"It's just unbelievable that that much was spent on something very few people attended — and it has to stop."
Today is professional surfing’s official opening day and can’t you just feel the crackle of excitement? Can’t you just smell the surf-starved masses breath? A mix of nail polish and rotten fruit? The people have been deprived of their surfing for too long but today, finally, it ends.
Oh our diet is an expensive one though. The World Surf League pours our millions of dollars so we can dine like mad fools and local municipalities empty their coffers too because surf is great and surf is good. It brings masses of tourists and if you throw a surf contest they will come and etc.
Well, it appears that Florida’s Space Coast tourist department, home to the Florida Pro, spent lots more on that Florida Pro than city councillors and elected officials were comfortable with. Let’s read their gripes. Let’s catch the argument full swing.
New financial documents show that the Space Coast Office of Tourism spent more than $400,000 of tax money on a surf competition at Sebastian Inlet State Park, far more than previously cited.
Largely because of that, the office’s new executive director, Peter Cranis, said he will recommend that the agency no longer directly oversee events such as the Florida Pro Surf competition and a companion music festival.
“I don’t believe we should be in the business of producing events,” Cranis said.
Cranis said the office’s marketing director, who oversaw the events, is resigning to pursue other interests.
Cranis joined the Office of Tourism staff on March 4, and was not at the agency when the spending took place.
The $422,000 far exceeds what the office previously said was spent on the surf competition:
• On Feb. 27, Office of Tourism Marketing Director Tiffany Minton told members of the advisory Tourist Development Council that the agency spent about $280,000 for event costs and marketing.
• On March 5, she sent a follow-up email to Tourist Development Council Chairman Tim Deratany, indicating that $259,557 was spent on event support and marketing for the two events, plus approximately $75,000 for production of video and other materials related to the event. That total equals $334,557.
• On Friday — a day after FLORIDA TODAY made an additional inquiry to Minton about the spending — Cranis provided a spreadsheet indicating that $421,991 was allocated to the account tied to the Florida Pro event.
Both Cranis and Tourist Development Council Chairman Tim Deratany on Monday said they were concerned about the amount the Office of Tourism spent on the event.
“It’s just unbelievable that that much was spent on something very few people attended — and it has to stop,” Deratany said. “It’s very, very frustrating to me to have something like that happening.”
Jerks. $422,000 ain’t nothing when it comes to producing surf contests. Live a little! Those old folks who mostly populate Florida’s Space Coast won’t even know its gone!