Bob Hawkins

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Early New York shaper Bob “Hawk” Hawkins made his first surfboard in 1957 using a

piece of styrofoam that he routed, with a stringer, and laminated with epoxy resin. He made this prototype two years before John Hannon — credited as the first surfboard manufacturer on the East Coast — first started building boards. Hawkins was also the first person to distribute boards to New York surfers, importing Velzy products from California and selling them out of his house. 

In 1959, he took a solo trip to Hawaii, where he ordered a custom 10’2” balsa gun from Pat Curren and rode big Makaha. Hawkins returned to Hawaii the following winter and married the late Jeanne Hawkins, an early New York female surfer, who won the very first East Coast Surfing Championships, held in 1962 at Gilgo Beach. 

Hawkins had two surf shops on Long Island, one in Massapequa and the other in his hometown of Halesite, but he left shaping in 1963 to pursue a full-time career clamming. During that time, he still did brief stints at Bunger, Micris Surfboards, and Design One (later Surf Jet), which churned out models by Hawkins, Butch Van Artsdalen, Rodney Sumptner, and Charlie Bunger.

By the 1970s, Hawk was ready to put down the planer and simply enjoy the golden age of Long Island clamming, though he continued to make boards for himself and his friends. In 2000, he returned to Bunger, where he met up-and-coming shaper and glasser Mark “Petro” Petrocelli. The two teamed up to shape boards in the Faktion space, and Hawkins continues to work off his old 1960s templates, creating classic 9’6” noseriders with 50/50 rails and big square tails, as well as 8-foot “mini” longboards with super pinched rails.