“When considering Andy Verdone for induction we had many of our grassroots community come out and support him because of his 25 years of coaching and supporting surfing, plus the impact that he has had on so many of the kids who live in this town,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai. “He has been a major “positive force” in taking our sport of surfing to the next level while telling the kids to stay in school, get good grades, stay away from drugs, go to college… he truly has been a great example to us all!”
Pai added, “Andy has impacted kid’s lives in many ways including his legendary surf trips around the world. I’ve seen him charge huge waves at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, Byron Bay in Australia and the north side of the Huntington Pier! We are stoked to be able to recognize and to thank Andy for his contributions and achievements to our Surfing World!”
Coach Andy Verdone took over from the late Chuck Allen in ‘87-’88 and immediately lead Huntington Beach High School Surf (HBHS) Team to a NSSA National title. Verdone, who had been student teaching at Westminster High, remembers showing up to Allen’s annual banquet in 1988, just as he was retiring and Verdone about to step in. He watched as Allen gave away college scholarships to kids – nothing he’d ever seen in any other sport.
“It was big, on a grand scale,” Verdone said at the time, “Rarely do you meet a man who has had such great influence on the sport. I could call him any time, and he’d have time for me. I had a lot of sleepless nights in the early years trying to follow in his footsteps.”
Now known as the “Phil Jackson” of surf coaches, Verdone parlayed Allen’s success and has built his program into among the most successful and winningest in the country, capturing 10 NSSA National Titles as well as a National Surf League Title in 2010. A formidable ex-football coach turned 25-plus year surf coach for Huntington Beach High School, Coach Verdone is known for his disciplinary coaching style and turning out some of the best surfers in the world. He has trained and coached some of the best surfers in Huntington Beach including the Deffenbaugh brothers, Jay Larson, Micah Byrne, Shaun Ward and Brett Simpson.
A huge part of Coach Verdone’s program is his legendary surf trips with the team to such destinations as Australia, South Africa and Ireland. He also raises funds to take students to state and national tournaments. A fixture on the southside of the Huntington Beach Pier, on any given school day, you should see Andy and his merry clan, ripping the pier!
Coach Verdone and his young globetrotters appeared in a 2007 surf documentary called “Chasing the Dream”, which follows eight kids on his squad who want to become pros. Year after year 100 students try out for his squad and only 30 make the cut. Verdone’s impact on the sport of surfing in Surf City is such that one young surfer moved here from Nantucket, Massachusetts without his family just to surf for the Huntington Beach Oilers