Dave Huff has the unusual distinction of winning the 1984 US Surfing Championships in Hawaii – along with Kelly Slater, [that’s right, the Kelly Slater] He was 35 and Kelly was 12. Dave won Sr Mens and Kelly won Boys. Twenty-six years later, Kelly is the 10 time World Champion and Dave runs into him at the unveiling of a statue the City of Cocoa Beach is erecting for Kelly. They speak and he remembers Dave, they get a pic together and Kelly gives him the hat off his head and signs it. It’s vindication for Dave that he was once a US Champ for sure! Since that time Dave has spent over 30 years traveling and surfing, he absolutely lived for the next surf session!
Now at the ripe old age of 75, Dave doesn’t surf anymore. He has health problems which keep him out of the waves, but if you know Dave, you know he’s a surfer at heart and always will be.
Recently, [May 2022] we caught up with for him for his 75th Birthday and he wanted to surf for one last time. So his friends Mark Patao, Eddie Pitts, Les Sutton, and JD Motes got together and made it happen! It was a small glassy day which was perfect for pushing him into a few swells. His Stoke was revived!
Mark Patao is Dave’s personal caretaker and takes him to the beach frequently. He can’t surf anymore but loves to hangout and relax on the beach. Occasionally, old friends will see him on the beach and stop for a chat.
Everyone has a back story and Dave does too. Dave was raised in a Military Family living in Guantanamo Bay as a kid. Throughout his school years, he was a poor student and felt like he didn’t fit in, later he joined the Navy and he liked it. But one of his Superiors noticed that his basic reading and math skills were poor and sent him for testing. It was determined he had a mental disability and depression followed. He felt lost until he discovered surfing, which turned his life around. He began to compete and joined the ESA. He won a lot of Contest and he found something to live for. Surfing saved his life. Dave states, if any kid out there is having problems with self esteem or mental health, YOU CAN overcome it. Get help, keep trying, and find your niche in life.