Mission Statement

The East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame is an independent, non-profit educational institution created to honor and memorialize the pioneers, legends, champions and individuals who, through their passion and dedication, have made outstanding and significant contributions to the development and recognition of Surfing on the East Coast of the USA.

Nominations, Voting, and Awards
Every two years the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame inducts 10 new members through a transparent publicly-supported process, plus a Cecil Lear President’s Award winner selected by the Board of Directors.   Every inductee represents the finest surfers, artists, media and industry legends the East Coast has to offer.

Board of Directors


Gary Germain is a New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame member, Class of 2015.

He served on the NJSHOF’s founding steering committee and for the first two years as its first president. Germain remains involved with his home state Surfing Hall of Fame as President Emeritus. In May 2017, Germain was elected president of the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame, replacing founding president Cecil Lear. Germain is a five-decades veteran surfboard shaper and designer under his G-Force Surfcraft label with operations in both New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Germain is also CEO of Esqueleto Surf Co. and BoneWares clothing brands launching late 2022.


Greg Loehr was a member of the East Coast Weber Surf Team, East Coast Champion in 1974.

Greg surfed professionally in the Smirnoff Pro, the Duke in Hawaii, and the Gunston 500 in S. Africa. He also won the Stroh’s Pro, Canaveral Pier Pro, and the Lacanau Pro in France. inducted into the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame in 2016. Owner Resin Research Inc, an experienced member of the nominating committee (18 years), Greg brings significant background in all things related to ECSHOF nominations. East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee class of 2000.


Bob Mignogna is the former publisher of Surfing Magazine, where he had a 30-year career, 1974-2003.

Mignogna served on the Boards of the USSF, NSSA and Surfing America. He was a founding Board member of the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association (SIMA), and continues to serve as Senior Advisor. Mignogna is also Senior Advisor to the Surfrider Foundation, and Founding President of the San Onofre Parks Foundation, which includes the surf breaks at Trestles and San Onofre. Mignogna also served as Director General of the International Surfing Association, 2010-2014, contributing to the successful inclusion of Surfing in the Olympics. Although born and raised in New York, San Clemente, CA is home and Trestles his home surf breaks. He was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2008, when he also received ESM’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


Dave Scibal grew up surfing the Southern Jersey Shore in the 1960s and early 70s, where he competed locally and earned invitations to the East Coast Surfing Championships.

Dave’s surfing on the North Shore of O’ahu in 1973-74 was recognized by his peers and Hawaii’s contest organizers, ultimately earning his a coveted invitation to the Smirnoff Pro/Am in 1974, held at Waimea Bay.
Scibal set up residence in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where he honed his board design craft while working for a number of the industry’s top board builders.  Moving between New Jersey and Florida, he build insurance and real estate development businesses, eventually settling in Orange, Virginia, where he and wife, Charlene, own and operate “The Inn at Willow Grove,” an internationally acclaimed boutique resort-hotel, and several other hospitality and insurance related businesses.
Dave is also a New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 2021), a former member of the Board of Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) in San Clemente, CA and a current member of the Board of US Board Riders.
The Scibals live on “Windholme Farm,” where they tend to their horses and a brood of Irish Wolfhounds.


Sharon is a four-time U.S. Women’s Surfing Champion and East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee 2010.

She grew up in Cocoa Beach, Florida where she participated in competitive surfing as a member
of the Salick and Quiet Flight Surf Teams and won the Eastern Surfing Association Women’s
Championship at Hatteras, and the U.S. Women’s Surfing Championship four times with titles in Girls,
Junior Women, Women, and Senior Women divisions, between 1979 and 1991.

Sharon served as a board member for the Florida Surf Museum, where she was Competition Director for the annual Waterman’s Challenge and was a Founding Member of the Florida “Women of the Waves” event. She has also assisted with judging and competition support of the annual Rich Salick National Kidney Foundation (NKF) contest and the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA).

She has worked for nearly two decades in the youth services department at her local library, where she
develops and manages programs and events. Her outreach activities provide academic, artistic and
cultural experiences extending from the local community to national and global audiences.
Wolfe Cranston still lives in Cocoa Beach and continues surfing in her 60s.


Jim Cartland was born in Miami in 1953 and moved to Cocoa Beach in 1958 during the golden years of the space age and early days of East Coast surfing.

