Master of ceremonies Peter Townend told a crowd of about 150 gathered in front of Jack's that the Walk of Fame is all about remembering surfing heritage and reminding folks of the sport and pioneers who rode waves when there wasn't a lot of money in the sport.
Heritage is all about stories, and there were plenty of them. Here are a few.
First up were the six founders of the National Scholastic Surfing Association. Back in the glory days of the ‘70s, they recalled, surfing's reputation was sullied with a sort of slacker stereotype. So they married surfing to scholarship, wooed cheerleaders to the beach for contests, and worked on creating a positive image. Not that there weren't plenty of shenanigans from the start.
"The original NSSA logo in your programs is a collector's item," said Tom Gibbons (pictured above in the green lei). "We had an Orange Coast College student do it for $50. A couple of my students saw it and said, ‘Cool!' What's so cool, I asked. Well, if you look closely at the upper right corner, you can see the artist used the dots to create the shape of a nude woman. Here we were, trying to improve the image of surfing!"
Hawaiian legend Paul Strou, left, took one of the surf pioneer trophies, for the family of the late Buzzy Trent. "Buzzy was fearless in surfing, and in life," he said, recounting tales of Trent's big-wave surfing that helped draw mainland attention to Hawaii.
PT recounted how the other surf pioneer, Wayne Lynch, "reinvented the art of back side surfing, inspiring a whole new generation of goofy-footers that they could surf backside."
Drew Kampion told a few jokes, then turned philosophical, as befits the first journalist to be inducted for his role in documenting surf culture as a writer and editor since 1968 for Surfer, Surfing, Longboard Journal, other magazines and his own books.
Looking at the redeveloped corner of Main Street and PCH, Kampion, left, recalled when Huntington was a funkier place, in a mellower time. "But when you look out at the water, it's still the same, the waves are still the same."
Surfers, he said, "are just different people. They are the most unique tribe I've been exposed to on the face of earth. They are uniquely willing to expose themselves to danger ... for their immediate gratification. ... But I'm reminded of the poet William Blake, who said, ‘If a fool persists in his folly, he becomes wise.' And these kids, they persisted, and they came out expanded people."
Woman of the year Lynne Boyer got kudos from PT for being a "girl who was ‘bustin' down the door' on the North Shore" in the late ‘70s.
"There were many times I was the only girl in the water," said Boyer, left. "I was here in the ‘70s too, and like Drew, I think the water stays the same. The stoke grows in the world, and it's amazing to see." These days, she puts much of her stoke to work in her stroke, as an artist, with works on display in galleries in Hawaii.
Other inductees were Andy Irons as surf champion - he won the U.S. Open 10 years ago, but on Thursday he was in Bali shooting for his sponsor, Billabong - and "local hero" Rich Chew, who joked that he ruined his acceptance speech when he left it in the pocket of his trunks when he surfed in the morning.
Howard Kirk, a San Clemente artist, painted the official image for the ceremony. As the piece took shape, he worked in nine basic surfing moves, then started adding people, until it grew to include the faces of all 100 inductees to date. My photo doesn't do his painting justice.
Coming Friday: The Surfing Hall of Fame ceremonies across the street, at Huntington Surf & Sport.