A longtime, versatile standout on both longboard and shortboard, Long Island, New York’s Eddie Fawess is one of surfing’s most devoted and dedicated champions. Gifted with a non-stop stoke that keeps him going in the waves to this day, it’s hard to name a more consistent competitor on the water than Fawess, who has finaled in every contest he’s been a part of since the age of 14, in 1964 — continuing even now with recent wins in the Eastern Surfing Association’s Legends division.
A local icon of surfing on Long Island’s south-facing shores, Fawess has traveled to everywhere from Texas, the Caribbean, Europe, and both the East and West Coasts to surf — but has always been partial to the unique wave conditions of his home beaches. “We have some of the best small waves in the world,” Fawess recalled. But as any old school Northeast surfer can tell you, wading through the restrictions and bans on surfing in Long Island over the decades amounts to a labor of love. “Forever, we’ve been fighting for access to our ocean,” Fawess says. “Like anything you love, you find a way to do it.” Fawess’ commitment to the Long Island surf scene has been integral to its growth since the first board shops opened there in the 1960s.
Fawess’ contributions to the sport didn’t stop at the shoreline. A legendary surfboard builder, he shaped and glassed thousands of boards for Charlie Bunger’s factory in the 1970s, making a name for himself and the brand. His board work has continued into his later years, restoring classic surfboards at Nature Shapes in Sayville with Mike Becker, where Fawess’ encyclopedic knowledge of vintage graphics and surfboard designs has helped to preserve the surfing culture of yesteryear.
Ed Fawess was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 1998.
Photos by Tom Dugan, Dick “Mez” Meseroll, Donald Cresitello, and courtesy Ed Fawess