Nathan, John John and Ivan Florence are finally united on the same sponsor roster. Photo: Ivan Florence // Instagram

Nathan, John John and Ivan Florence are three of the best bros to ever do it. Photo: Ivan Florence // Instagram

The Inertia

Venus and Serena Williams, Travis and Jason Kelce, Jack and Tyler Fletcher; mainstream sports like tennis, football and soccer all have their share of exceptionally talented siblings, this consistently dynamic relationship the subject of much interest and even more psychological research. But while virtually all of these academic studies have been focused on the aforementioned mainstream sports, scant attention has been given to notable surfing siblings, all of whom would certainly be fascinating subjects for further psychological profiling.  To provide some future egghead with a starting point, here are some of surfing’s most interesting brothers and sisters (listed, but in no particular order of significance.)


Jolene and Jorja Smith: These identical twins from San Clemente, California, both had successful competitive careers throughout the 1980s, yet were better known for how fully they embraced their “twin-ness,” wearing identically colored wetsuits, matching board colors and even splitting contest winnings. Rumors that they occasionally surfed each other’s heats is unsubstantiated.

CJ and Damien Hobgood: The most successful twins in surf history (a world title, first brothers to place in the world tour’s top 10, impeccable reputation in both Floridian home waters and heavy tropical lefts) these two were so identical in tone and presentation as to be virtually indistinguishable. Even riding different colored boards didn’t help. 


Chris, Keith and Dan Malloy: All three are talented, creative, and committed to shaming the surf industry to at least consider a sustainability ethic…and those beards!

Owen, Tyler and Mikey Wright: World championships, perfect heats, crazy mullets — what’s not to love about this talented Australian trio?

Dane, Tanner, and Patrick Gudauskas:  Whether wearing contest jerseys or just their trademark 100-watt smiles, this San Clemente threesome absolutely personifies surfing stoke.

John John, Ivan and Nathan Florence: Best surfer in the world, wildly popular YouTube star, uber-respected underground hero — you got to admit, they tick all the boxes.

Dad, Coco, and Mason. What a family. Photo: Instagram


Mason and Coco Ho: These two have somehow managed to establish distinct and successful surfing identities of their own — no easy trick when your 68-year-old dad still charges Backdoor. 

Kalia and Seth Moniz: Papa Tony has got to be especially proud of these two members of his amazing surfing family, both representing the best of Hawaiian surfing from Queens to the Championship Tour.

Makuakai and Koa Rothman: Becoming a dominant presence on the North Shore is way harder than winning a world title. The talented sons of the Da Hui’s founder made it look easy. 


Flippy and Walter Hoffman: In 1953, Flippy became the first haole surfer to actually live on the North Shore, pioneering many of its breaks, while Walter, a legend in his own right, helmed the family textile business that basically created the whole surf wear industry. And they bickered about who was more core the whole time.

Bob and Bill Meistrell: Diving into the nascent wetsuit business way back in 1953, these twins from Redondo Beach continued to innovate throughout the decades, and considering the role wetsuits played in the global popularity of the sport, have to be considered two of the most influential characters in surf history. Emphasis on “characters” — both could really make you laugh.


Sean and Stephen Slater: Imagine being one of a trio of stoked groms growing up in Cocoa Beach…and the middle brother goes on to become the greatest surfer to ever stand up on a surfboard. That Sean, who became a respected shaper and was elected into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame, and Stephen, who became a longboard champion, with his own model at Takayama Surfboards, didn’t take up rodeo or move to Kansas is a minor miracle.

Iconic surfing brothers Nick (left) and Tom Carroll. Photo: Molokai2Oahu


Nick and Tom Carroll: The younger Tom is considered one of the sport’s greatest; the older is considered one of the sport’s greatest. That Tom focused on winning multiple world titles and Pipeline Masters, while Nick leaned into his role of esteemed surf journalist, neatly validates the psychological theory of “differentiation” in sibling relationships. Go ahead, look it up.


Eddie and Clyde Aikau: Characteristically charging from behind the boil on the biggest waves of the day, the late Eddie Aikau absolutely ruled Waimea Bay from his very first session in 1965, and in 1968 became the Bay’s (and the North Shore’s) very first lifeguard. Younger brother Clyde won the ’73 Duke Invitational, the first contest ever held at Waimea, then 13 years later, the very first “Eddie” contest held at the Bay. “Nuff said, eh?” 


Michael and Derek Ho: Winning the annual event at the Banzai Pipeline might earn you the temporary title, but only years of standout performances allows you to rightfully consider yourself a master of the world’s most intense, most dangerous and most spectacular surf spot. Michael and his late brother Derek, with both impressive contest wins and prerequisite decades of dominance (through both the front and back doors) have worn that mantle of Pipe greatness like no others. 


Griffin and Crosby Colapinto: There must be something in the water. In San Clemente, that is  (see the Smith Twins and Gudauskas trio above). Yet there’s something especially…special about these two brothers who, after honing their acts at decidedly mild breaks like T-Street, Riviera and Lowers (crowds excepted) have made their way in the decidedly cutthroat world of the professional Championship Tour. We can only hope for a Grif/Cros final someday.

This is the kind of surfing that Andy brought to the Tour – and boy, do we miss it.

“I love you, most of the time.” Andy and Bruce (left). Photo: Screenshot


Andy and Bruce Irons: In almost every example above, competitiveness between siblings can generally be characterized as subliminal — a motivating factor, perhaps, but not the main force. Then there’s the late Andy Irons and his younger brother Bruce, two fabulously talented surfers whose competitiveness was, from the Pinetrees shorebreak to cavernous Teahupo’o barrels, always up front and center; admitted by each to be the most powerful motivating force that drove both into the surf performance stratosphere. 

Honorable Mentions

Tom, Chris and Sam Hawk, Christian and Nathan Fletcher,  Marvin and Kalani Foster, Greg and Rusty Long, Blanche and Becky Benson, Evan and Dylan Slater, Candy and Robin Calhoun, Tom and Joe Curren, Gary and Owl Chapman, Craig and Dean  Hollingsworth, Ian, Peter and Sean McGonagle, Mike and Liz Benevidez, Beau and Bryce Young, Shea and Cory Lopez, Gerry and Victor Lopez, Manoa and Matahi Drollet, Laird and Lion Hamilton, Robert, Raymond and Ronald Patterson,  Rell Kaplioka’ehukai and Martha “Kula” Sunn, Flavio and Neco Padaratz, Julia and Sally Cohen (feel free to provide more in comment section).


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