VIDEO: ‘Godfather of East Coast Surfing’ Dick Catri Dies Monday, Founder of Catri Surfboards
By Space Coast Daily // May 15, 2017
FOUNDED EASTER SURF FESTIVAL IN 1965
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – East Coast Surfing Hall of Famer Dick Catri died early Monday morning.
“I am sadden to announce on behalf of Cherylnne Catri Kirby, Kimberly Catri Cullen and their entire family the passing of their beloved father Dick Catri,” said Chorthip Cuyno Cousins in a Facebook post.
This year’s Boards & Waves Expo, set next month, will honor the “Godfather of East Coast Surfing” Dick Catri, founder of Catri Surfboards, for his contributions to East Coast surfing.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers goes out to their family and friends,” said Cousins.
“Funeral arrangements will be done by Neptune Society and more details to follow about services. Aloha & God Bless – RIP Dick Catri …. You Will FOREVER Be In Our Hearts.”
FOUNDED EASTER SURFING FESTIVAL IN 1965
The landscape of East Coast surfing, specifically on the Space Coast, wouldn’t be as it is today without the contributions of Catri, who was was born in Carteret, New Jersey, and moved to Miami with his family as a boy.
Upon graduating high school in 1957 he began working as a beach attendant and met a stunt diver named Jack Murphy, who a few years later became internationally known as the diamond-stealing “Murph the Surf’ and achieved infamy for stealing the Star of India, the world’s largest sapphire.
Murphy was the one to show Catri how to ride waves in early 1958, and together, they experimented with building boards and traveled north to introduce surfing to the Indialantic – Cocoa Beach area.
ABOVE VIDEO: Dick Catri’s East Coast Hobie Team consisted of some of the hottest surfers and was the standard by which others were measured. This clip is from the film the Summer of ’67.
After many adventures, including being the first East Coast surfer to ride Pipeline and Waimea Bay, Catri returned to Florida to quench the East Coast’s thirst for surfing, founding the Easter Surfing Classic in 1965 and opening Catri Surfboards in Cocoa Beach in 1968.
In the 1970s, he became involved in the pro scene, founding the Florida Pro contest in 1972.
In the early 1980s, Catri turned his attention to East Coast amateur surfing and coached a number of preteen surfers, including Kelly Slater and Todd Holland.
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