Freddie Grosskreutz began surfing as a teenager during the early 1960s in the waters off his Virginia Beach home. A quick study, his talent soon caught the attention of some of the top surfboard manufacturers of the day, including Hobie Alter and Dewey Weber, who put him on their East Coast teams. By the late ’60s, Grosskreutz was one of the region’s better competitors — then he caught the travel bug.
Mexico and Puerto Rico were among his early haunts, but it was a 1969 trip to Hawaii that inspired him to stay in the South Pacific. He surfed all around the archipelago, eventually moving into a shack above Velzyland, on Oahu’s North Shore, which had become an epicenter for the sport.
Grosskreutz avoided the revolving door of surf stars and their trailing entourages of photographers by surfing the user-friendly lefthander just west of V-Land. He surfed there so frequently — often alone or with friends like Phil Irons and Ricky Hendrickson — that the spot was eventually named “Freddieland,” or “Freddie’s,” after Grosskreutz. The name stuck, and everyone still calls the wave Freddieland today.
Grosskreutz ultimately left Hawaii and settled in Indialantic, Florida, where he was hired by Sam Gornto to laminate Happiness Surfboards at the same shop where Pat O’Hare, Bill Eberwein, Bob Freeman, and Claude Codgen had worked. Grosskreutz also moonlighted for John Parton at Fox Surfboards in West Palm Beach, Lewis Graves at Ocean Avenue in Melbourne Beach, and Dick Catri in Indialantic, before settling into a permanent role as a laminator for Jim and Ed Leisure of Quiet Flight Surfboards. All that time, Grosskreutz kept ripping, and he was still riding a 5’5” fish well into his sixties.
In August 2010, Grosskreutz received a devastating medical diagnosis of advanced liver cancer. He fought hard against the disease for nearly a decade — and continued surfing throughout much of his illness — before passing away in early 2018.