Another leaf has sadly fallen from the tall, broad tree of East Coast surfing with the passing yesterday of Charlie Bunger.
Simply stated, Charlie was one of the East Coasts most storied, impactful and well known surf pioneers.
Born 1941 in Brooklyn, NY he eventually left the fabled city Borough that the Dodgers baseball team once called home moving “out east” to Lindenhurst at age 18 and the hallowed, central Long Island surfing grounds of Jones Beach, Robert Moses State Park and the surrounding beach breaks becoming Gilgo Beach surfing O.G. number one.
Once there Charlie established a surfboard building operation in 1961 in his basement before moving to his house’s two car garage then starting a retail store in 1962 that is a landmark institution in the Empire State to this very day that still is producing some of the finest shapes available from West End to East End Long Island and beyond as well as providing all the hard and soft gear needed for the Sport Of Kings from the Bunger Babylon based store front.
One of the earliest shaper / board builders to also open a retail store on the East Coast Bunger blazed trails for many to follow in the Northeast and nearby New Jersey taking him all the way to inductions into both the East coast Surfing Hall Of Fame ( http://www.eastcoastsurfinghalloffame.com ) in it’s first ever, inaugural class of 1996 as well as a more recent, well deserved selection to the California based International Surfboard Builders Hall Of Fame.
According to a post in NYsportsday.com, last month Bunger was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in critical condition due to remission from lymphoma which he suffered from for the past three years.
Charlie passed away Monday, July 2nd at the age of 77 and his influence on literally thousands and thousands of people, a huge, vibrant surfing community and his contributions to the east coast surf scene is immeasurable.
A true legends legend.
Look for a more in depth story and photo feature on www.easternsurf.com soon. – Mez –