The 192-man event, featuring many of the world's top pros, is set for Jan. 4-11 at the Inlet.

The high concentration of toxic algae has resulted in persistent coughs, watery eyes, sore throats and limited breathing, in addition to killing various forms of sea life. "It's definitely been a nuisance and an irritant," said contest founder and organizer Mitch Varnes of Indialantic.

"If it continues, it would have an impact on spectators and free-surfers, but the guys in the contest would surf. I guess if we had a severe case of red tide, we would look into rescheduling."

Surfers from across the globe, including Shane Beschen of California, Fred Patacchia and Roy Powers of Hawaii and local stars C.J. and Damien Hobgood, are just some of the early entrants.

"This is a rare thing for surf contests," Varnes said. "I've been told that a good nor'easter would sweep the red tide away. We've got three weeks left -- anything can happen.

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Courtesy Florida Today

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