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Tiffany Montgomery
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Aaron Pai announces 2009 Hall of Fame inductees

By Tiffany Montgomery
March 17, 2009 10:43 AM

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - The 2009 Surfers' Hall of Fame induction ceremony pays tribute to three generations of waterman, all of whom have made an indelible mark on the sport, industry and culture of surfing. This year's eclectic class features a Pipeline Masters champion and Quiksilver USA co-founder (Jeff Hakman), a documentary film director and early pioneer of surf films (Bruce Brown) and the co-star of Endless Summer II and former World Tour standout (Pat O'Connell).

The 12th annual Surfers' Hall of Fame ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 24 in front of Huntington Surf & Sport (corner of PCH and Main). 

"I am super stoked on this year's Inductees into the Surfers' Hall of Fame: Jeff Hakman, Bruce Brown and Pat O'Connell," said Surfers' Hall of Fame founder, Aaron Pai. "Each of them has had a major influence on our Sport of Surfing. Each of them has created moments in surfing history that we all will remember in years to come; whether it be Jeff Hakman surfing Sunset Beach, Bruce Brown showing us some of the best waves in the world for the first time or Pat O'Connell surfing all over the globe in the movie Endless Summer II."

Annually, tens of thousands of visitors to Huntington Beach's downtown area literally walk in the footsteps of surfing superstars and legends from several eras including Laird Hamilton, Mike Doyle, Jack O'Neill, Robert August, Greg Noll, Jericho Poppler, Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Martin Potter, Al Merrick, Shaun Tomson and Rob Machado who are already immortalized in cement. The new inductees joining this esteemed group are:

Jeff "Mr. Sunset" Hakman: Born in Southern California's south bay in 1948, Hakman would waste little time establishing his North Shore credentials after a family trip to Hawaii in 1959. At the age of 17 and pitted against 23 world class surfers, he won the inaugural Duke Kahanamoku Classic at Sunset Beach. From age 21 to 27 Jeff won more major surfing titles than anyone in the world including the first Pipeline Masters, two more Duke contests, three Hang Ten Internationals and the Gunston Pro. His mastery of and fearless approach to Sunset Beach led to his lifelong moniker, "Mr. Sunset". In 1976 along with Bob McKnight, Jeff would launch Quiksilver USA.

Bruce Brown: In 1964, filmmaker Bruce Brown decided to follow two surfers around the world in search of a perfect wave. On a budget of only $50,000 and armed with a 16mm camera, he captured the essence, the adventure, and the art of surfing in the renowned The Endless Summer. Bruce, who started surfing at age 11 in Long Beach, launched his illustrious career in 1958 with Slippery When Wet, and followed with several more movies including Surf Crazy (1959) and Waterlogged (1962), but his defining moment came when Endless Summer showcased surfing to the masses. Thirty years later he would film Endless Summer II with son Dana, showcasing a young Pat O'Connell and Robert "Wingnut" Weaver. Brown's motorcycle documentary, On Any Sunday, received an Academy Award nomination.

Pat O'Connell: Born in Chicago in 1971, Pat O'Connell spent the first 12 years of his life landlocked. It wasn't until the early 80's when Pat's family moved to Newport Beach (then Dana Point) that Pat would develop his one-of-a-kind, surf-stoked enthusiasm. After successfully negotiating the NSSA, PSAA and Bud Surf Tours, Pat's competitive career took a slight detour when he took a co-lead role in Endless Summer II, Bruce Brown's remake of the classic surf film. Pat gained celebrity status across the globe, but would return to professional surfing's World Championship Tour for several years. In 1997, Pat launched The Realm, a start-up clothing venture with Mike Parsons. After retiring from competition on "his own terms", Pat joined Hurley International's marketing department.

In 1997 the Surfers' Hall of Fame celebrated its first induction inside of specialty retailer Huntington Surf & Sport where several slabs remain. Four years later with the blessing of the Ci ty Council and a stunning bronze statue of sport's spiritual leader Duke Kahanamoku serving as a backdrop, the ceremony moved outside to the corner of PCH and Main; less than 100 feet from the famed Huntington Beach Pier, site of the U.S. Open of Surfing.

Styled after the famed Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, which Aaron Pai visited as a youngster, the Surfers' Hall of Fame is intended to "connect the generations of surfers with a lasting tribute and permanent public showcase for the achievements of those who have shaped and revolutionized the sport," said Pai. The standing room only crowd on induction day is testament to the landmark's popularity and the surfing community's acknowledgment of their heroes.

The Surfers' Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public, free-of-charge.


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