NY Sports Day
Ray Negron

Negron: Charlie Bunger will always be the King

At 1:47 pm on July 2, at Good Samaritan Hospital, the surfing world lost its king. Charlie Bunger, one of the true pioneers of the surfing community, and a member of the International Surfing Hall of Fame, lost his long battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his immediate family and departed the world peacefully. He fought like the champion that he was, with courage and great dignity.

To say that he will be missed is one of the great understatements of all time.

Charlie truly lived the American dream. He was born in Brooklyn and, like me, grew up on the tough streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

I am not writing this as an obituary — but as his son in law — who admired a man that was a wonderful father and an incredible husband to Janet.

The first words out of my mouth when the doctor said that he was gone was that my wife Theresa and her sister Susan and her brothers, Charlie Jr. and Tommy, were so blessed to have had one of the great dads of all time. This is also a great understatement.

I have known this man for 15 years and all he did was show me that he was one damn good guy. His lifelong friends would always come back to the Bunger surf shop just to say hello to their mentor. Throughout the years this great man gave jobs to so many kids that would grow up to follow in his footsteps of reaching out for the American dream. I instantly think of his friend Paul Viti who is one of the true success stories on Wall Street, but who always gives credit to Charlie Bunger for giving him his first job. Viti’s sons have worked for the Bungers for the past few years and, like their dad, it was their first job.

I could fill a book on all the people who this man has impacted.

I don’t feel sorry for Charllie Bunger. I feel sorry for all the people that will miss him so very much. In my view, this man lived the life that one can only dream of and it is no surprise that one of his favorite songs was Somewhere over the Rainbow. As the song says and it is so appropriate for Charlie……
His dream really did come true.

Long live the King!


  1. William O'Connell

    July 3, 2018 at 5:22 am

    Charlie Bunger was an amazing man who left behind a legacy through his amazing children each one of them had his foundation.H is world was consumed by his love for friends, surfing, and life. he will truly be missed as a solid force in our community. people like Charlie do not come around every day but he taught us that life is a gift both sacred and precious. Nobody did it better then this generous soul. God bless you Charlie from the heavens above.

  2. Tricia Duryea

    July 3, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Beautiful words…..My sympathies to you and the Bunger family….May he rest Peacefully and find the Biggest wave in Heaven

  3. Sue Aripotch

    July 3, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Charlie was one of the first people I knew of that followed his dream- living his passion. I think that’s part of why he was so generous and kind- he was a happy man. I will forever be grateful for Bunger Surfboards and Surf Shop in the middle of our town, with him at the helm. Thanks, Charlie, and may the endless ride be a fun one!

  4. James Breslin

    July 3, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    It began with 360’s persuaders and
    Bunger pigs. It never ended. Charlie’s wave
    Will roll on and on. A prayer to all Bunfer
    James Breslin

  5. James Breslin

    July 3, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    It began with 360’s persuaders and
    Bunger pigs. It never ended. Charlie’s wave
    Will roll on and on. A prayer to all Bunger family.
    James Breslin

  6. Debbie VanBourgondien

    July 3, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    You were an icon! But better yet, a true friend!
    I am not part of the LI surfing community, but have known Charlie and Janet as just “great people” for more than 40 years. I will miss you Charlie.
    You were truly one of the best!
    So lucky that we knew you!
    P.S. who will I wave to when stuck at the Montauk Hwy/deer Park Ave light?

  7. Captain Joseph Klecan

    July 5, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Charlie will surely be missed by many people,
    my sons and daughter who grew up surfing on
    one of his late 60’s board that I still have…
    I have his family in my prayers.

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