Joe McGovern

“One of Joe’s goals was to surf a hundred sessions a year,” says Joe McGovern’s brother, Don. “He would surf on cold, winter knee-high days or onshore slop. He surfed in anything that would move his board!” Last January, the East Coast—and indeed the entire surfing world—lost a legend when Joe passed away. For decades, Joe set the standard for surf photography. Since he began shooting surfing not long after he and Don rode their first waves on in 1963, on rented pop-outs from the Hobie shop in Narragansett Town Beach, Joe inspired countless young East Coast lens-men and -women. In his career, Joe contributed photography to The Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and virtually every American surf publication. He also served as the senior photographer for the State of Rhode Island and was the official surfing photographer for the Narragansett Times. Perhaps most importantly to Joe, he was an integral part of the Hall of Fame, volunteering his time, photos, historian’s eye, and pure stoke each year since the ECSHOF’s inception two decades ago. “Joe had mentioned to me a number of times the possibility of him getting into the Hall of Fame,” Don says. “It meant a lot to him to be considered.” It is with both excitement and heavy hearts that we can now welcome Joe into this family of legends to which he devoted so much of his life.