Tommy McRoberts*

Tom McRoberts grew up on Merritt Island, Florida, and started surfing in the early 1960s, along with his brothers Guy and Benji. All three of the McRoberts brothers were gifted surfers, and before long, their parents sought out local surfboard builder Pat O’Hare (East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame, Class of 1996). The McRoberts’ parents wanted their kids to surf at a high level, and O’Hare was just the person to make that happen. 

All of the McRoberts brothers would end up excelling in the sport, but Tom and Benji were naturals and picked it up relatively quickly. Smooth and aggressive, they stood out amongst the local crowd at their homebreak of Canaveral Pier, where they surfed alongside legends like Dick Catri, Mike Tabeling, Gary Propper, Bruce Valluzzi, and many others. The brothers may have benefitted from a “homebreak” advantage — their mother came to the pier frequently to watch and cheer on her boys.

O’Hare would soon build Tommy his own surfboard model, and he became one of the leading competitors in the early days of the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA). Following suit, the new Tom McRoberts surfboard model, “The Rebel,” became a top seller from Maine to Miami and still holds legendary status to this day.

One of the most pivotal years for East Coast surfing was 1966, and Tom played a big role in helping the region earn some well-deserved notoriety. He was one of several Floridians to qualify for the World Surfing Championships, held in San Diego in October. 

After retiring from competitive surfing, Tom joined his brothers in the family business, McRoberts Pools, Inc., based in Cocoa, Florida. He was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2000.

INDUCTION YEARS

1996
1998
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
2010
2012
2014
2016
2018
2020
2022
2024