He rode styrofoam bodyboards before graduating to long boards in 1966 and short boards in 1968.
Cartland surfed and became friends with the many great surfers in Cocoa Beach, who often surfed Sebastian Inlet in the early years when the break was considered the premiers surf spot in Florida.  He won his first  contest at Canaveral PIer at age 14 and won the ESA Juniors and the East Coast Surfing Championship in 1970, and second place in the men’s division of the ECSC in 1974.  That year, Cartland  battled with Rick Rasmussen in the famous and well publicized US Surfing Championship at Hatteras in 1974, where he narrowly missed the victory.
He graduated from Florida Technical University (now UCF) with a BS in Mathematics in 1975, and continued graduate work in theoretical math, receiving a MA from University of Hawaii in 1977.   While in graduate school he surfed the North Shore in the winter and Ala Moana in the summer during the “Bustin’ Down the Door” years.
Cartland moved to Santa Cruz and spent the next five years surfing Steamer Lane while working in the aerospace industry.  He then enrolled in medical school at MUSC in Charleston, SC spending 4-5 months doing clinical rotations on the North Shore during his senior year.  His radiology residency training was in Santa Barbara, where he met his wife, Pam.  The Cartlands moved to Central Coast CA in 1994 and have been there ever since.  Over the years, they have traveled globally in search of surf and snow, including many surf trips to Barbados, the Maldives, Tavarua, Indonesia and Central America.


Cecil Lear was the Co-founder of the New Jersey Surfing Association as well as its President from 1963-1967.

He was also Co-founder of the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) and served as its Competition Director from 1967-1970.  From 1971 to 2017 he was the ESA’s Secretary and Historian.  In 1996, Lear Co-founded, along with Greg Noll, the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and served as its President from then until 2017, when he became President Emeritus.  He is also a member of the ECSHOF Class of 1996 and the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame Class of 2015.  In 1969 Lear was given the Surfer Magazine, “Surfers Cup Award;” in 1974 the Nancy Katin “Recognition Award,” and in 2015 Lear was presented the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) “Lifetime Achievement Award” at a formal ceremony held at The Smithsonian in Washington D.C.  Lear passed away in January 2022 at 91 years of age, just days after participating in the Class of 2022 Induction Ceremony.

Advisory Council


Michael Baytoff began surfing on Long Beach Island, New Jersey around 1971.

He developed an interest in photography influenced by his mother, Inge, and an old camera handed down by his German grandfather, Ulli. Shooting stills and motion pictures, Baytoff documented the underground Long Beach Island surfing scene in the 70’s, 80’s and began traveling the East Coast, Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe shooting surfing lifestyle and action pictures.  In 1981, he became the Chief Photographer for the Beach Haven Times, eventually moving on to work on assignments for The Atlantic City Press, The Associated Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today.  Earning his living shooting assignments for hire, as well as self-produced assignments, Baytoff then became represented by the Black Star picture agency of New York. His environmental work included documenting oil spills, including the tragic Valdez spill in Alaska, ocean pollution issues, dolphin die-off on the east coast, as well as bald eagle and peregrine falcon research. Magazines such as Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, People, Audubon, Natural History, Outdoor Photographer, Forbes, Esquire, and Playboy, published his work. Select images from his environmental work was featured in a traveling exhibit by the National Geographic Society. He has photographed world famous celebrities such as; Frank Sinatra, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis Jr., Mike Tyson, Michael Spinks, Vanna White, Donald Trump, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Henry Kissinger. His work has been published in hundreds of books, magazines, newspapers, calendars, and periodicals worldwide.  Through all this, Baytoff still made time to shoot surfing images for Surfing and Surfer magazines. Today, he can still be found shooting his favorite surf breaks on LBI and other Jersey locations, either from the beach or in the water.


Glenn Brumage is the former Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) in San Clemente, California.

He was born and raised on the beaches of San Clemente and has been a lifelong participant in the surf, skate and snow industries. His extensive experience in the water and the office led him to serve on the boards of both trade and cultural non-profit organizations.  Brumage’s love for sharing the influence of surf culture in our society led to the inclusion of historic surfing artifacts in the Smithsonian Museum of American History during the celebration of Duke Kahanamoku’s 125th birthday in 2015.  Brumage currently serves on the Boards of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum and Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame while building a ranch in North County San Diego.


Ricky Carroll  started surfing in the early 1970s in Satellite Beach while still in elementary school, and he built his first surfboard at the young age of 13 after watching his neighbor, Mary Ann Hayes (ECSHOF 2006) build one at her home.

Soon, Carroll was surfing in the ESA and working at the Natural Art Surfboards factory.

