Todd and Troy, Keith and Kent: Can those old surfer-boy names resurface?

After decades of classic Thomases and Timothys, Richards and Roberts, nothing sounded cooler in the sixties and seventies than a sleek, new, single-syllable name.  I’m not talking about those that were just short-form nicknames like Josh and Jeff and Brad and Greg, or the inauthentic Hollywood-invented names like Rock or Tab.

No, these were legit, independent names– a number of which happened to be Scottish by birth. They were for the most part sharp and brisk, often with hard-edged ‘k’ or ‘t’ endings, and some bore strong family resemblances to each other.  We’ve called a segment of them Beach Boy Names—the personification of surfer machismo.

Some of these names are still in use; but we’re wondering today if any of them are ready for a really strong comeback .

BruceScottish to the core, Bruce is sleeker than most, and it does have its tie to The Boss.

Clarkwith its celeb connection to Gable, and the trend towards Golden Age Hollywood names, Clark could just revive and we have heard some berrybuzz around it.

Craiganother Scottie, Craig was a Top 50 name in the sixties and early seventies, but survives now mostly on craigslist and as the surname of 007.

DeanDean, with a mixed image—part academic, part Dean Martin— is actually on the upswing.  It has risen close to a hundred places in the last decade, though its most prominent representatives, Deans Cain and McDermott, were both born in 1966.

Dwightstuck in the Eisenhower Era, represented most recently by Dwight Yoakam and Dweeb Dwight Schrute of The Office.

Glennmay be fresher for a girl now, à la Glenn Close?  Or better taking a step back to the Welsh Glyn? Or spelling it Glen to make it more of a nature name?

GrantGrant has been in the Top 350 every year since 1880, so it isn’t time-stamped like many of these others: it now ranks comfortably at Number 151.   Grant is both presidential and has the Old Hollywood tie to Cary.

Keithone of the early arrivals, originally a Scottish surname and still in use.  A Top 50 name from the fifties to the seventies, Keith sounds more modern than some with its Keegan/Kieran-related beginning…but it also does bring to mind the craggy visage of Keith Richards.

Kent and Brent and Trenta no-nonsense trio of British place and surname names, associated with English counties and rivers—and a number of star athletes.  Trent rates highest of the three on the current list, along with its city cousin Trenton.

Kirk and Dirkthis pair is set apart by a kind of Scandinavian/Dutch feel, Dirk seeming more modern now than the fading Derek.  But Kirk might still be associated with actor Douglas.

LanceLance already had something of an over-the-top soap opera-ish image drawback back in the day, and Lance Armstrong’s current problems have now tarnished that namesake.  Adventurous modern parents might prefer the Arthurian Lancelot.

ScottI don’t know about you, but I know at least a dozen Scotts—not too surprising when you think that there were almost 31,000 of them born in 1971 alone, when it was in the Top10.  Scott is still hanging in at Number 372, but many Scottish-minded parents now would prefer something less generic, like Finlay or Ewan.

ToddTodd was another beach-boy name of the 1970’s, hitting the surf with Scott and Dean and Duane et al.  The meaning of the name is ‘fox’—which today’s baby namers might pick over Todd.

TroyTroy’s popularity was spurred by sixties heartthrob Troy (born Merle) Donahue, reaching Number 40 in 1967-68, then was kept alive by legendary footballer Troy Aikman.  It was still given to almost 1,500 baby boys last year– and it does have that historic ancient place name connection.

Wayne and Duane/Dwayneof these two oldies, Wayne might have an edge, if only because W-starting names are so on trend right now.

So, do any of these old surfer dude names appeal?  Or are they still too Dad to you?

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


32 Responses to “Todd and Troy, Keith and Kent: Can those old surfer-boy names resurface?”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Poppy528 Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 1:10 am

I think Clark and Dean are the most handsome of the lot. I actually went up high school with a GIRL named Clark, which is kinda like a smush of Claire and Lark, eh kinda.

evergreen Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 1:13 am

Kieth, Dean, Glenn and Clark. These all seem usable to me, I was actually thinking the other day how Kieth was beginning to sound fresh again.It’s always interested me how Craig is pronounced so differently in America, to how it is in Australia & New Zealand. As a Kiwi I pronounce it Crayg, I believe in America it would be said Creeg.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 2:08 am

I see Dean all the time in birth notices, I guess thanks to “Supernatural”. A few Trents, and one or two Bruces.

