In the shadow of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, Surf City USA’s Main Street was blocked off to honour the 25th class of inductees to the Surfing Walk of Fame on Thursday 2nd August. 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 just seven – including 3x World Champion Mick Fanning and 6x World Champion and current ratings leader Stephanie Gilmore.
It was a star-studded Surfing Walk of Fame this year with Mick inducted as ‘Surf Champion’ and Steph Gilmore inducted as ‘Woman of the Year’ alongside other icons of industry including , Ben Aipa ‘Surf Pioneer’, Bob McKnight ‘Surf Culture’, Randy Lewis ‘Local Hero’ and Fernando Aguerre and Steve Van Doren to the ‘Honor Roll’.
Alongside these icons of surfing locals Brett Simpson and Herbie Fletcher we’re inducted into the Huntington Surfers’ Hall of Fame
“I couldn’t think of a better class of inductees for our 25th anniversary celebration,” said Walk of Fame board Chairman Don MacAllister.
Fanning, who couldn’t attend the ceremony in person recorded a video message to pay tribute and thank those who nominated him.
“I want to thank everyone for inducting me into the Surfing Walk of Fame,”said Mick. “I’m also deeply honoured to be alongside all the greats of U.S. and International surfing.”
Fernando Aguerre who is less than two years away from his ultimate triumph of including surfing in the Olympics was equally moved. It’s been a 20-year crusade for the ISA to include surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Aguerre has chiefly led the organisation over this time.
“It is an honour for me to join such esteemed colleagues and friends today to be inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame. This is a prestigious award and one that I will cherish. Surfing is my life and I have worked hard to ensure that, through the ISA, I can spread the sport around the world.
“I’d like to share this award with everyone who helped me and the ISA in making our Olympic dream a reality in 2016. The Surfing community came together to support a historic common cause, and for that I will be eternally grateful. The Surf and Beach Festival to be held at Tokyo 2020 will allow us to share our values, lifestyle and culture with billions around the world.”
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 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 honours include Duke Kahanamoku, Kelly Slater, Lisa Anderson, Tom Curren, Bruce Brown, Eddie Aikau and more. Candidates for the Walk of Fame are nominated by museums, media organizations and people in the surf industry. A 200-member international panel then votes to select each year’s inductees.
A complete list of the 2018 Walk of Fame honourees and (brief) highlight achievements below:
- Mick Fanning aka “White Lightning” was the (WSL) World Tour champion in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
- Bob McKnight is co-founder of Quiksilver and is viewed as a leader and pioneer of the surf industry through popularising the ‘boardshort’ lifestyle in the USA and around the world.
- Steph Gilmore is a six-time champion of the Women’s ASP World Tour, most recently in 2014.
- Randy Lewis is a lifelong Huntington Beach resident was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in 2010.
- Fernando Aguerre is the co-founder of the Reef and is President of the International Surfing Association and a primary driver for surfing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.
- Steve Van Doren is the legendary VP of events and promotions for Van’s and is the son of the company’s co-founder.
- Brett Simpson is a graduate of Huntington Beach High School and hometown here. He was the first back-to-back winner of the U.S. Open of Surfing (2009 and 2010).
- Herbie Fletcher graduated from Huntington Beach High School, founded Herbie Fletcher Surfboards in Dana Point and was among the leaders of the longboard resurgence and jet ski assisted surfing pioneer.
For additional information go to www.surfingwalkoffame.com.
Photo Credit: Mike Cianciulli/@mikechinch