Afro-haired goofyfooter from Jacksonville Beach, Florida; the 17-year-old winner of the hotly contested 1968 East Coast AAAA circuit. Roland began surfing in 1964 at age 13 in Jacksonville; four years later the Eastern Surfing Association debuted its elite AAAA division, and Roland's victory—over internationally known East Coasters like Mike Tabeling, Claude Codgen, and Bruce Valluzzi—was a surprise.
The slender and easygoing Roland competed in the World Surfing Championships in 1968 and 1970; he also won the 1969 East Coast Surfing Championships. Roland was elected to the East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame in 1998. Vincent, Brad, and Paul Roland, Joe's younger brothers, were all well-regarded East Coast surfers.