Peter Pan is a kid that never grew up, and the offshore breaks up and down the East Coast are his Neverland. At 60 years old, you can still find Pan surfing almost every day of the year, even in the dead of winter.
Legend has it that while surfing in a competition early on in his career, the announcer couldn’t pronounce Peter’s last name (Panagiotis) so he went with Peter Pan. The name has stuck ever since.
Pan helped create the University of Rhode Island surf club in 1968 and brought its first New England Intercollegiate title. In 1986, Pan thought he would try his hand at bodyboarding and wound up in the finals in the National Bodyboarding Championships in California, where he took home third place. In 1996, Peter was one of the first people to be inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame.
These days, he spends most of his time in the water teaching others how to do the thing he loves. The Peter Pan Surfing Academy teaches all ages, and they just finished up one of their most successful summer camp sessions ever. When he is not on the water, he can be found at the Gansett Juice Surf Shop, which is owned and operated by his kids. He also somehow finds time to teach kickboxing, something he says keeps him in shape for surfing.
Peter Pan is a legend in his own right and has helped create the surfing culture here in New England. His efforts have ensured future generations will be hanging ten from Narragansett, R.I., all the way to Crescent Beach in Rockland, Maine.