My parenting group decided the “dad” name they most wanted resurrected was Glenn.

I think my favourite from the list is Keith.

@Evegreen: I always hear the American version of Craig as KREG, like Greg with a hard C.

Liddyhop Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 2:46 am

I’m in my late twenties and all my friends seem to be having babies. Of the last four birth announcements there were three boys: Grant, Bruce and Dean. So all very in trend if this post proves correct. The baby girl’s name I first thought was spelled incorrectly but turned out to be correct: Lyd@. It’s very pretty once you realize it’s not a misspelled Lydia and is also one syllable.

bluejuniper Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 4:05 am

My husband is a Craig (pron Crayg ‘cos we’re in Aus), his best friend is Scott, my best friend’s husband is Todd and my brothers are Troy and Kyle. So I’m familiar with a lot of these!

Kent would be my fave of this list, and I also like Dean, mainly because of the Supernatural reference 🙂

NoahsARK Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 4:17 am

I love Keith and am glad to see PP agree and that it’s described as a “Surferboy name”

It’s on my list for the future and it’ll hopefully feel fresher by then 🙂

Thuja Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 7:51 am

My favorite of these names is Kent….

sophiekihm Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 8:08 am

Todd is my dad’s name (I’m 15, he was born in ’70) and I love it. It is short and no-nonsense, which is very appealing. I don’t think it sounds dated at all.

AvieGrace Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 8:25 am

My paternal Grandfather’s name is Dean (’36) and my dad’s name is Wayne (’62). My cousins are all min. 10 years older than me (i’m 15) and if these names are on trend, it wouldn’t surprise me if either of them have someone named after them in the next few years.

AvieGrace Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 8:28 am

To add on: Both are well loved and looked up too in my family so that would be the real reason to choose the name. Lol

niteowl13 Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 9:31 am

haha No, I would not use these names. My dad is Glenn, and my husband’s dad is Wayne. I went to school with a Brent, Scott, Todd, Troy and Duane. The only one I like is Dean. I have always liked it, but Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) made the name even more appealing. 🙂

Darci Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 10:36 am

My brother and his wife just had a baby Keith, and they like it because it’s a name everyone is familiar with, but there’s not likely to be 3 in a class, either. It’s also easy to spell.

littlemissmariss Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 11:05 am

Clark is a name I’d imagine nice on someone elses baby of this day. Though all the others do feel dated to me, honestly. Except for Lance. Lance just sounds like a romance novel, as does Lancelot. Its super cute, my friend used it for her fish. It sounds very much a macho romance man though :)I can’t personally imagine a baby of this day being named Lance or Lancelot 🙁

Mischa Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 11:14 am

I like some of these no-nonsense names. Dean, Grant and Troy are my favourites from the list. Part of their appeal is their brisk sound and their breezy beach image. They remind me of a more carefree and gentler time. The photo of the little blond surfer dude hanging ten made me smile.

ninanoo Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 11:41 am

I love one syllable names for boys. They are my very favorite names. Of the ones here, I love Bruce, Clark, Dean, Todd, Scott, Wayne, and Troy.

🙂 In fact, 5 of those 7 are on my would use list. Of the two that are not on my would use list, one is unusable because it is a family members name, and the other DH doesn’t like.

maple_blythe Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Keith’s my favourite of these, closely followed by Clark, Dean, Bruce, and Kent. I hadn’t realised what a classic Grant is in the US! I think of it as a 70s name, but I can definitely see the appeal. Todd, Dwight, and Dirk not so much.

There was a Tod in my year in high school who was very quiet, pale, skinny, with a penchant for wearing black- I didn’t know him well at all, but I thought it was an unfortunately appropriate name for him- Tod is the German word for death. Pronounced differently, but looks the same.

dayjoysky2815 Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

These are exactly the type of names I love but everyone I suggest them to thinks they are old-fashioned/dated. Especially Bruce and Clark, Craig, Grant, and Scott. So excited to see this post!

