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SURFERS’ HALL OF FAME TO IMMORTALIZE GEORGE DOWNING, TAYLOR KNOX AND
CHUCK LINNEN IN CONCRETE ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2011
David Stanfield and Corky Carroll to serve as Masters of Ceremony
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – A pioneering big wave rider, ASP World Tour veteran and genuine local hero join other legendary surfing icons as the 2011 inductees to the Surfers’ Hall of Fame. George Downing, Taylor Knox and Chuck Linnen will have their hand and footprints immortalized in cement for the ages on Friday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m. in front of Huntington Surf & Sport (corner of PCH and Main).
Famed sports announcer/commentator David Stanfield and five-time U.S. Surfing Champion Corky Carroll will serve as Masters of Ceremony. Information is available at http://hsssurf.com/shof.
The Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony pays tribute to those individuals who have made an indelible mark on the sport, industry and culture of surfing.
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, Andy Irons, Jack O’Neill, Robert August, Bob Hurley, Sean Collins, Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Pat O’Connell, Al Merrick, Shaun Tomson and Rob Machado who are already immortalized in cement.
Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai had this to say regarding the 2011 inductees, “George Downing is one of the all time greats. Taylor Knox from the new school has influenced an entire generation of surfers. Chuck Linnen is a home grown Huntington Beach Surfing Legend! We are extremely honored and looking forward to their inductions into the Surfers’ Hall Fame this August!”
Born in Honolulu in 1930, Downing began surfing Waikiki at age nine. Known as one of the original big wave riders with encyclopedic knowledge of the sport, he was among the first to ride Laniakea on the North Shore and Maui’s Honolua Bay in the late 1940’s. George went on to win the Makaha International in 1954, 61’ and 65’, finished seventh at the 1965 World Championships and second at the 1967 Duke.
A keen student of weather and its impact on swell formation, he blended this knowledge with surfboard theory and construction, building innovative boards that allowed him to ride the biggest waves of the day culminating with 30 foot Makaha on January 13, 1958. Mentor to dozens of Hawaiian surfers over the years, Downing also worked as one of the famed Waikiki beachboys for more than three decades. The longtime contest director of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau event, George Downing holds an important place in surfing culture.
California native Taylor Knox has often been spoken of as a world title contender since he joined the ASP World Tour as a rookie in 1993. Part of 1990’s “New School” crew that replaced the 80’s power surfers, Knox was known for his rail-to-rail style of surfing. Although unable to garner consistent wins on the pro circuit, Taylor won the 1995 U.S. Championship and then led the 1996 American team to victory at the ISA World Surfing Games with his first place finish in the talent-rich men’s division. In February 1998, Knox catapulted into the international spotlight by winning the inaugural K2 Big-Wave Challenge, an event that offered $50,000 to the surfer who caught the biggest wave of the winter and had photographic evidence. Knox unknowingly dropped into a 52-foot behemoth at Todos Santos that made him a mainstream media darling.
A longtime Huntington Beach surfer, Chuck rode his first wave in 1954, was a men's finalist at the 1958 Oceanside Invitational and competed in his first U.S. Championships in 1959, held in his hometown. Linnen was among the first wave of California surfers to travel to the North Shore in the early 1960s and was a finalist at the 1961 world contest held at Makaha. He also competed at the 1964 world contest in Peru and was runner-up at the Malibu Masters event in 1973. Linnen helped shape the culture and character of Huntington Beach as a mentor and role model to local surfers—teaching future legends like Corky Carroll how to “shoot the pier.” The “surf king” as many called him was a member of the Huntington Beach Surfing Association and ‘The Boys of 55’ surf club. A retired Irvine high school teacher, Linnen most recently held the NSSA Senior Champ and WSA Grand Master titles.
The nation’s first imprint collection of legendary surfers, the Surfers’ Hall of Fame celebrated its first induction in 1997 inside of specialty retailer Huntington Surf & Sport where several slabs remain. Four years later with the blessing of the City 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.
The Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public, free-of-charge. Further information is available at http://hsssurf.com/shof/.