Dick Catri

Photo: Surfline

Remembering Dick Catri – East Coast Surfing Legend

Dick Catri was an original inductee into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and a 1966 inductee into the International Hall of Fame. He was also an East Coast local living in Melbourne Beach. Locals called him the”Old Man and the Sea”  as he was a true waterman (a world-class surfer, fisherman and charter boat captain).
Dick was born in New Jersey in 1938, but grew up in Miami, FL.  As a teenagers, Catri got a job at a pool on Miami Beach. His job was to fetch towels for the rich and famous. There he met world champion high diver Bert Williams. Williams staged water shows for tourists with Jack “Murph the Surf” Murphy (a surfer from Carlsbad, Calif.). Williams brought Catri on as part of the show as Catri practiced diligently learning to high dive with Murphy. Murphy and Catri soon became good friends. And, in the winter of 1957, Murphy introduced Catri to surfing.

Dick Catri begins his surfing career

“When he opened his Hobie Surf Shop at Canaveral Pier, he had surfers like Mike Tabeling and Gary Propper on his team and set a precedent for boardbuilding in this area,” Matt Kechele said in a Florida Today obituary. “He employed a lot of craftsmen, like Greg Loehr and Larry Pope, and it was a great business model.”

He made a HUGE impact in the area. Icons like Matt Kechele remember sweeping floors in Catri’s Primo Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach. And, along with Kechele, shapers like Greg Loehr and Larry Pope and many other great craftsmen worked alongside Catri over the years.

With

Later in the early 90’s Catri Shagg’s Surf Shop off Fifth Avenue in Indialantic. Again he stacked the team with riders like Kelly and Sean Slater, O’Hare, Todd Holland, David Spier and Troy Propper.

Sean remember’s …”We used to pile in my dad’s brown VW van every Sunday and head down there to practice. We’d do exercises on the beach … he was a good guy, taking us in, teaching.”

 

“I think we’re all grateful for his contributions that he made for surfing, for his friendship, for his moral support,” Kechele said. “We all looked up to him.”

Dick Catri was someone who paved the way for this generation of East Coast surfing. He will not be forgotten.