In 1975 at the age of 15, Carroll qualified for the ESA Championship at Cape Hatteras and continued to compete in the event for the next 10 years winning numerous divisions.  He also took first place in the US Surfing Championship Paddle Racing and Kneeboard Divisions, along with a Windsurfing title through another organization.  Carroll competed on the USA Surf Team at an ISA World Surfing Championship in Australia as well. Turning pro in 1983, Carroll competed in US and Caribbean pro surfing events for a stretch of seven years and followed that with competing on the ASP Longboard Pro Circuit for a number of years.

During his time as a pro, Carroll continued shaping and building surfboards for Natural Art until he opened his own factory in Rockledge, FL along with a retail store in Satellite Beach, Ricky Carroll Surfboards. Today he continues to manufacture under his name brand but also as a licensee for Takayama Surfboards, Local Motion Surfboards and Surfboards Hawaii. Carroll has shaped for many top pros including C.J. Hobgood (2001 ASP World Champion, ECSHOF 2022), Bonga Perkins, Danny Melhado (OP Pro Junior champ and 3X ASP East Champ), Damien Hobgood (ECSHOF 2020), Cheyne Horan, Justin Quintal (2019 WSL Longboard World Champion), Connie Arias, Daisy Nerida Valdez (PHI), Larry Bertelmann, Rachel Presti and many other stars in the sport.

In 2007 Carroll won the inaugural “Tribute to the Masters Shape-Off” at the Sacred Craft Surf Show in San Diego and won the same title another three years in a row as well as winning the inaugural “Block of Foam Challenge” at the Boardroom Show at Surf Expo. Carroll is now the host and lead judge at the “Florida Shape-Off” held annually at the Surf Expo Trade Show in Orlando.  Finally, Carroll believes in giving back to the sport that has given him so much.  Through the years he has supported numerous organizations and charity events with funding, time and sponsorships including the ESA, Surfrider Foundation, local schools and a myriad of other events.


Pete Dooley was an early proponent of shortboard performance surfing beginning in the the late-1960s when he compiled a team of craftsmen, driven to make high-performance surfing products, and helping found Natural Art Surfboards in Florida.

Dooley was known as an evangelist of professional surfing, professional judging and developing standards for professional surfing events on the East Coast, France, Barbados and Central America.
Through Natural Art’s sponsordship of major East Coast surfing competitions, Dooley was responsible for developing paid judges and the judging rotation system commonly used in top tier surfing events today.  At Natural Art, Dooley was at the forefront Integrating computers to create a production system for surfboards, and he was one of the first surfboard companies to offer custom ordering on the internet, delivering worldwide, while also an early proponent of social media marketing.
Dooley was the Head Judge at numberous IPS/ASP (now WSL) World Tour events in France, California, Panama, East Coast, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and the Harrisburg, PA  wave pool.
Happily married to surfer, entrepreneur Debbie Dooley, with four adult children and seven magnificent grandchildren.  Inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame 2004 and the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame 2015.


Kevin Grondin grew up in New Hampshire where his family traveled to Boynton Beach, Florida during the cold New England winters.

While in Florida, Grondin began competing every Christmas to Easter although he did not fare well at first.  Eventually, he discovered there were plenty of waves in the Northeast, finding great surf in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  He continued to compete and enjoyed the travel and meeting many qualified surfers.  As he refined his competition skills, he earned a spot in the 1974 U.S. Championship at Cape Hatteras, where he made the finals, one of two regular foots – the other being Floridian, Bobby Owens – at the predominantly left breaking Lighthouse Groin.

After High School, Grondin went to college in Florida and Hawaii, where he continued his competitive drive competing in short board, long board and knee board events.  Grondin starred, eventually winning nine East Coast Championship and six U.S. Championship titles. His surfing and communication skills were so good that he was asked to coach the U.S. National Team, which he led to an ISA World Championship in 1996. That team included CJ and Damian Hobgood, Shea and Cory Lopez, Benny Bourgeois, Bryan Hewitson and many other well oiled competitors.

Now in his mid-60s, Grondin enjoys working with his favorite charity, “Surfing with Smiles,” which focuses on a surfing experience with autistic and special needs children.  He also makes time to volunteer for Wounded Warriors, helping vets with disabilities enjoy a day of surfing. Grondin still loves mixing it up, short and long boarding in his home waters of New Hampshire as well as at his home-way-from-home, Rincon, Puerto Rico.


Pam Hill grew up in Ormond Beach, Florida, where she lived one block from the surf.

