John "Jack" Hannon

John "Jack" Hannon was born in 1927 in Bellmore New York. John is known as the Father of New York Surfing; due to the pivotal roll he played at the beginning of modern surfing there. When John, a teacher and skier, began the sport surfboards were a rare commodity in New York. The first wave-rider he remembers seeing was Bill Coleman, captain of the Jones Beach Lifeguards, circa 1938. The chance encounter was enough to inspire him to try it himself which he did at around 11 or 12 years of age as he recalls, "I don't even remember if I got to (the point of) standing up on the board." John would reflect years later. This focused New York athlete also played a short time with the Green Bay Packers.
John became a Jones Beach lifeguard at age 16 in 1943. At the East Overlook he found he had access to Tom Blake paddleboards, they were starting to show their age. Some were waterloged. Jack said he restored one to good condition which he used as his personal board. He doesn't remember seeing any recreational surfers when he started guarding but does remember seeing an older lifeguard named Tom Melville, who was from another beach, riding waves with his rescue board.

The first surfboard John owned was one he purchased at the Hobie Surf Shop while he was in California before returning to the East Coast. According to John, up until that point he had only ridden Jones Beach Lifeguard boards.