The third Boards and Waves Expo will celebrate the sport of surfing, surfboard builders and shapers, and will also honor East Coast Surfing Hall of Famers, Pete Dooley and Dick Catri. Dooley founded the Natural Art of Surfboards while Catri built Catri Surfboards. Both shaped the landscape of East Coast surfing and greatly contributed to surfboard shaping in the United States.
Here is a brief background on both legends:
Dick Catri traces his roots back to Carternet, New Jersey. His family moved to Miami when he was a little boy. Upon finishing high school in 1957, Catri worked as a beach attendant. During this time, he met a stunt diver named Jack Murphy, who later on became famously known as “Murph the Surf” and for stealing the world’s largest sapphire called the Star of India. It was Murphy who taught Catri how to surf in early 1958. They experimented with building boards and traveled together. The duo introduced surfing to the Cocoa Beach area.
Catri became the first East Coast surfer to ride the Pipeline and Waimea Bay. After his surfing adventures, he returned to Florida and founded the Easter Surfing Classic in 1965. He later on opened Catri Surfboards in Cocoa Beach three years later. He founded the Florida Pro contest in 1972. In the early years of the 1980’s, Catri focused on East Coast amateur surfing and coached a number of groms including Todd Holland and Kelly Slater. Slater later on became an 11-time world surfing champion.
Dick Catri Interview:
Pete Dooley caught his very first wave back in 1963 and got hooked on the surfing sport and culture since. In 1965, he bought a 9’8 longboard from a friend, which he cut down to 8′. The adjustment allowed him to turn better and gain better control. Word of what he did spread like wildfire and by the following year, people traveled miles to see him for a customized board.
Dooley later on moved to Cocoa Beach and observing that all shops still had longboards, he knew he was on to something. Upon finishing high school, he worked part-time to pay for college tuition. During this time, people were still asking him for customized boards. He decided to pool his money with other local surfers and together they began shaping boards full-time.
Pete Dooley and Natural Art Surfboards:
Natural Art Surfboards was founded in 1971 from a group of four passionate surfers led by Dooley. Their goal was to develop the best and most modern surfboard in the world during their time. Natural Art shapers worked very closely with professional team riders to perfect their designs. They got the feedback from top professional riders and used the knowledge to perfect their craft. Their efforts resulted in a world-class surfboard for various waves and surfers all over the world. Natural Art became recognized as one of the most respected surfboard brands in the world.
Ricky Carroll was given the privilege to work for Dooley back in the 1970’s to shape surfboards at Natural Art Surfboards. Carroll shaped a long list of surfboards of diverse designs. He acknowledged the opportunity Dooley gave him 40 years ago as a major influence to his success as a shaper.
During their best years, Natural Art and Catri Surfboards dominated the surfboard manufacturing industry. They had the largest surfboard manufacturing facilities in the United States, and overshadowed many surfboard manufacturers in Hawaii and California.
In the upcoming Boards and Waves Expo to be held on June 3-4, 2017, these two legends will be honored, and a portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to causes related to ocean and surf on their behalf. The expo will be running between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon at the Melbourne Auditorium in Florida.
Subscribe to BlinkSurf for regular updates on surfboard reviews and surf news.