Hill won her first surf contest in 1967 on a 9’9″ Hanson 50/50.  She joined the Eastern Surfing Association in 1973 and competed at the Eastern Surfing Championship for over 40 years, winning several Iron Women trophies.  Hill was also victorious at the 1993 US Amateur Surfing Championship in Oceanside, California.

Hill graduated from Montverde Academy and attended Daytona Beach State College (formerly DBCC), where she received a degree in Photography.  She spent 32 years as a UPS Delivery Driver while also volunteering as District Director for the North Central Florida District of the ESA.  In 2012 she became the ESA’s Southeast Regional Director, a position she continues to hold today.

Hill’s work with the surf community has extended beyond the ESA as she has helped manage the Slater Brothers Invitational, the National Kidney Foundation Surf Classic, the Easter Surf Fest, and the Tommy Tent Memorial Surf Contest.


The surfing boom of the 60’s hit Hunter Joslin full tilt in 1965 after the 450’ freighter Amaryllis
ran ashore on Singer Island, Florida, thereby creating the best surf break in South Florida.

In 1973 Hunter started working for Lower Eastside Surfboards as a sander and polisher. Around
the same time, with the newly discovered urethane wheels reviving the sport of skateboarding, he
began building skateboards, skimboards and balance boards, which led to his creating the unique
Indo Board design in 1975.
Hunter discovered he had a knack for announcing skateboard contests when he found himself
announcing the first Henry Hester Pro Bowl Series in 1978. In 1983 he picked up the microphone at a pro surfing event for the first time in Jensen Beach, Florida. To date he has announced over 150 professional surfing events including 16 ASP Pro Tour contests. Hunter’s extensive travels helped him develop into a world-class longboard surfer, recognized as a member of the legendary Donald Takayama Hawaiian Pro Designs Team.
Hunter’s worldwide surfing adventures have taken him to 23 countries, and he parlayed those travel experiences into several different business endeavors, including a woodcarving import business from Bali, importing bikinis from Australia, and a travel agency for surfers. In the fall of 1998 the Indo Board Balance Trainer was incorporated and trademarked, and a new era in balance boards was launched.
Hunter has Emceed the ECSHOF Induction Ceremony since 2010, and in 2016 he was honored with induction into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.


Mitch Kaufmann was born and raised in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and grew up surfing around his neighborhood heroes like Bruce Clelland, Joe Roland, Dick Rosborough, and Larry Miniard.

He is a lifetime member of the Eastern Surfing Association, starting in 1972 at the age of 13, and was the North Florida Director for 15 years, from 1996 until 2011.

Mitch has been the Contest Director for the annual Wavemasters ProAm since 1997. He produced a weekly Surfing TV show called “The Radical Side” from 1988 until 2001, which featured surfing and skating footage of local competitions and travel episodes from around the world. Mitch has spent the last 40 years in the video production business and today spends much of his time traveling to Mexico and Central America seeking uncrowded surf conditions.


Born in Belmar, NJ, Nancy Lear is the youngest of Cecil and Mary Lou Lear’s three daughters.

She grew up at the beach traveling the ESA contest circuit with her father, the ESA’s co-founder, attending countless hometown and New Jersey ESA contests  Lear and her family made annual family treks up and down the East Coast to contests at Gilgo Beach, Virginia Beach, Cape Hatteras and Cocoa Beach.  Lear made the move to Dallas, TX where she is an Environmental Social Governance professional working in both the financial services and retail industries. Presently she works for global retailer, 7-Eleven, managing the company’s sustainability and social impact initiatives. Prior to that, Lear worked for PNC Bank managing its Corporate Citizenship and Foundation functions.  In her free time, Lear enjoys family and friends, and loves the outdoors – hiking, kayaking, dogs/dog rescue, art, music, architecture and volunteering.  She has made numerous trips to Hawai’i and the North Shore, and has visited Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria and Italy. She loves to return to hometown Belmar whenever possible, especially summer for sunrise at the beach and body surfing with family and friends.  Lear has been involved with the ECSHOF since the organization’s inception in 1996 supporting her father, Cecil, with administration, communications, logistics and staffing for Surf Expo and the ECSHOF Induction Ceremonies.


“Mez” has been a lifelong fixture of the East Coast surf scene. His first surf shot was published in 1972, in Surfing Magazine.

