Charlie Bunger, Sr. was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Born in 1941, he started surfing at the age of 18 after moving to Lindenhurst, Long Island. His favorite surf spot was nearby Gilgo Beach; it was a very popular break in the '60s, once hosting the East Coast Championships.
Bunger Surfboards had a humble beginning. In 1961--at the age of 20--Charlie started shaping surfboards as a hobby for neighborhood kids.
As the popularity of surfing continued to grow and word got out about Charlie's work, orders for his surfboards began to accumulate. After just six months, demand drove Charlie to move his operation from his basement into the two-car garage in his back yard. Soon thereafter, Bunger hired Pat Calabrese--his first employee--to help with production. In the summer of 1962, Charlie moved Bunger Surfboards into a 2,000 square foot building in Lindenhurst and opened his first retail store in nearby Copiague. The store proved to be an ideal venue for Charlie to display is wares, which fueled even greater demand for Bunger Surfboards on the East Coast. Within just a few years, Charlie was cranking out 1,500 boards a season.
Charlie Bunger, Sr. has long been involved in crusading for better beach access and sponsoring local contests. In 1990, he opened the Long Island Surfing Museum and in 1996, Charlie was among the first twenty-three inductees into the East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame.
Today, Bunger Surfboards has 4,000 square feet of retail space in Babylon Village, New York and operates a 2,000 square foot manufacturing facility in West Babylon. Charlie, Sr. is still actively involved in the business, as is his wife Janet and three of his children--Theresa, Charlie, Jr. and Tommy. Charlie, Sr. still does some shaping, but has passed the art along to Tommy, who has been operating the Bunger planer more and more over the past eight years.
[Credit: Bunger Surfboards]