The first international-caliber surfer from the Eastern Seaboard, and the top-paid pro of his generation. "Gary was a hotdogger in every sense of the word," fellow Floridian pro Mike Tabeling said of Propper. "He was flamboyant and cocky, had the muscle tone of a jaguar, and there was nothing he couldn't do on a board."
Gary's family moved to Miami, then Cocoa Beach, at which time the 13-year-old Propper began surfing. Five- years later, the fast-talking regularfooter won the juniors division of the 1964 East Coast Surfing Championships. He went on to become, as Surfing magazine put it, "the East Coast's hotdog ambassador to the world."
Baby-faced surfer from Cocoa Beach, Florida; winner of the 1966 East Coast Surfing Championships; the first international-caliber surfer from the Eastern Seaboard, and the top-paid pro of his generation. He was the highest paid surfer of his time and the first surfer with a signature board, the Gary Propper model by Hobie, and sold around 3000 of them in 1967.
The Gary Propper model surfboard, made by Hobie Surfboards and introduced in 1966, went on to become the world's best-selling signature model, with virtually all sales made between Florida and Maine. It was estimated that of the 6,000 surfboards Hobie made in 1967, nearly half were Propper models. He later claimed that his 1967 board royalties, added to the money he earned as a salesman for Katin surf trunks and O'Neill wetsuits, amounted to almost $100,000 for the year. "I put down 'Professional Surfer-Athlete' on my '64 tax returns," Propper said in 1996. "It was the coolest." The reason he almost never turned up in '60s-era surf movies, Propper also said, is that he demanded appearance fees from filmmakers, most of whom refused.
GP Sebastian Inlet on a Twin Fin
Propper became an entertainment promoter in the early '70s, mentored by legendary San Francisco rock impresario Bill Graham, and was soon booking little-known bands like Devo, Blondie, and The Police into Florida clubs and halls. Later, as a manager, he represented comedians Gallagher and Carrot Top. Propper made a small fortune in the early '90s after securing the film rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book characters.
GP Huntington Pier
Gary, still active in promotions is now focusing on his art. Gary has been into art since elementary school days.