Mez went on to be a Staff Photographer for Surfing Magazine for 15 years. He was also a Senior Staff Photographer at Surfer Magazine for seven years. He is the co-founder-owner of Eastern Surf Magazine (ESM) and Easternsurf.com, which together have been going strong for over 28 years. Mez is also a member of the ECSHOF Class of 2006, and a Member of the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.


Born in 1955, Mike May’s family roots in Atlantic City, New Jersey go back to the early 1900’s.

He first tried surfing in 1965, and after seeing The Endless Summer and meeting Bruce Brown in 1966, he was hooked.  By the 70’s he was a mainstay at Atlantic City’s best wave, States Ave.  May was active in local contests and ESA events through the 80’s and 90’s along with competing at the top ranks of the competitive South Jersey ESA District. He served on the Board of the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation and was the founder of Paddle For a Cause, its most successful charity event. May is also a founding member of the NJ Surfing Hall of Fame and one of the seven Induction Committee members.  He wrote the definitive story on East Coast Surfing Hall of Famer and protege of Duke Kahanamoku, Sam Reid.  Noted surf journalist Matt Warshaw published an excerpt of the Reid story in his Encyclopedia of Surfing.  May was a casino executive for many years and lives in San Diego with his wife Kate. He has three sons – Steve, Matt and Chris, and a grandson Zephyr. Still an avid surfer he continues to travel to Bali to surf his favorite wave at Uluwatu.


Sandy Ordille grew up on a South Jersey sand bar, barrier island aptly titled Ocean City.

It was, and still is, a hotbed for talented athletes in water sports, in particular surfing.

Ordille’s competitive surfing began at age 12 with participation in town contests, and in 1967 she began competing in ESA events where she usually made the Finals, winning a few events along the way.

Ordille moved to La Jolla, California in 1973 and began to master riding the rock reefs surrounding the coastal community. She became an active member of the Windansea Surf Club, competing in the regional contests up and down the California coast.  This was great training for the inaugural years of the International Professional Surfers (IPS, now WSL) Pro Tour, in which she was an active competitor  from 1977 to the mid-1980’s.

In 1977 she placed third in The Gunston 500 in Durban, South Africa and third in the Waimea 5000 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1982 Ordille was a third-place finalist in the Mazda Women’s World Surf Sport Championship, which took place in San Diego.  She was also a finalist in The Mabo International at Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park in 1983.

In 2016 Ordille was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and in 2017 the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame.



Peter Townend was born and raised in Coolangatta, Australia in the 1950s and 60s.

 Along with his mate and key surfing rival Michael Peterson (MP), they took control of competitive surfing in Australia in the 70s.  Helped define the term ‘pro surfer’ while working for G&S Australia shaping and designing, and as ambassador
A member of the “Bustin’ Down the Door” generation that helped create modern pro surfing as we know it today, and a founder of the Bronzed Aussies, the first professional surfing team
Doubled for actor William Katt as Jack Barlow in the cult surf classic “Big Wednesday”. As the first IPS (now WSL) World Pro Surfing Champion in 1976 and top five ranked through the end of the 70s, he transitioned into a business career in event management, publishing and brand marketing including long stints at Surfing Magazine and Rusty Surfboards and Apparel
Successfully coached at a world class international level for the USA and China guiding surfers to four individual ISA Gold Medals and Team Gold for the USA, and responsible for the founding of Surfing America, which is today USA Surfing, the National Governing Body for USA Surfing with the sport now on the Olympic programme
A longtime TV surfing event commentator for Prime Ticket (Fox Sports) and ESPN in the 90s and still occasionally gets in the broadcast/webcast booth
For the past 20 years has headed up his company The ActivEmpire (ATE) specializing in brand building and strategy, currently overseeing operations as the Executive Director of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.
Also serves on the Board of Directors of Visit Huntington Beach, the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, the Surf Industry Members Association (SIMA), where he served as President 1988-89, the Surfing Walk of Fame, San Diego Sports Innovators, the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Development Bureau, and the Founders Group of the World Surfing League (WSL).
Was married and has three adult children Rana, Jye and Tosh and a granddaughter, Jemmaly.

Our History

Designed by artist Phil Roberts (Class of 2016), the 25th Anniversary logo features illustrations of co-founders Greg “Da Bull” Noll and Cecil Lear.

A Simple Mission Endures
By Andrew Lewis

The East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame began with Cecil Lear and Greg Noll’s belief that the Right Coast deserved some respect. Gary Germain vows to keep it that way.

