Habitat – Fred Patacchia

Young Fred Patacchia is living the surfer’s dream. At the tender age of twenty (about the age most guys are saving up to buy their first car), Fred steps up and buys the ultimate surfer’s house-a beachfront place staring straight into Sunset with incredible views of Rocky Lefts, Monster Mush, Stone Zone, and Kammieland.

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The house is going to be huge. I’m using the future tense because Fred’s in the process of doing a 99-percent remodel. According to Fred, it’s a good thing they decided to remodel: “The house was gone-it had termite damage everywhere. But we’ve gotten rid of all the wood that was eaten by termites and replaced it with termite-treated wood.”

Fred’s new front yard is incredibly close to the ocean due to heavy erosion. I asked Fred if he worries about a 50-footer sweeping through his house. “Not really,” he responds, “because other than a tsunami coming, there’s a pool right in front of my house that kind of acts as a seawall. So I think the worst damage that could happen is the surf undermining the pool and part of the pool cracking off.” The pool looks more like a gigantic planter box, because it’s filled up with sand, a result of Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

Fred looked at a lot of places on the North Shore before selecting his house. He almost bought a place at Pipeline next to Gerry Lopez’s house, but in the end, he chose his place at Kammieland in big part because it lent itself to his remodeling plan. Probably the most impressive part about the remodel is that Fred is actually doing a lot of the work himself. It’s hard to believe, but the up-and-coming surf star has been strapping on a carpenter’s belt and working from 8:00 a.m. ’til 4:00 p.m., and sometimes even 6:00 p.m., because his dad is the foreman.

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When asked about his carpentry skills, Fred laughs, “They’re getting better. They’re starting to let me use the saws a little more. I have a do-it-yourself kind of family, so I’ve been around it a lot. I’ll put it this way: I can hammer a nail and cut a piece of wood to the right size. I was having a hard time reading the tape measure, so I bought an ‘easy read’ one.”

With three separate living areas, Fred plans to live in one part of the house and rent out the other two. When asked if he planned to rent his place to some of his friends who travel over to surf the North Shore, he laughed and answered, “Hell no!” I also asked him if any of his friends gave him a hard time for being so young and already owning a house on the beach. He modestly replied, “No. Actually a lot of people were stoked on me buying it, because the money I am making. I’m trying to invest well, not just throw it away. Some people were amped because I’m over here working. I guess no one thought I could get my hands dirty.” Something tells me with the winter surf rolling in, Fred is just about to hang up his hammer and grab his gun.

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Probably the most impressive part about the remodel is that Fred is actually doing a lot of the work himself.

“I’ll put it this way: I can hammer a nail and cut a piece of wood to the right size.”