The 5th Annual Thunder On Cocoa Beach Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix will take place May 14 - 18. It is a sanctioned event and is considered by many to be the premier offshore boat racing event on the East Coast. It is also considered to be a 5-day party event by many.
The sport of powerboat racing can trace it's beginnings back to 1887 in France. Sporadic events have been recorded, mostly in France, until 1964, when the World Championship format was created. Multiple races are held at venues around the world, leading up to the World Championships in Key West, FL.
The boats used by racers have sophisticated engines and transmissions and speeds of over 125 mph are not unusual. The boats are prepared and maintained by professional engineers. And their crews are protected by sophisticated safety equipment as they are strapped into body-hugging race seats.
According to their website, the following schedule for the Cocoa Beach event has been released:
May 14, Wednesday - 6 - 10:00 p.m. – VIP, Media & Sponsor Reception at Hilton Cocoa Beach. There will be an open bar and free food. Event is for Invitation and VIP only.
- May 15, Thursday - Kick-off Party. Juice N'Java Cafe will host a party that will be open to the public, from 6 - 10 p.m. Food, drinks, live music and the chance to meet the race teams will be available.
- May 16, Friday - Super Boat Street Party. The public is invited to meet the racers and see the Super Boats up close. The fun will begin at 6 p.m.
- May 16, Friday - VIP Party. Food, drinks, live music, and the chance to meet the race teams will be featured. This party, requiring VIP tickets, will be held at Coconuts On The Beach.
- May 17, Saturday - Bikini Contest. The contest will be held at 7 p.m. on the main stage at Race Village in Port Canaveral.
- May 18, Sunday - Super Boat Grand Prix. The race begins at 12 p.m. and runs beachside between Cocoa Beach Pier and Lori Wilson Park.
Viewing and entrance to most events is free and there are three VIP tickets currently available:
- $74.97 provides access to VIP Reception, VIP Beach Cabanas, VIP Party sections, and an official hat and t-shirt.
- $59.97 provides access to VIP Reception,VIP Beach Cabanas, and VIP Areas at parties.
- $24.97 will allow access to VIP Beach Cabanas on Sunday, the day of the races.
Where to watch
Three locations will be set up for viewing:
- Cocoa Beach Pier - 401 Meade Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
- Shepard Park - 211 E. Cocoa Beach Cswy., Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
- Lori Wilson Park - 1500 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Last year, organizers estimated the four-day event attracted 80,000 spectators and had a $16 million economic impact on the local economy.