The Surfinista

Surfing; Skateboarding; Sunshine; Friendship; Good vibes; Local art; A relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, and fresh, healthy food – All the things that make cocoa beach cocoa beach contribute equally to the character of the surfinista, and it’s hard to imagine one existing without the other.

You could say that The Surfinista is a microcosm of the beachside town so many love so well. It’s manifested here physically in the excellent food and beverages, as well as spiritually, as evinced by the strong local following it has enjoyed since it opened in November 2009. The all-embracing Surfinista ethos is the same today as it was back then: to feed the body as well as the soul.

That ethos developed both naturally and by design, as owners and devoted waterfolk Diane and Bruce Reynolds explain. “When we travel, we like to experience a representative slice of wherever we are. The Surfinista was on opportunity to create that here in Cocoa Beach.”

“Every community needs a place that is specific to its wants and needs – a really strong place where people feel comfortable being themselves and expressing themselves and meeting and making new friends,” Bruce says. “From the beginning, we wanted people to feel like it belonged to them – a place where they have taken ownership. We let our customers set the tone of the place. I think that rich spirit of aloha just developed and expanded organically.”

It’s fitting, then, that this hugely popular place is more of a lifestyle than run-of-the-mill café. While it’s a breakfast and brunch spot, health-food haven, smoothie and juice bar, entertainment venue, and coffee shop, The Surfinista also regularly plays host to organized meetings and facilitates the kind of daily, impromptu connections between locals of all backgrounds that keep our community ticking.

Diane grew up in an atmosphere where it wasn’t unusual to have 20 people at the dinner table some nights. “Everyone was welcome,” she says, and it holds true at The Surfinista today. Bruce, a multi-talented artist and designer whose work (along with those of many other artists) adorns the walls here, remembers planning and constructing clubhouses and forts as a kid, so it’s no wonder that The Surfinista the perfect clubhouse, a culmination of his youthful desire for a place where camaraderie holds sway. “Surfing has a rich heritage in this area,” he says, “and we wanted to create a communal place for the whole surfing ‘tribe.’”

There’s no doubt that surfing informs a major part of Surfinista’s identity, but it also readily embraces all the related aspects of that lifestyle and its inclusive, open-hearted philosophy. Young families, landlocked tourists, and retirees flock here and love it with just as much verve, and it also draws people who’ve embraced healthy, mindful living thanks to a selection of fresh and unique creations that offer nutritional and spiritual sustenance.

Along with six specialty bagel creations (our favorite: The Strawberry Alarm Clock – melted Havarti with a side of strawberry jam), there’s a selection of healthy oatmeal or yogurt bowls and breakfast egg sandwiches served on either English muffin or croissant. Lunch is covered by made-from-scratch soups, salads, sandwiches, and wraps, but The Surfinista owes the bulk of its success to the humble açaí berry.

acai bowl from The Surfanista

Pure, organic açaí pulp is used for incredible smoothies and fresh juices, but it’s as açaí na tigela(“açaí in the bowl”) that the antioxidant-rich fruit is best represented. Açaí bowls have long been the traditional energizing surf food for Brazilians, and there are eight different bowl preparations (often topped with other fresh fruit and granola) here, our favorite of which, the On Surfari, incorporates vegan protein powder, flax and hemp seed, supergreens, and a variety of tropical fruits.

Cold-pressed juices are also a signature Surfinista offering. They contain a variety of ingredients, from sweet fruits to greens, and are prepared in a way that extracts all of the nutrients without destroying their enzymes, unlike traditional juice processing methods. One of the most refreshing blends kale, spinach, broccoli, celery, cucumber, apples, and fresh ginger.

In a way, The Surfinista vibe is cold-pressed as well, resulting in a spirit distilled from all the goodness the beachside has to offer. “From the first day,” Bruce and Diane agree, “we ran The Surfinista on a nurturing philosophy rather than on a business philosophy. We still do. We’re not just moving widgets.”

The Surfinista is located at 86 N. Orlando Ave. in the heart of downtown Cocoa Beach. Call (321) 613-3864 or look for them on Facebook: “The Surfinista”

The Cosmos Are Smiling On Space Coast Anglers

As I sit down to write this report, I’m brimming with excitement and optimism.

I’m as happy as anyone else who had a chance to experience the dolphin bite in the middle of April.

There were a couple of days when the moon and stars aligned and heaven on earth was experienced by some lucky fisherman. I happened to miss the first day, but managed to get into the action on the second day. It was honestly a thing of beauty. There was a strip of green water with Gulf Stream blue water on the inshore and offshore side with a massive current rip on the offshore side. It was pretty much what dreams are made of if you like to troll. Not only did it look right, there were dolphin seemingly everywhere along the edge. In addition to the crazy numbers of fish, they were all quality-sized fish. Average catches were in the high teens to mid-twenties with some boats catching thirty or more. I can honestly say it was one of the best bites of mahi I have ever seen. The only downer was that on the third day, the edge was gone. But, there were still a few fish around in the wide open.

I’m gonna cross my fingers that the moon and stars remain aligned and this is the year our dolphin fishing makes a decided upturn. Assuming said alignment, it will just be a matter of finding the right color change, weedline, or edge. From there, some ballyhoo rigged on mono leaders should do the trick, just troll them close to your teaser. Along with the dolphin, there should be a shot at a wahoo, sailfish or blackfin tuna. The others will be fine on mono, but if you want a shot at the hoo, put a ballyhoo/lure combo rigged on wire in the spread. This bait should be fished on the shotgun or downrigger.

I have to say I’m sorry, but even as good as that mahi bite was, I’m more so looking forward to the opening of grouper on May 1. There were a few around in April, hopefully they will stick around through May. When it opens May 1, the grouper will be in as shallow 75’ on out to the cones. Take plenty of big live baits and possibly a prescription for a sedative. The patience testers will be the red snapper eating all your bait and the sandbar sharks that will eat the fish you hook. A little patience will go a long way to a grouper dinner.

The live bait fishing on the reefs was a bit spotty last month, but I would expect that to get a bit better in May. Usually in May, we get a shot at some big kings as they get ready to spawn. Along with the kings, there could be a shot at a blackfin tuna, wahoo, sailfish or cobia. The live bait has been a bit tough lately, but with some decent weather, maybe they’ll settle down in one area.

People always ask me “What’s the best month to fish?” I always tell them “Why, May of course!” You can pretty much catch anything in May, so there are so many options.

Whatever it is you wanna go for, go for it. Just get out there and get after ‘em. It’s not going to happen if you’re stuck doing honey do’s.

See ya on the pond!