Home Arts & Culture Remembering Surf Legend Yancy Spencer III

Remembering Surf Legend Yancy Spencer III

Twelve years ago, thousands of locals from the surf community and beyond paddled out on Pensacola Beach in memory of Yancy Spencer III.


If you’re a local, especially a surfer, you remember Spencer as The Godfather of Gulf Coast surfing. The title stems from the 1960’s when Spencer started the surf scene on the the shores of Pensacola Beach. Shortly after, he became a full-fledged professional surfer, the first of his kind from the panhandle. He was successful competitively (in 1972 he won the East Coast Pro in a field that included the likes of David Nuuhiwa and Dale Dobson), and made frequent appearances in magazines and films.

If you’re new here, your connection to Spencer might be that you have visited one of his several surf and skate shops along the Gulf Coast, Innerlight Surf Shops. Or you have strolled past the life-size bronze statue located on Casino Beach lawn at Pensacola Beach.

If you’re a Godly person, your connection might be through your and Spencer’s shared love for Jesus Christ.

“There were two things that defined Yancy. The first being a deep devotion and daily walk with God, a prayer list that spans almost 40 years, and a concern for those less fortunate…the second is his great passion and love for the sport and art of surfing and within that his good business sense bloomed into Innerlight Surf Shop, so named in honor of Jesus? He is the Innerlight,” words from Spencer’s obituary.

His work in the Christian ministry and the tremendous work he did for the Pensacola community and others is still remembered and highly regarded today.

No matter your connection, we encourage you to read Spencer’s full story on Innerlight’s website and celebrate his life and legacy today.

“I wanted to know the God who created the waves that I loved to surf so much. If He expected me to live a certain way, then I wanted to live that way to please Him. I no longer wanted to control my life; I wanted Him to have control,” Yancy Spencer III.

Photo by Brian L. Butler