Tribute held at Gilgo Beach for local surfing legend Charlie Bunger Sr.


Surfers hopped on their boards together to remember the life of a local surfing icon.

A paddle out, held on Saturday at Gilgo Beach, was organized to commemorate the life of Charlie Bunger Sr., a local businessman who founded Bunger Surf Shop in 1962.

At the age of 77, Bunger, a West Gilgo resident, died from lymphoma over the summer at Good Samaritan Hospital.

“He was a legend in the surf industry,” said Jen Cantin of Lessing’s Hospitality Group, who was in attendance of the ceremony.

Bunger is an inductee in the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame.

According to Bunger Surf Shop’s website, Bunger began surfing at 18 years old, when he moved to Lindenhurst from Brooklyn.

His favorite place to surf was Gilgo Beach.

“In 1961–at the age of 20–Charlie started shaping surfboards as a hobby for neighborhood kids,” writes a company’s spokesperson.

After working from his garage, he moved his surfboard production to Lindenhurst and later opened a retail spot for Bunger Surf Shop in Copiague.

Now, Bunger Surfboards owns a popular space in Babylon Village at 50 East Main Street, where they have operated in for years.

“My Dad loved seeing his Bunger shirts,” wrote Bunger’s daughter, Susan Giovinazzo, on Facebook. “When we took him to school functions he would count them in the crowd of kids! That made us laugh and him smile.”

Top: Scenes from the paddle out. (Photos courtesy of Jen Cantin.) 

Surfers ready to hit the water to honor Charlie Bunger Sr.’s life. (Credit: Jen Cantin)