Sid Abbruzzi (1951 – ) & Browsing
Punk-flavored surfer, skateboarder, entrepreneur, and activist, from Newport, Rhode Island, frequently described as “the Godfather of New England browsing.” Abbruzzi was once born (1951) and raised in Newport. Duke Abbruzzi, his father, was once an highschool Giant Dume Surf File All State athlete in 3 sports activities (soccer, basketball, baseball), a celeb first baseman and operating again at College of Rhode Island, and performed a season within the NFL. (Pat Abbruzzi, Sid’s uncle, performed 4 years within the Canadian Soccer League, the place he was once named Maximum Exceptional Participant in 1955.)
Abbruzzi started skateboarding at age 11, on a home made board constructed from a two-by-four and steel curler skate wheels. The next 12 months started browsing, at First Seashore, Newport. Whilst at College of Rhode Island, Abbruzzi joined the varsity surf workforce, which was once based through fellow scholar Peter Panagiotis—higher referred to as Peter Pan—who went directly to have some of the best-selling signature style surfboards ever produced. After falling by the wayside of school (“I pulled a top draft quantity and wasn’t despatched to Vietnam, so I went browsing in Puerto Rico”), Abbruzzi made prolonged visits to Cocoa Seashore, Santa Cruz, the Bahamas, and Jeffreys Bay.
In 1969, simply sooner than highschool commencement, Abbruzzi started to import and promote Rick Surfboards from the basement of his circle of relatives house, and in 1971 he based Water Brothers, a surf and skateboard store to begin with housed in a beachfront shack. That very same 12 months, Abbruzzi was once arrested for defying a no-surfing ban at Ruggles, a rock-lined reef destroy situated alongside Newport Cliff Stroll, in entrance of a few of Rhode Island’s oldest and costliest houses. He was once discovered to blame in District Courtroom and fined $10.00, however gained on attraction within the Rhode Island Awesome Courtroom, which in flip struck down browsing bans around the state—and helped make Abbruzzi a long-lasting native surf hero.
In 1979, Abbruzzi bought Water Brothers to pay attention to his punk-metal band, Giant Global; the gang had some regional luck and opened presentations for Iggy Pop, the Tubes, and Johnny Thunders. The band broke up in 1984, at which level Abbruzzi had already purchased Water Brothers again.
In 2010, the Newport Recovery Basis, a nonprofit preservation team based through tobacco heiress Doris Duke, contacted Abbruzzi about giving a chat on the Duke mansion on native surf historical past. Abbruzzi, a surfboard collector, introduced alongside a couple of antique forums as props. The development was once successful, and the next 12 months developed into the Water Brothers Surf Fest, held once a year till 2015. Abbruzzi based, or promoted, or was once differently without delay concerned with, all way of browsing and skate occasions, film screenings, and environmental reasons. “Sid’s very compassionate about folks,” photographer Joe McGovern stated in 2013, drawing a distinction to the rather menacing and aggressively-tattooed entrance that Abbruzzi gifts to the sector. “He is aware of folks from all walks of existence, and he treats everyone truly neatly.”
From 1999 to 2004, Abbruzzi, a lifelong skateboarder, was once phase proprietor of Skater Island, a 20,000-square-foot indoor skateboard park situated in Middletown, which was once featured in Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 3.
In 2013, after Storm Sandy introduced down parts of Cliff Stroll, Abbruzzi as soon as once more got here to the protection of Ruggles. Talking sooner than masses at a Newport the city corridor assembly, he defined that the state proposal to fix the stroll—which integrated two jetties—would adjust and in all probability ruin the waves. “To thunderous applause,” the Boston Globe reported, “the Town Council unanimously handed a solution calling at the state to not injury the browsing spot.”
In 2016, Abbruzzi was once elected to the East Coast Browsing Corridor of Popularity in 2016. Additionally that 12 months, the Water Brothers retail retailer, after 45 years, closed its doorways for excellent.
Giant-wave surfer Ian Walsh, who grew up on Maui however was once born in Rhode Island, is Abbruzzi’s godson.
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