In retrospect, the breezy days of the longboard age and Gidget and the Beach Boys vaporized overnight. Suddenly, surfing was swept up in the stormy, transformative years of the Sixties. For those surfers who came up then, there is perhaps no more powerful a symbol of this momentous time than the shortboard, its sharp edges and angles a perfect metaphor for an era abruptly lopped, altered, made to be driven in a radically different way. On the East Coast, the rise of the shortboard signaled the beginning of a unique surf culture, led by a small tribe of wave-riders in beach towns from Maine to Texas.

In November of 1967, a thirty-seven-year-old surfer named Cecil Lear, who had been riding waves since childhood but hadn’t actually stood up until he was thirty-one, co-created the Eastern Surfing Association. Cecil, a tall, infectiously easy-going lifeguard from Belmar, New Jersey, and his buddy from New York, Rudy Huber, kicked off the inaugural ESA season the following year with a circuit that spanned from First Beach, Rhode Island to Cocoa Beach, Florida. It was the first time that East Coast surfers, our numbers spread thin by our expansive coast, were united.

Long before the shortboard and Greg Noll thought of an East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame, there were surfers riding waves in Daytona Beach, Florida and in other beach towns dotting the East Coast. Circa 1932.

At the same time that Lear and Huber’s ESA began to grow rapidly, California’s famous board-builders were flooding the surf shops just opening their doors in the same beach towns the ESA visited. By the end of the Sixties, Hobie, Dewey Weber, Bing, Hanson, and Greg Noll were doing regular trips back East with their teams, further spreading their infectious Southern California surf lifestyle with every visit. But for Greg Noll, there was something special about his East Coast brethren that he didn’t want to see diluted by California influence.

“On the West Coast back then, surfing basically spanned a hundred-fifty miles of coast; everybody knew everybody, and all the magazines were there,” Greg told us in 2016. “The West Coast guys got all the glory, all the recognition, and the East Coast guys were just out there hanging.”

From the very beginning, the resentment that East Coast surfers felt from being ignored compared to their Californian counterparts rubbed Greg the wrong way. “They were surfers, too,” he said. “But they were getting shit on. They deserved something, too.”

East Coast Surfing Hall of Famers deserve the attention and credit they receive from being inducted. They can also proudly wear the Hall of Fame’s custom designed ring. Photos Mez / ESM.

Over the next twenty-five years, as the days of Hobie and Weber and Noll team tours faded out, Cecil Lear and Rudy Huber passed on the torch to dedicated executive directors like Colin “Doc” Couture and Kathy Phillips, who grew the ESA into a competitive juggernaut and nurtured the ambitions of kids like Frieda Zamba, Lisa Andersen, Kelly Slater, and the Lopez and Hobgood brothers—all East Coasters who became some of the best surfers our sport has ever seen.


By 1994, Greg was thinking a lot about those old trips up and down the East Coast. So many years had gone by, but still the same thoughts rattled in the back of his mind. “I just thought it would be bitchin’ to do something to tie those guys together,” he said. “Like a family.”
Greg asked around about finding the right person to help him make his idea—an “East Coast Surfing Legends Hall of Fame,” as he called it—a reality. Everyone told him to talk to Cecil Lear. As it happened, Cecil and Greg had crossed paths around 1966, when Greg passed through Belmar on one of his tours, though the two didn’t know it until they reunited at the January 1994 Surf Expo, nearly thirty years later.

“We gotta do this,” Greg told Cecil.

“Geez,” Cecil said, “I hope you do it.”

Greg said he would, but only with Cecil’s help.

Over the next year, Cecil and Greg spent countless hours on the telephone, trying to figure out how the hell they could whittle down the inaugural Hall of Fame class to just twenty. “At first, Greg had about fifty names!” Cecil said in 2016. “I said, ‘Greg, that’s too much. We have to cut it down to ten!’” In the end, they settled for an uneven, but undeniably deserving, twenty-three.

For both Cecil and Greg, the inaugural induction ceremony—held at Surf Expo on the evening of January 13, 1996, in the Valencia Ballroom of the Orange County Convention Center’s West Hall—was nerve-racking. There was no precedent for what they were doing, and they felt that this night would determine the Hall of Fame’s future.

The first Class of 1996 was a star-studded group. How many can you name? (See answers by going to the Hall of Famers page on this website.) Photo Roger Scruggs.

The first Class of 1996 was a star-studded group. How many can you name? (See answers by going to the Hall of Famers page on this website.) Photo Roger Scruggs.

