Hurricane forces changes for cruise line, Brevard surf competition

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —

Residents up and down Florida's east coast are getting ready for Hurricane Sandy to make its pass by the state.

In Brevard County, thousands of people boarded cruise ships Thursday to head out into some of the roughest seas the area has seen in months.

The Sueiro family from Sarasota drove across the state to Brevard County for the vacation of a lifetime.

They said they have been watching the weather closely, though they are fully aware now that their ship will eventually cross paths with Hurricane Sandy.

Already, one stop at Disney's Castaway Cay has been rerouted. Passengers will be spending a day at sea instead.

"That's really a bummer, because you set out for something. But that's alright. We will stay on the ship and have fun," said passenger Renee Sueiro.

Carnival Cruise Lines has been making changes to the itineraries of its fleet, too.

The ship Sensation will also spend a day at sea, and two other ships which were being rerouted for a day at Port Canaveral, to avoid bad weather in the Bahamas, are now changing course again and going straight back to their homeports to avoid the storm altogether.

People getting off the ships that arrived in Port Canaveral Thursday said they were rocking pretty good.

Hurricane Sandy, the kind of storm that can excite surfers, has forced a change in plans for a big-name surfing competition.

On the beach in front of Coconuts, volunteers did what they could to set up barricades and scaffolding for this weekend's Slater Brother's Surf Invitational.

The setup was limited though, as the winds from Sandy grew stronger over the course of the day.

One hundred of the world's best surfers were supposed to hit the waves starting Friday, but the hurricane threw a wrench in that

"The amount of people we have in this contest; it is an invitational. We have enough time to run it in two days," said organizer Sean Slater.

The Slaters said they are going to hold what they've dubbed the world's biggest hurricane party at Coconuts Friday night with the hopes of still raising cash and awareness for the World Skin Cancer Foundation.

"You know, the whole point of it is to get people screened for skin cancer, so it is a charity event," said Slater.

Slater said if the storm passes as forecast, surfers could see some of the best surfing waves they've ever seen at the meet on Sunday.