Huntington Beach, CA - August 5, 2011 - A host of influential wave-riders now hold down one of the most famous corners in surfing. Rob Machado, Skip Frye, Dick Dale, Debbie Beacham, Kathy "Gidget" Kohner Zuckerman and HB's Hold in the Wall Gang were all recognized for their contributions to the sport in a ceremony on Wednesday morning outside Jack's Surfboards at the corner of PCH and Main Street, across from the famed Huntington Beach Pier.
"This is one of the best classes ever inducted," explained Peter 'PT' Townend, Walk of Fame board member, event emcee and former World Champion. "The men and women honored here today cover a wide depth of surfing culture."
With notable attendees such as David Nuuhiwa, L.J. Richards, basketball legend Bill Walton and more, the 18th annual Surfing Walk of Fame induction ceremony began with a somewhat somber tone. The Honor Roll recipients - Huntington Beach's Hole in the Wall Gang surf club - paid tribute to their recently deceased unofficial leader Gordie Duane. As did Local Hero inductee Bill Fury, who went as far as to share some revealing yet humorous stories of Duane.
Quickly lightening the vibe was the Woman of the Year nominees, which ended in a tie, as both recipients were deemed equally deserving. 1983 World Champion Debbie Beacham was honored for her contributions to competitive surfing. The current Vice President of the International Surfing Association was acknowledged as one of the first women pushing the limits at Sunset Beach on the North Shore.
Also inducted was Kathy 'Gidget' Kohner Zuckerman for her worldwide influence on surf culture. Gidget actually stopped surfing for a good chunk of her adult life but credited the sport's fun-loving spirit as the catalyst for her return.
"I quit surfing and was nervous to start up again but the surf community made me feel better by welcoming me back with open arms," Gidget told the crowd. "I always say...once a surfer, always a surfer."
After the women were set in stone, a familiar guitar riff cranked through the speakers as PT announced that the Surf Culture nod was going to surf music originator Dick Dale. Dale shared memories of surfing and playing guitar in Huntington Beach while crediting Joe Quigg as the shaper behind his first surfboard. Throughout his acceptance speech, Dale kept catching himself repeating the same phrase but explained to the audience, "'Bitchen' is not a swear word - it means 'good'."
Skip Frye was recognized as the Surf Pioneer recipient. And the San Diego surfer/shaper legend paid a humble tribute to his fellow inductees.
"The class accompanying me is fantastic," Frye admitted. "This honor is not about me, it's about the people who supported us the whole time."
The final inductee, and crowd favorite, Surf Champion Rob Machado mirrored Frye's sentiment.
"It's an honor to be inducted - I don't feel like I belong up here," Machado, a three-time U.S. Open champion, modestly said. "Huntington Beach has given me tremendous memories and to be crowned champion here is something I'll never forget."
And neither will the thousands of visitors who frequent Huntington Beach on any given day. All seven inductees are now immortalized forever in the pavement of HB's busiest corner.
2011 Surfing Walk of Fame Inductees:
SURF CHAMPION: Rob Machado
SURF PIONEER: Skip Frye
SURF CULTURE: Dick Dale
WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Debbie Beacham, Kathy 'Gidget' Kohner Zuckerman
LOCAL HERO: Bill Fury
HONOR ROLL: Hole in the Wall Gang
For additional information go to www.surfingwalkoffame.com.