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Boards and Waves Expo 3

Story By John Knoke

When I was invited by my friends at Surf Guru to attend the boards and Waves Expo 3 this weekend at the Melbourne Auditorium, I was honored, and super excited to see how the surfing industry in Brevard County was holding up. I was pleasantly surprised to see the turnout and how many craftsmen were there. George Robinson, Ricky Carroll, Allen White, Claude Codgen and so many others were there. I bumped into Matt Kechele of Matt Kechele Surfboards and Ron Long from FCS, and I had many conversations with old friends and surfing comrades. The auditorium was full of craftsmen, artists, vendors and great people. Paddleboards, sunscreen, art, traction, surfing websites, surfboards, fat tired bikes, anything to do with the Space Coast beach lifestyle, it was there. Even the guys from the First Peak Project were there nobly rallying support in an effort to restore our lost “First Peak.” The event was no doubt a success, and, as an avid, life-long surfer from the Melbourne Beach area, I was proud and excited to see the surf industry holding strong. I was also glad to see a lot of old friends and so many great ambassadors of surf. Honestly though, the one huge bummer for me was that the ultimate East Coast surfing ambassador was not there.

I was super stoked to see the turnout, but I was honestly there to see the ceremony for Dick Catri, “The Godfather of East Coast Surfing.” Pete Dooley, George Robinson and Ricky Carroll all spoke about Catri, and his lovely daughters were presented with a gorgeous painting of their Dad surfing Waimea Bay in the early days. When I was younger, I swam with Dick’s girls competitively at the Space Coast Swim Team. We spent quite a bit of our time in the pool and often carpooled to meets. For the record, I could never beat Kim-no boys could.  Her Dad was a waterman and there can be no doubt that his girls had his genes. After recently losing my father, I wanted to pay my respects to the girls as I know how hard it was for me, and I knew the girls were certainly dealing with a lot of emotion due to their father’s notoriety and the huge outpouring of love for him. Dick was good to me as a young surfer, making me boards, driving us to swimming, teaching me about training and surfboards, and I could always get some wax at Shaggs if I needed it. Through the years, I got to know Dick Catri from a man’s perspective. He was always a great story teller, an unbelievable fisherman, and he had an aura that emanated from him. A few months back at the “Gathering of the Tribe Event,” I was so proud to have Dick come over and sit with me at my table. We talked about the changes in Brevard, his adventures, and he, as always, had me hypnotized with the stories of his life. What a life it was! I know people are calling Dick the “Godfather,” to many other younger surfers in Brevard and me especially, he was more like an ocean father!
 


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