RIP Dick Catri — Godfather of East Coast Surfing Passes Away

May 15, 2017 / News

Dick Catri aboard his charter boat, Escape II, on the Indian River Lagoon, circa 2012. Photo: Mez


ESM is saddened to report the passing of Dick Catri, the Godfather of East Coast surfing and a true maritime legend, on Monday, May 15th. From founding one of Florida’s first surf shops to organizing teams in the 1960s that took down top Californians to kickstarting the Space Coast’s nascent shaping industry to proving Right side resiliency on his own in Hawaii’s waves of consequence to cultivating the careers of East Coast superstars like Kelly Slater, Catri literally did it all across three-quarters of a colorful century. Best of all, he lived each moment with a smile on his face, a joke at the ready, and a true swashbuckler’s attitude to life. They definitely don’t make ’em like Dick Catri anymore, making this particular passing a tough one for every East Coaster who at some point, somewhere, somehow came under Catri’s wing. Below is our comprehensive 2013 profile, in which then-Editor Allison Arteaga encapsulated much of Captain Dick’s colorful life. Read on and remember the man who laid the groundwork for nearly every aspect of East Coast surfing.

“You can’t let [anything] take away from the joy of surfing. That in itself is what brings us all together.” -Dick Catri

At The Helm With Dick Catri

The Man Who Charted The Course Of East Coast Surfing

By Allison Arteaga

There is one man among us who has seen it all. He has stood before the mast of this strange ship of ours since the moment we first made way. He charted our course, raised the anchor, and hoisted the sails. He set our entire world in motion then stepped back into the shadows. But even now he stands watch. And if you dare look into his eyes, you’ll see his remarkable journey — the entire history of East Coast surfing — reflected right back at you. His name is Dick Catri, and he has one hell of a tale to tell.

Really, the story of Dick Catri is the story of us all. Take a look at East Coast surfing today, and there’s not a single aspect that can’t be traced back to him. He pioneered and protected our best breaks, paved the way for local shaping success, developed our contest and industry scenes, championed East Coast surfing on the international stage, and nurtured our pool of talent to produce some of the best surfers the world has ever known.

Catri now leads a quiet life nestled into a cottage along the sparkling shores of Central Florida’s Indian River Lagoon with his wife, Teri, and their two Labrador retrievers. But when he greets fellow East Coast surfers with a smile and a firm handshake, there’s a knowing glint in his eyes that reminds you he’s no ordinary man. He’s seen it all, he knows your story even better than you do, and if you ask him, he just might tell it to you…

Every Story Has A Beginning

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