East Coast Superstar, Gary Propper, Has Passed Away

Legendary east coast surfer Gary Propper died in his sleep Thursday night, March 14th. Gary was the east coast’s first superstar and a member of Dick Catri’s legendary Hobie surf team. Gary dominated the contest scene in the 60s, handily defeating all comers with his flamboyant style and cat like reflexes. He was arguably the first professional surfer, at one time earning $100,00 a year, more than any other competitive surfer. He won the 1966 East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach against a stacked field of California’s best surfers. His signature Hobie Gary Propper Model surfboard is the biggest selling signature model in history, accounting for half of all Hobie sales in the late 60’s.

After the competitive surfing scene faltered in the 70s Gary re-invented himself and became an entertainment promoter, representing new talents such as Gallagher, Carrot Top and Jon Lovitz. He later bought the rights to an obscure comic book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which became an international movie and entertainment phenomenon. The first Turtles movie is the highest grossing independent film in history. Gary was also accomplished artist which was showcased in the Florida Surf Museum’s exhibit , “Gary Propper, Surf-Art-Entertainment” in 2017. Gary will be remembered as one of the most talented surfers of his generation- an energetic and driven  entrepreneur who was  generous with his time and loyal to his friends.

 

 

Snippet from Hobie/Gary Propper promotional film

Comments

  • Awesome! Thanks for the memories!

    Gary Boorom17 March, 2019
  • Great tribute to the Legend. He will always stand at the top of his surfing generation.Thanks! Florida Surf Museum.

    Mark Perry17 March, 2019
  • Known GP since Edgewood Jr High on Merritt Island. Surfed the Canaveral pier with him many times in the early 60’s. He will be missed, rest in peace my friend.

    Bill Lutter22 March, 2019
  • Back in 2004 when GP was living here in Ormond beach I used to go over to his house and visit and do a little painting here in there for him and Yvonne one day I painted a bedroom for GP and jokingly Said I’ll trade you for a long board that’s on the ceiling well he told me to get it down and take it home that’s the kind a guy GP was aloha brother I’ll see you again one day

    Paul Day23 April, 2019
  • GOG is good I have One of the surfboard this legendary men build on the 60s is very old original I have for sale on the market if anyone no some body interested o someone like collecting in offer up is listing for sale I know is antique and have de signature by the one made,God bless to all here.Adalberto Garcia 941 302 9054

    Adalberto Garcia12 July, 2019
  • GOG is good I have One of the surfboard this legendary men build on the 60s is very old original I have for sale on the market if anyone no some body interested o someone like collecting in offer up is listing for sale I know is antique and have de signature by the one made,God bless to all here.Adalberto Garcia

    Adalberto Garcia12 July, 2019
  • I remember Brad Gerlach and me staying with GP and his righteous girlfriend Michelle on Maui. Awesome people. I was sick at the time but we surfed at Hookipa and had a rad time. He will be missed. RIP GP!

    Donovan F.4 January, 2020
  • Bummed out to hear this belated news. I attended a Gallagher show in the 80’s and Gary picked up my tab. He had coincidentally walked right in front of my table, I hailed him down and told him what a thrill it was to meet an unbeatable champion in person. When the lady came by with the bills she said Mr Propper is picking this on up. I never had a chance after that to thank him Propperly!

    I am part of the old Palm Beach surf crowd that included John Shmid and Chummer McReynolds and David ?? (forget his last name but he is in the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame also.

    E-Mac Wright8 January, 2020
  • Hello E-Mac. thanks for the great story about Gary! The David you refer to is David Reese-
    http://www.eastcoastsurfinghalloffame.com/davidreese.html

    John Hughes12 January, 2020
  • I met GP back in April, 2001 when I was a creative director in advertising at FCB/NY. I pitched him on the idea of having Carrot Top become the spokesperson for 1-800-CALL-ATT. He made it happen and we had a great run and a real blast. Always the gentleman and so hungry for the next big thing. I last saw him when we had dinner in Cocoa Beach in May, 2005. I’ll always value our
    memories in that short, fiery burst we had together. Blessings to his wife and girls. Can’t believe it’s almost been a year. Much aloha, buddy.

    Chuck Hipsher23 February, 2020
    • GP was a hustler and promoter until the end. It was an honor (and a challenge!) working with him on his exhibit at FSM.

      John Hughes4 March, 2020

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