Afro-haired goofyfooter from Jacksonville Beach, Florida; the 17-year-old winner of the hotly contested 1968 East Coast AAAA circuit. Roland began surfing in 1964 at age 13 in Jacksonville; four years later the Eastern Surfing Association debuted its elite AAAA division, and Roland's victory over internationally known East Coasters like Mike Tabeling, Claude Codgen, and Bruce Valluzzi was a surprise.
The slender and easygoing Roland competed in the World Surfing Championships in 1968 and 1970; he also won the 1969 East Coast Surfing Championships. Roland was elected to the East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame in 1998. Vincent, Brad, and Paul Roland, Joe's younger brothers, were all well-regarded East Coast surfers.
It was during the shortboard revolution when Roland really came into his own. In 1968, one of the first years when boards began to drop from 9ft to 8ft and under, Roland was crowned as the first Eastern Surfing Association men’s champion. The field consisted of internationally known east coasters like Mike Tabeling, Claude Codgen, and Bruce Valluzzi amongst others. Only four years after learning how to surf, this victory would earn him the winning spot on the hotly contested East Coast 4A circuit. After his success on the East Coast Tour, it was decided that he was the best candidate to be the captain of the East Coast Surf Team at the 1968 World Contest in Puerto Rico. This landed him a feature in the February 1969 issue of Surfing Magazine.
Roland happily works for the city of Jacksonville now as a computer programmer and still surfs to this day. He can be found in and around the water south of the Ponte Vedra poles where he now lives with his beloved wife. He has since been inducted into the East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame and is still regarded by peers to be one of the best surfers to ever come out of North Florida.