Huntington Beach, CA – June 3, 2011 – The votes have been tallied and seven legendary wave riders will once again be forever enshrined in surfing's history books. 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 2011 Surfing Walk of Fame's honorees in their respective categories – Rob Machado (Surf Champion), Skip Frye (Surf Pioneer), Dick Dale (Surf Culture), Debbie Beacham and Kathy "Gidget" Kohner (tied for Women of the Year), Bill Fury (Local Hero) and The Hole in the Wall Gang (Honor Roll).
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.
"The Surfing Walk of Fame board of directors is very excited with this year's voter-selected honorees for the 2011 induction," said Don MacAllister, SWoF Chairman of the Board. "For the past 18 years, we mail ballots throughout the world and gather votes to make our selection."
Rob Machado, a former Pipeline Master and World Number Two surfer, has a definitive history surfing in Huntington Beach. A well worthy Surf Champion, he won the U.S. Open of Surfing three times and finished runner-up three times. Even the lefthander south of the pier will forever be dubbed "Machado's Peak" after seemingly magical waves appeared out of nowhere, propelling the stylish goofyfoot to victory.
"It is a true honor to be inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame and very humbling to be included alongside that group of people who have all made incredible contributions to surfing," Machado explained. "Surfing has given me so much and I feel like my career is nowhere close to over."
Earning the Surf Pioneer nod is San Diego's Skip Frye — a legendary surfer, competitor and shaper during the 1960s. After a trip to Australia, Frye came back with knowledge of the vee-bottom design, which soon helped fuel the shortboard revolution.
Musician Dick Dale, largely regarded as the founder of surf music, is undoubtedly worthy of the Surf Culture recognition. He was once quoted as saying he was trying to "match the feeling I had while surfing" to his music.
The Woman of the Year goes to two honorees this time around — Debbie Beacham, a former world champion turned women's contest promoter, and Kathy Kohner (also known as "Gidget"), who's Malibu upbringing spring-boarder her into a pop icon.
Also in this year's ceremony, surfer/shaper Bill Fury is recognized as the Local Hero. And HB's legendary surf team "The Hole in the Wall Gang" earns the Honor Roll spot.
Here are the voting criterions used to decide each division:
SURF CHAMPION – Nominees must have held a world championship and/or world-class event titles specific to Huntington Beach.
SURF PIONEER – Nominees achieved surfing fame as a respected surfer or pioneer in the time before major championship; candidates must either be at least 50 years old or deceased.
SURF CULTURE – Inductees are nominated from the arts and/or industry, and must have helped create and define surfing culture.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR – Any female who meets the qualification in any of the four categories: surf champion, surfing culture, local hero, or surfing pioneer.
LOCAL HERO – Nominees must have resided in Huntington Beach for at least 10 years, graduated from Huntington Union School District, been a finalist in the surf champion category, contributed to Huntington surfing culture, been a surfing pioneer in the city or a past champion at the annual Huntington Beach City Championships.
HONOR ROLL – Recipients of the honor roll award deserve recognition due to their important contributions to the sport of surfing and its culture, but hey do not qualify under the specific guidelines of the other five walk of fame categories. The honor roll is the only category chose by the walk of fame board of directors.
This year's honorary induction ceremony will take place during the U.S. Open of Surfing on August 4th at 10am outside of Jack's Surfboards in Huntington Beach.
Past recipients of the Surfing Walk of Fame honors include Duke Kahanamoku, Kelly Slater, Lisa Anderson, Tom Curren, Bruce Brown, Eddie Aikau and more. For additional information go to www.surfingwalkoffame.com.