Pat O’Hare started surfing in the spring of 1957 when he was 15 years old. A little old to be a gremmie but that’s what he was as he was, completely caught up in surfing. He couldn’t make a sentence without using the word bitch’n. “ I don’t remember when I quit saying it” says O’Hare from his beachside cottage in Cocoa Beach 50 years later. “Thank god I finally did”.
Manhattan Beach was his home and the pier was the break he surfed most everyday. The South Bay is a surfing community and a surfboard manufacturing mecca so it was a natural progression for O’Hare to get involved making boards there. He surfed and eventually worked for Greg Noll. >
“Greg was truly a big influence on my life in surfing, except for the big wave thing that was all Greg’s.” according to O’Hare.
Another big influence on Pat was Ricky James. O’Hare and James would later move to Cocoa Beach together, but not before O’Hare was influenced by the likes of Mike Eaton, John Rice, The Hauts from Santa Cruz, and a friend from New York named Joey Hawkins.
In August of 1963 O’Hare made the move to Cocoa Beach Florida with his good friend and business partner Rick James and opened a shop called James & O’Hare. Pat and Ricky made boards for about a year before Ricky got home sick and moved back to California and the South Bay to work for Greg Noll. O’Hare stayed and changed the name to O’Hare Surfboards. A few years later O’Hare sold his shop to Jacobs and took off chasing waves in Barbados for a year. When he came back O’Hare worked for Oceanside, Bunger, Greg Noll (actually shaping some of Da Cats) and then some freelance work for Fox before returning to shape his own O’Hare label in the 80’s to present day.
Pat O’Hare was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 1996, the Ironman in 2007, and the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame in 2017.