Despite a few last-minute mishaps involving one of the most important aspects of the ceremony—the inductee slideshow—Cecil, Greg and crews from Surf Expo and SIMA pulled together a truly memorable event. As they walked into the ballroom, the air filed with Hawaiian Slack Key and snippets of legendary conversation, Greg turned to Cecil. “Can you believe this?” he asked.

“No,” Cecil said. “I’ve got chicken-skin.”

During the inductions, there were few dry eyes in the ballroom. “The East Coast was finally going to get some recognition for their guys,” said Greg. “There was so much life in that first ceremony.” When it was Greg’s turn to take the stage, he was very clear about his role in the Hall of Fame going forward. “I told everybody, ‘Cecil’s gonna run this thing.’ And then I backed out, and that’s the way it’s been ever since.”

Despite all the hard work he and Greg had done behind the scenes in the two years leading up to the 1996 induction, Cecil was shocked—and remains shocked to this day—that they had pulled the night off. “It was something special,” said Cecil. “The karma, it was there.”

Though Greg stepped away from any involvement in the Hall of Fame as promised, his friendship with Lear remained, as well as his admiration. “If you’re gonna give me credit,” he said, “it’s maybe five percent me and 110 percent Cecil.” No doubt, the two old friends were constantly trying hard to credit the other, but there is no denying that the Hall of Fame wouldn’t be what it is today without their joint effort.

In the two decades that passed after the inaugural 1996 ceremony, Cecil, along with the dedicated help of dozens more of the East Coast’s finest, carried the Hall of Fame through ten more induction ceremonies and 121 more inductees. In their simple wish to honor the men and women who have influenced so many generations of East Coasters, they built an institution that—like our unshakeable passion for riding waves—endured.

ECSHOF co-founders Greg Noll and Cecil Lear, along with Cecil’s wife of over 65 years, Mary Lou. The ones who made the Hall of Fame come alive. Photo Bruce Chrisner.


When it came time to arrange the 20th anniversary induction ceremony, it was paramount that this one stood out from all the rest. Cecil convinced Greg and his wife, Laura, to fly over to Orlando from California and be the Hall of Fame’s guests of honor at the event, once again held in a Surf Expo ballroom, on the evening of January 15, 2016.

Cecil and Greg didn’t have to wait in suspense very long—before the ceremony even began, the room was packed to the gills with a raucous crowd, eager to soak in the history that hung heavy in the air, and, of course, to witness the induction of the 20th anniversary class.

When Greg got up on stage, he looked through the lights and over the crowd with that quintessential, deadpan Da Bull gaze. “This,” he said with a smirk, “is one of the best god damn crowds I’ve ever seen!” The crowd roared. When it was Cecil’s turn to take the dais, he was more reserved than his old pal—as usual—but no less moved by the sight before his eyes. He marveled at the force that East Coast surfers have become today. “I just want to thank each one of you for being a part of this family.”

And then he sprung the news: it was time to pass the torch. After overseeing the induction of so many men and women over two decades, Cecil said he would be stepping down as Hall of Fame President. Waiting in the wings was Gary Germain, then the President of the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame.

Gary had grown up surfing the rock groins of Sea Bright, on the northern Jersey Shore, and when he entered his first contest as a teenager in 1972, he’d gone ahead and won the whole damn thing. From there, it was a quick ascent through the ranks of the ESA and on to a pro career that took him around the world, from Europe to Africa to Indonesia.

The Class of 2018 Induction was Germain’s first as president. Taking place, as always, during the Surf Expo Trade Show in January in Orlando, Florida, with the help and support of Surf Expo, the title sponsor of every induction since 1996. Photo courtesy Surf Expo.

After 20 years as president, Lear turned the reins of the organization to fellow right coast surfer, Gary Germain. Germain left his post as president of the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame to take the position in May 2016, leading the organization representing the entire East Coast from Maine to Florida. Photo Bruce Chrisner.

Gary would later start G-Force Surfboards, and, in 1980, become the ESA’s North New Jersey Director. From there, he went on to work in the restaurant industry, eventually landing at Sysco, where he remains today. But a career outside the surf industry did little to dull the flame of Gary’s stoke—he’s still surfing, still traveling, still ripping. “Restauranteurs are much like surfers,” Gary told us shortly after officially taking the Hall of Fame reigns. “Highly creative, social, adaptive, and always searching for the next venture.”

Through his work building the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame, Gary was a natural choice to succeed Cecil. “I’ve known Gary for many years,” said Cecil, who is now officially the Hall of Fame’s President Emeritus. “He’s a great surfer and fine person, and I’m confident he’ll bring his passion for and dedication to the sport, his vision, leadership skills and talents to achieving the mission we established twenty-two years ago.”

