In the shadow of the US 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 Thursday 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 seven 2013 Surfing Walk of Fame’s honorees in their respective categories – Taylor Knox (Surf Champion), Donald Takayama (Surf Pioneer), Jack McCoy (Surf Culture), Keala Kennelly, Sharron Weber (Women of the Year), Roy Crump (Local Hero) and Father Christian Mondor (Honor Roll).
“It’s amazing to think back 20 years ago when we laid the first stone in the cement here for Duke Kahanamoku,” emcee, former World Champion and previous SWOF inductee Peter ‘PT’ Townend addressed to the crowd. “Now, we’re up to 120 stones.”
After a brief presentation to Mayor Jean Hay of Manly, Australia in recognition of Manly and Huntington Beach joining together as sister cities, this year’s inductees were honored one by one.
“I used to call Donald Takayama the Happy Hawaiian,” Townend said of the late surfer/shaper during a heartfelt moment. “He came here as a young boy from Hawaii and started shaping surfboards. Everyone knows him as a shaper but he’s also a surfing champion. Takayama’s widow Diane confirmed: “Surf Pioneer is the best title. Donald really did it all.”
Taylor Knox’s induction as Surf Champion was the morning’s highlight. Knox humble approached the stage to resounding applause and addressed his fellow inductees and a capacity crowd on Main Street. “The message for today is how lucky we are to be one ocean tribe,” Knox said. “We get to travel and see beautiful places. And that spirit is so prevalent and has never been lost.”
The Surf Culture honor went to legendary filmmaker Jack McCoy. Known for his high-quality surf movies, McCoy’s resume includes Tubular Swells (1976), Bunyip Dreaming (1990), The Green Iguana (1992), The Sons of Fun (1993), The Occumentary (1998), Sabotaj (1998), Blue Horizon (2004), Free as a Dog (2006) and his latest A Deeper Shade of Blue (2012), among others.
Keala Kennelly and Sharron Weber shared this year’s Woman of the Year award. Kennelly, a multiple XXL winner, has been on the global big-wave scene since retiring from full-time ASP competition in 2007. Weber was a former U.S. Champion and World Champion throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.
“There’s two things you want when you come to Huntington Beach,” Kennelly said. “You want to win the U.S. Open and have your name in the pavement. Now I have both.”
Also honored in this year’s ceremony, longtime HB surfer Roy Crump was recognized as the Local Hero. And Huntington Beach’s surfing priest Father Christian Mondor 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 are now 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.
Past recipients of the Surfing Walk of Fame honors include Duke Kahanamoku, Kelly Slater, Lisa Anderson, Tom Curren, Bruce Brown, Eddie Aikau and more.