Wayne Coombs, Mai Tiki Gallery Owner Dies

By  //  September 4, 2012

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BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA —  Wayne Coombs, a Cocoa Beach legend and one of the Space Coast’s favorite and most famous artists, died suddenly today around lunch time. He was 62.

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. (waynecoombs.com image)

An apparent heart attack occurred while  Coombs was mowing the lawn at his gallery in Cocoa Beach.

“Wayne had a heart attack 10 years ago and we all thought he was doing well,” said Beki Coombs, his wife of 35 years.

His diligence, style, and creativity in the Art of Tiki garnered him legendary status and respect worldwide.

“Wayne’s distinctive style is especially evident in his colorful paintings,” said WayneCoombs.com.

“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.

“Coombs 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.”

Mai Tiki has always been a “must see” in Cocoa Beach, Florida.


  1. Giles,
    Very nice to have seen you at the BMA awards show. Just wanted to say this is a very nice representation and tribute to Wayne’s artistic legacy. Thank you for putting this together. Hope to see you again soon.
    Best personal regards,
    Kenny C

    • Just saw this site while on my sailboat anchored off key west. How are ya? Id heard Wayne died a couple months back from Peggy Locke. Bummer for sure. Id known him from the late 60s just from the beach scene but got to know him better when we were both in single cells up in T-ville in 72. Him on some little weed thing and me on violation for the same. He used to make these crazy tarzan movie style bird noises into the ventilator duct in the cell above me. It carried through the whole jail and pretty soon,a bunch of idiots were coppying him and driving the jailers nuts. We both got a little state time and he was at the reception/intake center up in Lake Buttler when me and Donnie Piazentine arrived. We left there together after wayne ,to go to our new homes. Don to Avon Park where Wayne was and me to Desoto Correctional Inst. outside Arcadia. Got to talk to wayne in the mess hall at Avon where we ate lunch and there wasnt even a fence. He was wearing levis and an Ohare tee. Said he was carving stuff for the free men . Probably ran the place. Anyhow,thats the side of Waynes life you wont read along with the flowery stuff on this site. Lots of respect for the guy. That period was part of lifes richness that made him what he was. You take care bro. THE JAY GRANT

  2. Wayne is someone that everyone wants to know, he is a joy to be with, always smiling, and an incredible artist. My company, Buya Surfwear, commissioned a few Tikis for a clothing rack system for retailers many years ago(1992). The Tiki Racks were highly favored by all who saw them, and it added much joy to our company to have such great talent helping our company portrait a beach lifestyle in our displays, that no other could create with such character. We will cherish his work forever. Wayne, we love you, and the world will miss you.
    You are a legend! Rest in Peace my friend.
    Phil Ammon
    Owner – Buya Surfwear

  3. One of my very best friends left us so suddenly and I didn’t get a chance to speak to him before he departed. I can’t believe I just called him yesterday to tell him about my CD, and the call didn’t go thru. I don’t know how anyone will take this, but I loved this man with all my heart. Not like the kind of love he had for his wife, but the kind of love that comes when you are a very close, special friend. He was a very good friend to me, one that I could talk to about anything, and he would drop the tool in his hand, and sit down to listen to me. Whether I went to him about marketing advice, or careers changes, he took the time to listen and impart sage, honest and guiding advice. He was so talented, and had such an intelligence about him that went beyond his art. He understood human nature, he understood the good, bad and ugly about life, but never with disdain, just putting things in perspective. I loved his persistence in his art, I use to tell him he was our local Icon. I loved his spirit, his laugher, his charm, his humor, his friendship. He will be sorely missed. He was one of my bestest friends… I am so sad to see him gone so suddenly.

    “GOD SPEED . . . .

    “Yes . . . it is ART!”


  5. Wow, I couldn’t believe the news…such a legend in our community, gone so soon. 🙁
    Your passion and talent will live on forever through your artwork. It seems like just yesterday we were neighbors for almost 15 years. My deepest condolences go out to ur wife and family.
    May you rest in peace buddy
    Capt bucket and Missy

  6. I’m so very sorry and my heart goes out to you Beki you guys were a great couple forever. We go way back to the Pier days in the 60’s and had a lot of laughs together he was the best. I loved his big smile and grin and his deep laugh and he could tell a great story. I was a very big fan of your best friend and he will be missed by many.

    God Bless


  7. My heart goes out to you Becki . Wayne was always good to me and I will never forget the little projects we worked on. Cocoa Beach has lost another Icon from it’s history of a few .

  8. Wayne and I were 10th grade friends at Cocoa High, we took biology together (Mr. Bell). In 1966, Wayne was way ahead of his time, the craziest, and more artistic person at our school. Wayne bleached his hair with Clorox and ate morning glory seeds. He always made me mad at school, and then you know what he did? He kissed me on the mouth at Tiger Den–just to make me mad, it my 1st kiss! I was furious……..I’ll never forget Wayne, he was a beautiful, funny person, with a sweet soul. Mary Hill Matthews. age 62

  9. We were so sorry to hear this sad news when we visited our favorite gallery. Duncan and I immediately fell in love with Wayne’s art. We stopped by with our family members this summer because our on in law is a young artist. The world was lucky to have such a talented person and he and Beki were a great team.

  10. Very sad. My wife and I met Wayne in his gallery a couple of years a go. We couldn’t buy a Tiki at the time as we were flying home and couldn’t figure out how to pack it. I am driving back from Florida April 2 and had planned on dropping in to finally buy that Tiki…

    Wayne gave us a tour of the studio, he had a mild panic attack when I started taking photos of his Tiki’s. He was very easy to talk to, the kind of person that I remember years later even though I only met him once.

    RIP Wayne

  11. Condolences to his family. When we came down to visit in 2009, We came by the studio to buy a tiki god. Wayne sat down with us and talked about where we were from. (MI) Really nice guy. Our cats rub on that tiki God daily. Next time we come down we’ll swing by again. Sorry for your loss.

  12. Wow! All I can say is how sad I am to know that Wayne has died. I met Wayne in 2009 at his studio. I was floored by his talent. He was so passionate about his gallery. I had the oppertunity to purchase a rootball tiki but I did not have away to get it home. I regret not having Wayne cultivate one of his legendary tikis. God rest your soul.

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