For his part, Gary was both honored and humbled to be asked to fill such an esteemed position. “Cecil’s a co-founder of the ESA, co-founder of the ECSHOF, and has been inducted into three different halls of fame,” he said. “Big shoes to fill, for sure.”


Gary wasted little time getting started. As soon as his new position was made public in March of 2017, he began working with the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors to narrow down the Class of 2018 and pull together that year’s induction ceremony, which saw ten more East Coast legends welcomed into the Hall of Fame family, as well as a special recognition of Alexander Hume Ford, the South Carolina native who tirelessly promoted the sport of surfing in the early 20th century and helped create Waikiki’s now-iconic Outrigger Canoe Club.

South Carolina’s Alexander Hume-Ford was honored with the Special Recognition Award with the Class of 2018 Induction. Ford, a friend of Duke Kahanamoku, is credited with being the founder of the famous Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki. Photos courtesy Outrigger Canoe Club.

Since 2018, Gary has been busy instituting a flurry of changes within the Hall of Fame, most notably the addition of David Scibal, a New Jersey native and former competitive East Coast surfer, to the board, alongside Gary, Cecil, Bob Mignogna, Greg Loehr, and Dick Meseroll. David is also a member of the board of directors at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, in San Clemente, California, and is tasked with overseeing the Hall of Fame’s financial development.

Also under Gary’s direction, a brand-new East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame website was born. Launched in December of 2021, the site is anchored by the bios and photos of all 167 members of the Hall of Fame plus the 11 new members of the Class of 22, as well as a photo gallery of the East Coast’s most iconic surf spots.

Gary has also commissioned legendary artist and member of the Class of 2016, Phil Roberts, to create a 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame logo, which is being unveiled in this article and at Surf Expo. Roberts’ work has been featured across the pages of countless surf mags, not to mention Hollywood movie posters and the pages of National Geographic.

A classic Phil Roberts poster is just the tip of the spear for the 2022 festivities in Orlando. Led by marketing whizzes Peter “PT” Townend and the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center’s former Executive Director Glenn Brumage, the 25th induction ceremony is being accompanied by the Surf Legends Vintage Surfboard Auction, run by New Jersey’s Mike Miggs. Up for grabs are over 30 classic crafts, including a 1958 Pat Curren shape, a Miki Dora “Da Cat,” a Greg Noll balsa, and more boards by Bing, Hansen, Webber and other legendary shapers.

Longtime supporters of East Coast Surfing and the Hall of Fame, and MCs at many of the induction ceremonies, Hunter Joslin (Class of 2018) and Peter “PT” Townend. Photos Bruce Chrisner.

One board that won’t be up for grabs, however, is Miggs’ replica of a 10-foot, Bill Simon alaia, the original of which was shaped for Duke Kahanamoku, who in 1912 introduced surfing to the East Coast. A plaque on the board’s deck features the name of every Hall of Fame inductee. “The board,” Gary said, “will forever enshrine every past and future member.”

Designed by former East Coast surfer, Drew Dougherty, the logo features a drawing of the iconic Greg Noll, ECSHOF co-founder, looking out at second and third reef Pipeline before paddling out into the heavy surf. The image was made famous in the classic John Severson photo.

Designed by former East Coast surfer, Drew Dougherty, the logo features a drawing of the iconic Greg Noll, ECSHOF co-founder, looking out at second and third reef Pipeline before paddling out into the heavy surf. The image was made famous in the classic 1966 John Severson photo.

More than any other change Gary has helped usher in over the past five years, is the creation of a new East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame logo with multiple versions of the design by New Jersey born surfer designer, Drew Dougherty. In a simultaneous ode to both East Coast surfing history and surf culture in general, one version of the logo, unveiled in 2020, features one of our sport’s most iconic images: Greg Noll in 1964, back turned to the camera, surfboard cradled against a thick shoulder, a massive Pipeline bomb pitching in the distance.

“Especially after his passing,” Gary said of Greg, who left us on June 28, 2021, at the age of 84, “it seemed to make sense to honor him.”

For Gary, there’s tremendous inspiration—and a sense of direction—to be found in the fact that, even after a quarter century, Cecil and Greg remained as committed to the simple idea that, as Greg put it, the East Coast guys “deserved something, too.”

“The ones that stand apart and above, they’re the ones that we celebrate,” Gary said. “That’s our mission.”