Family, Friends of Wayne Coombs Gather In Remembrance

By  //  September 23, 2012

in remembrance

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA — Friends and family of beloved and  famed Cocoa Beach artist, Wayne Coombs, who passed away September 4, gathered at the late artist’s Mai Tiki Gallery in Cocoa Beach to share memories of the recently departed artist.

Wayne Coombs, a Cocoa Beach legend and one of the Space Coast's favorite and most famous artist, died suddenly today around lunch time. He was 62. ( image)

Over 200 people attended the remembrance of Coombs and reminisced citing fond memories that they had of the larger than life character that was Wayne Coombs.

“Wayne was an original…like his art,” said surfing friend Pete Dooley.

“We all miss him a lot. It’s tough.”

“I lost a really good friend,” said Ray Baldino, a fellow artist in Cocoa Beach.

Coombs wife and partner Beki, was wearing her trademark beautiful smile with eyes wet with tears.

“Wayne would have loved to see all his friends,” she said.

Coombs passed away at 62 and was born in Miami.

After moving to Cocoa Beach at 14, he opened his first art gallery in 1962 called “Free and Creative” and later created the Mai Tiki Studio in 1973.


Wayne’s distinctive style is especially evident in his colorful paintings. Identifying them as a “different Zone”, they are the most current results of his passion to create.

Starting out carving Tikis in 1967, Wayne’s artwork morphed into an identifiable style that emanates from each piece he created, no matter the medium.

His diligence, style, and creativity in the Art of Tiki has garnered him legendary status and respect worldwide, Wayne is credited by many, for this momentum and growth in Tiki carving and exposure, as being the designs that define the look of Tiki today.

Along with his wife Beki, he founded Mai Tiki Studio/Gallery in 1973. It remains a “must see: in Cocoa Beach, Florida, to this day…

Wayne Coombs saw something in his discarded palettes, figures and flowers of all forms caught his eye. These reconstituted “found” art pieces became all the rage in The Mai Tiki Gallery.  Next Wayne began piecing these small misshapen pieces together. Coombs used torn Cardboard for his paint mixing. The creases, the corrugation, the colors, form a depth of art that draws you in.


  1. I love that the City of Cocoa Beach has his Tikis at their Welcome to Cocoa Beach displays. I hope that remains in place, as he was very much a part of this community. His artwork is his legacy, and it’s nice that he will be remembered just like many other celebrities that have made Cocoa Beach a very special to live. I will miss his smiling face at the Space Coast Art Show Thanksgiving weekend. I remember when his artwork was selected for the poster for the Art Show, and I am so glad I have an autographed copy. Perhaps the art show will consider recognizing him some way at this year’s event.

  2. I am sadden to hear the news my buddy Wayne-O departed. I cherish the memories of hanging out at the Tiki Gallery talking story, laughing and his larger than life soul. Always excited, showing all the cool things he was working on. Bekki and Wayne, ying yang the perfect balance. He carved out of cypress a beautiful island girls face which is the center piece of our home alongside with many of his tikis and Easter island heads. we are surrounded by his presence.
    Bekki, my heart goes out to you, we are here for you always 🙂

    Aloha Oe ( Farewell to Thee) Queen Liliokalani-Hawaiiana

    Aloha Oe, Farewell to thee,
    O beauteous one who lives among the flowers,
    One fond embrace before I leave,
    Until we meet again…..

    Aloha and Mahalo for being part of our lives 🙂

    Ofelia and Dennis Derr


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