The self-proclaimed “Prince of Montauk” is still riding high.
Last year, after he was the subject of a profile in Vanity Fair — in which he was described as a “real estate agent to the stars,” “unofficial bouncer of the local surf beaches” and, most improbably, “the inspiration for Cole Lockhart, Joshua Jackson’s character on ‘The Affair’” — Mr. Eckardt was arrested by the East Hampton police on charges of driving while under the influence of drugs.
Some longtime Montauk residents were ready to write him off as a washed-up party boy, but he has defied expectations.
This year he has sold more than $15.5 million in homes and commercial properties, according to Nest Seekers, the firm for which he works. He is the broker for one of the town’s largest commercial listings: Zum Schneider, a 4,040-square-foot German-style restaurant and beer garden that is on the market for $4.1 million.
Recently, he got the exclusive on a four-bedroom home with water views owned by the surfer and artist Tony Caramanico, priced at $3.2 million. And Mr. Eckardt is in the process of closing a $27 million deal that he said he couldn’t talk about because of a nondisclosure agreement.
“I believe I’m the realest real estate agent out here,” he said. “Whatever I touch turns to sold.”
“I know what this town needs,” he said. “I visualize greatness.”
Raised by a fisherman and waitress in Montauk, Mr. Eckardt always dreamed of being a surfer and traveling the world. He moved to California in his late teens to attend Santa Barbara City College before moving to Malibu to surf. When he saw how quickly Malibu was developing, he also found a passion for real estate.
“If I continued to grind, who knows what would have happened,” he said. “But I saw myself doing more than that.”
So, five years ago, Mr. Eckardt returned to Montauk, just as his hometown was undergoing a real estate transformation, from quiet fishing village to high-roller beach resort.
His surfer connections and native-son status, he thought, would mesh perfectly with Montauk’s new scene.
“Everywhere that I have traveled to surf, I’ve also built a résumé,” he said. “Even now I’m…