Some Surfing HistoryRoger Holden is truly one of New Jersey's original surfing pioneers. He started surfing the Manahawkin region in 1958 on a 14 foot board made from cedar. In 1966 he opened his Island East Surfboards by Holden shop in Harvey Cedars, NJ. Island East enjoyed several years of success from 1966 until 1974, and then was re-established, like many of the early day surf shops in 1998 with current partner Pat McGrath.
Always a design innovator, one of Roger's earliest manufactured boards in 1968 was a six+ foot, 30 inches wide square tail with a vee bottom and thin rails. This was perhaps the first "short" board design on the East Coast. Certainly it stood out at a time when most surfers were still thinking in terms of "nose rides" and 9 foot plus boards. Roger toured California that same year and his carving rail turns and quick cut backs also likely influenced many of the West Coast's top innovators of the time.
Besides his manufacturing and design activities, Roger was also a top competitor in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Winning or placing at most local and Mid-Atlantic events, he placed in the top 3 at the East Coast Championships in 1967, 1969 and 1970, won the Long Beach Island contest in 1968, and made it to the Virginia Beach Championships final 8 two times.
Roger still lives in the Manahawkin area and can still be found enjoying an occasional wave at local beaches.