Richard “Dickie” Munson
Richard Munson gained notoriety as a nimble teenage surfer who was comfortable riding large waves, but cemented his reputation as a legend by becoming one of the most renowned shapers on the East Coast. His boards have been used by Kelly and Sean Slater, Richie Rudolph, Sharon Wolfe, Christel Roever and countless other Central Florida surfers.
Little “Dickie” Munson began surfing with his siblings and friends in South Cocoa Beach, Florida. Like most kids from the area, he was constantly at the beach riding a skim board or belly board. At the age of 13, he went on his first of many surf trips, traveling along the East Coast with a number of influential surfers of the day, including Fletcher Sharp and Mike Tabeling.
For the next eight years, he spent his summers traveling and surfing. He surfed in California every year, covered the East Coast from Florida to Maine three times, as well as traveling to Mexico and Hawaii. He was a child prodigy on the Surfboards Hawaii Team — a young teenager among older and more established surfers. Munson’s smooth style and natural talent always made him stand out from the pack.
At 18, Munson moved to Kauai, returning to Florida in 1972 and launching one of the most illustrious shaping careers in the industry, shaping over 25,000 boards. He shaped for numerous labels including Catri, Creative Shaping, Carson Salick, Quiet Flight and Munson Designs. He also designed and shaped for the likes of Mike Tabeling, Jeff Crawford, Nat Young and Shaun Tomson. As an established shaper, he mentored Matt Kechele, Richie Rudolph, and Bill Johnson — all outstanding competitive surfers who transitioned into becoming exceptional shapers in their own right.
On the business side of the surf industry, Munson co-owned Quiet Flight Surf Shop at Universal City Walk, which was purchased by Billabong in 2009.
Munson has traveled extensively, surfing in South Africa, Morocco, Australia, Central America, Maldives and beyond. He was always comfortable in large surf and could be counted on to catch the best waves wherever he paddled out. Now in his late 60s, he still enjoys designing and shaping a few boards and looks forward to teaching his grandson and granddaughter to surf one day.
Photos by Tom Dugan, Allen Margolis and courtesy Richard Munson