RIP Pat O’Hare: 1942-2017

Cocoa Beach, FL fixture passes away

#RIP #PatOhare. This has always been a wild connection because our parents didn't know each other but had kids in the same hospital, at roughly the same time, named and spelled 'Sean' and 'Kelly'. How strange! And then Kelly (@kelly.ohare) was my childhood crush and gf at 11 y.o. (we never even held hands though) and Sean (@shadowohare) was our surf partner as kids and teammate on our first surf team at Shagg's Surf Shop. Pat has always been a local legend…shaper, surfer, all around nice guy. It sucks growing up and getting old. I don't recommend it. But it's also beautiful to have the memories and history with the intertwined lives around us. I'll never forget driving past Pat's house at 13th St and honking the horn every time to say 'what's up, Pat'. We'll keep your memory alive and keep honking no matter what hour of the day it is. If you have a memory of Pat please leave it below for his family to enjoy. 🙏🏽

A post shared by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on

Surfer and shaper Patrick O'Hare has passed away. A legend on both coasts, O'Hare grew up in California, surfing and shaping boards for Greg Noll's Manhattan Beach operation before moving to Cocoa Beach in the early 1960s, where he'd remain a fixture in the Space Coast surf community for the next five decades.

Born in St. Louis, O'Hare started surfing in 1957, after his family moved from San Francisco to Manhattan Beach. A natural athlete and champion wrestler, O'Hare quickly made a name for himself in the lineup at the Manhattan Beach pier. He began shaping boards at Surfside California in 1958, and after a short stint with Dewey Weber Surfboards, O'Hare started working for Noll, who had given O'Hare his own pro model.

O'Hare helped kick off the surf craze in Florida when he and friend Rick James moved to the Space Coast and began manufacturing some of the first surfboards in the state through James & O'Hare Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach. Although James got homesick and moved back west a year later, O'Hare stayed.

Over the years, O’Hare shaped boards for some of Florida's best surfers, including Claude Codgen, Gary Propper, Tommy and Benji McRoberts, and others. In 1996, Greg Noll inducted O'Hare into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame. In October, he was inducted into the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame.

Happiness Surfboards, CA, early 70s [L-R] Claude Codgen, Sam Gornto, Mike Shea , Pat O’Hare, Bill Eberwein, Jim Hanley. Photo: Florida Surf Museum