Surfing Walk of Fame
Surfing Walk of Fame celebrates six new surf legends
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 August, 2017 - In the shadow of the U.S Open of Surfing, Surf City USA’s Main Street was blocked off to honor the newest class of inductees to the Surfing Walk of Fame on Wednesday morning.
Through a selection ballot, a host of respected surf industry veterans, former professionals and surf journalists narrowed down a field of hundreds of candidates to name the six 2017 Surfing Walk of Fame’s honorees in their respective categories – Barton Lynch (Surf Champion), Jeff Hakman (Surf Pioneer), Jim Jenks (Surf Culture), Timmy Reyes (Local Hero), Pam Burridge (Woman of the Year) and the Huntington Beach High School 50th Anniversary Coaches — Bill Garland, Bruce Gabrielson, Rob Hill, Chuck Allen, Andy Verdone (Honor Roll).
Emcee, former World Champion and past inductee Peter Townend welcomed the capacity crowd filled with previous Walk of Fame recipients, a host of distinguished civil officials, surf industry notables and U.S. Open surf fans.
“One of our former inductees, Surfer Magazine founder John Severson, sent in his ballot this year just one week before he passed away,” Townend said in a heart-felt opening. “He let us know just how important what we’re doing here is for our surf culture.”
1988 ASP World Champion Barton Lynch was recognized with the Surf Champion plaque. The articulate Aussie’s stellar competitive career was highlighted with 17 Championship Tour wins during his 15 years on the circuit, including victories at the Pipeline Masters as well as the OP Pro in Huntington Beach in 1987 and 1991.
“I don’t always remember my accomplishments myself so to be remembered here today is an honor,” Lynch said. “It shows the depth and respect that Huntington Beach has for our culture. I always wanted to let my surfing communicate what we do to the public and that’s what motivated me in my career. If I can surf until my days are done, I’ll be happy.”
Just before Lynch took the stage, his childhood pal from Manly Beach, Australia was inducted with Woman of the Year honors. Pam Burridge, 1990 World Champion and 15-time World Tour event winner, shined brightly with the stoke of a grommet as she accepted the award.
“Surfing has saved me from a lot of things,” Burridge said. “But it doesn’t fix everything. I let surfing fuel me throughout my career. But it’s not just about me. I love these types of gatherings and sharing the waves with others.”
But the legend who most of this year’s inductees idolized most was Mr. Sunset, Jeff Hakman, this year’s Surf Pioneer recipient. Hakman won the inaugural Pipeline Masters in 1971 as well as became the first non-Australian to win the esteemed Bells Beach trophy in 1976. The big-wave expert from Oahu was also one of the founders of the Quiksilver brand in the U.S.A. in 1976.
“This is such an honor,” Hakman said. “I never thought I would be considered a surf pioneer…I always wanted to be a surf champion. [Laughs.] I can’t explain how deeply this affects me. Everything in my life comes from surfing. I hope I can surf until I’m 100 years old.”
Hometown hero Timmy Reyes was immortalized in the H.B. pavement in the Local Hero category. Reyes had just landed from an excursion to the wild waves of Tasmania and was warmly greeted by the Huntington crowd.
“I never thought this would ever happen…especially to get to share it with all my family and friends,” Reyes said. “This beach is where I learned everything. You always see these names on the street and now to be a part of it…wow! I can’t wait to spit on my own name. [Laughs.] I’m proud to be a Huntington local.”
Surfwear innovator Jim Jenks, who conceptualized the iconic Ocean Pacific (OP) label. As a surfboard dealer in the 1970s, Jenks noticed a need for performance-based surf shorts that eventually led to a worldwide movement in surf/lifestyle fashion. He was instrumental in bringing pro surfing back to California in 1982 with the inaugural OP Pro contest in Huntington Beach.
Also honored in this year’s ceremony, the 50th Anniversary of the Huntington Beach High School Coaches — Bill Garland, Bruce Gabrielson, Rob Hill, Chuck Allen and Andy Verdone — earned the Honor Roll spot.
The Surfing Walk of Fame is the only tribunal in surfing to award specific categories as well as require a 10-year margin since the commemorating achievement. This year’s recipients will be cemented alongside past inductees, earning their immortal place in the pavement on the corner of PCH and Main Street, directly across from the famous pier in Surf City USA — Huntington Beach, California.