Against the backdrop of the mega surf contest that he helped shape, Ian “Kanga” Cairns will enter the 2010 Surfers’ Hall of Fame this August. Winner of the 1973 Smirnoff Pro and 1975 Duke Kahanamoku Classic, Cairns was the premier “power” surfer of his era and dominated the North Shore during the mid to late-seventies.
Known as a fierce competitor who carved trench-like turns in big surf, Cairns ultimately turned his attention to growing the sport and played an instrumental role in the development of the NSSA, ASP, Op Pro, Bud Surf Tour and the U.S. Open of Surfing; earning a reputation as an articulate and passionate supporter of competitive surfing. Cairns, along with other inductees to be announced, will place their hands, feet and signature in wet cement for the ages during a public ceremony.
Cairns was influential in the development of American surfing (and surfers), adding structure to the nascent sport and creating a “clear path to follow.” Under his direction, the venerable Op Pro Surfing Championships produced some of the most memorable clashes in surfing history and created a world-class “stadium” venue to showcase the sport. The Bud Tour received extensive media coverage and jump-started the careers of a new crop of Americans led by Kelly Slater, Taylor Knox, Rob Machado, Shane Beschen and Pat O’Connell.
Among myriad achievements ranging from co-founder of the Bronzed Aussies, appearances in two-dozen surf movies and overseeing the Bluetorch media company, perhaps the most indelible mark Cairns made in the world of surfing is the gargantuan U.S. Open. Prior to taking a brief hiatus from the sport, Cairns helped lay the foundation for the U.S. Open to become the world’s largest professional surfing competition and a consumer showcase for the sport.
“Ian Cairns is a true Surfing Legend who continually pours his heart and soul into our Sport,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai. “Big Wave Surfer, fierce competitor and currently the head coach of the USA Surf Team, we are very honored that he will be inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this summer!”