ClaireElise Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I quite like Dean and Glen, so it’s nice to see them getting some positive recognition here on NB. And I always have a soft spot for Keith, as it’s my dad’s name.

LyndsayJenness Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I’ve always loved Dean and Clark, they both remind me of Superman.I would use those plus Grant and Scott. I don’t think of Dean or Clark as dated, but the rest of the list I kind of do. After reading this I’m trying to sell the hubby on Scott, but he’s not having it, lol. Todd is nice, too. And I never would have thought of Wayne, but I can see the appeal…I have a baby cousin Wade.

Worchazer Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Trouble is in the UK that Wayne ends up sounding like ‘Whine’ in some accents, and was also very popular a few years ago with people whose accent would make it sound that way!

Love Keith, (or as some spell it Kieth). Todd is the surname of one of my colleagues, we all call him The Todd, as if he was the only one in the world.

Bruce is generic for any Aussie fella (as is Sheila for his missus), whilst Clark and Kent are always Superman.

Lance? No thanks. I’m a cycling fan and the name is forever tarnished.

Not sure about Dwight – very American and also the given surname of one Reginald Dwight, better known to the world as Elton John. (And yes, I did know of a teen whose parents named him Elton after the singer!)

Names4real Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I like Clark, Dean, & Kent.

OliviaSarah Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I like Dean, as in James.

The majority sound like almost-middle-aged men to me.

Sunshine Kid Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I love Dean, Todd and Grant. Especially Dean and I think I would use it in a heartbeat if 1) it wasn’t the name of my cousin
2) and that he wasn’t such a bogan, sorry cous but you are.

Sassy Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

My hubby works with a Glenn, a Craig and a Bruce. We also have friends Todd and Scott. A friend of mind has a 4 1/2 yr old Clark (her maiden name).
My favourites on this list are Craig and Bruce. Unfortunately, both are out though, partly because of the co-worker and my brother has dibs on Bruce. I don’t mind though since I think it would be cute for him to have a little Bruce since his name is Robert, lol.

Emmy67 Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I guess my husband and I must be fans of the old-surfer boy style (pretty fitting since we live in FL!). Todd was on my list and Troy was on his for our second baby boy!

auroradawn Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I like several of these, particularly Kent and Kirk.
If Bruce suddenly takes off, I would attribute it to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy; in fact, I’ve been watching Bruce to see if it does rise. However, it could become part of a larger trend, as per this post.

EssJay Says:

November 7th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I would have been a Craig if I’d been a boy.
I like Dean and Scott from this list. Wayne in the UK has associations with the footballer Wayne Rooney though, if you used it here people would think it was after him.
I know a Dean, Craig, Scott, Glen and Dwight from this list, all late teens/early 20s.

GrecianErn Says:

November 7th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Just a note… in America, Craig is pronounced “Crayg” at least the 4 or 5 I have known are.

I’m married to a Scott, who’s cousins are Todd, Terry, and Troy. All born from 1969-1977.

None of these names are usable for our family. I know too many people with these names. all middle-aged men.

Annie85 Says:

November 8th, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I like Clark, Dean and Glenn, but not enough to use them. The others just don’t appeal to me.

sheena12 Says:

December 21st, 2012 at 2:32 am

Absolutely! Dean, Grant, Bruce, Glen, Troy, Tent, Troy, Todd, Wayne, et al are names that boys actually LIKE! Never heard of a guy complain about any one of them.

And why not? They sound good, Unlike some of the names in current usage.

LeanneC Says:

January 11th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Love my Dean! I’ve got an ’09 baby named Dean and we love his name. It fits him so well and I feel it’s the perfect amount of retro without feeling old fashioned. We also have yet to meet another Dean his age. We do know several little Clark’s, though.

taliesin Says:

September 7th, 2014 at 11:10 am

I love all these names, except Wayne, Duane, Todd. I especially love Scott. And we say ‘Crayg’ also. I have lived in Chicago, Houston, Albuquerque, Toronto and Phoenix and I have never heard this name pronounced ‘Creeg’. I even went to school (Chicago) with a couple guys named Craig (one is now spelling this Craigg) and they pronounced this ‘Crayg’ also.

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.