With pictures gracing the pages of Surfer, Surfing, The Surfer’s Journal and Transworld Surf, Pete Hodgson was one of the most prolific surf photographers of our time. He also had a full surf video career including a national TV surf show and many surf videos.’
Hodgson started out surfing in Cocoa Beach in 1965 but was soon traveling to California with up-and-coming Floridian Greg Loehr (Class of 2000). After graduating high school, Hodgson worked for a decade as a firefighter/EMT while at the same time carrying out a successful amateur career that netted him an Iron Man title at the U.S. Championship after winning three divisions and fourth place in another. In 1982, Hodgson was named Fireman of the Year by Indian River County for saving a surfer who had been struck by lightning at Sebastian Inlet during a Stubbies Pro surfing competition.
He decided to make the jump to living and working in Hawaii, kicking off a lifetime of surf exploration in the Pacific, the Caribbean and Bahamas while in living in Florida. Before ever picking up a camera, he traveled with the Sundek team and wrote feature articles for Surfing and Surfer in the 80s. To subsidize his developing surf photography career, he helped open the Haleiwa Chart House and Haleiwa Joe’s in Haleiwa. The combo worked perfectly, and Hodgson was soon shooting with the best surfers in the world, including Sunny Garcia, the Irons brothers, Andy and Bruce — and all the big names and local surfers in Hawaii. Hodgson traveled to the Marshall Islands with Kelly Slater and sailed to Fanning Island for The Surfers Journal.
By the 90s, Hodgson was co-producing, shooting and editing H3OTV, a nationally broadcast FoxTV extreme sports show featuring surfing. By the 2000s he returned to shooting stills, working for surf brands Billabong and Quiksilver, and also for Transworld Surf magazine. He also began shooting video for GoPro as the company was exploding.
He now shoots photos for fun and works at growing tropical fruits. And of course, he’s still surfing. Hodgson was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2020.
Photos by Tom Dugan, Pete Hodgson, Dick “Mez” Meseroll, and courtesy Pete Hodgson