Dane Reynolds

Dane Reynolds“Dane Reynolds is the most exciting Freesurfer in the world today and many of our young surfers wanted him in the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this year,” said Aaron Pai. “We are honored and very excited to induct him into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame!”

Reynolds, a 26-year-old from Ventura, California, is easily one of the most exciting and creative surfers on the planet; known for his “go for broke” style of surfing that includes a repertoire of experimental and aerial maneuvers. He was born in 1985 and started surfing at the age of 10 after he moved from Bakersfield to Ventura. It was here on the point breaks around Santa Barbara that Dane honed his progressive style. He first started competing at age 13 and by age 17 was considered to be California’s greatest hope for a world title, the heir to Tom Curren’s late ’80s early ’90s soul reign, and heartthrob to tons of teenage girls reading the surf magazines.

Reynolds competed in the 2003 and 2004 X Games and received the highest single wave score both years. His first video, “First Chapter”, won Best Male Performance in a Video and Video of the Year at the 2006 Surfer Poll Awards. Dane qualified for the 2008 World Tour after finishing runner-up to Jordy Smith in the 2007 World Qualifying Series. He wound up 19th on the tour that year and then rocketed into the coveted Top 10 in 2009. Reynolds had a breakout year in 2010, ending up tied for fourth in the world. It only seemed like a matter of time before he would dethrone Kelly Slater.

2011 came and went, but injuries kept him out of several events and seemed to throttle his competitive drive, but not his desire to push the boundaries of the sport. “I don’t put too much importance on winning contests, which I think can make surfing boring,” Reynolds said in an interview. “You’ve got guys doing safe turns all the way to the beach to get a seven-point ride. I don’t see the point of that. I prefer surfing as an art as opposed to a sport. It’s such a rad thing that it’s crazy to confine it to a certain criteria.”

In one of his few mainstream media interviews, Rolling Stone opined that one of the ways to understand just how differently Reynolds sees waves-and the act of riding them-is to consider the fact that, for a guy who makes his living on the water, he spends a lot of time in the air. His athletic, acrobatic free-surf style is punctuated by unearthly aerial maneuvers and cartoonish twists and turns, running counter to the straight-ahead, power mode that seems to dominate the professional circuit today. But in Reynolds’s view, it really isn’t whether you win or lose, but rather what you do when you’re confronted with a break.

In announcing that he was leaving full-time competitive surfing, Dane posted on his website that, “Surfing is my passion in life. I always think about how lucky we are that there’s even an ocean, and it’s not too hot or too turbulent and it’s not made of acid that burns our skin off. And how lucky is it that the land tapers into the ocean in just the right way so that when lumps of energy approach from a thousand miles away they gently rise up and crash at just the perfect speed so that we can wave our little arms and match their speed and hang at the crest weightless for just a second before sliding down the face. There are tons of them (waves). They keep coming, all different sizes shapes and speeds; endless joy.”

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Rabbit Kekai

Rabbit Kekai“One of the great icons in our sport of Surfing, Rabbit Kekai is a true inspiration…especially to young surfers,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai. “He has preserved his surfing culture in a very positive way, and that is by simply living it. We are honored and excited to induct Rabbit into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame!”

Nicknamed “Rabbit” for being one of the island’s fastest runners, Kekai is a living legend in the world of surfing; one that has done it all from Waikiki beach boy to groundbreaking surfer to North Shore Beach Marshall. Born in 1920 and raised in Waikiki, Rabbit began surfing at age five. At age 10 he was taken under the wing of Duke Kahanamoku who paid his entries into canoe races and had him teaching surf lessons.

A pioneer of North Shore surfing in the ’30s with George Downing and Wally Froiseth, Rabbit became known as an innovator of drop-knee turns on short, finless boards. He practically invented hot-dogging, inspiring the likes of Phil Edwards, Joe Quigg, Miki Dora and Donald Takayama. He also had a direct part in the development of surfers such as Joey Cabell, Jeff Hakman and Randy Rarick among others. The quintessential Waikiki beachboy, Rabbit boasted many Hollywood elite of the day as clients including David Niven, Red Skelton, Dorothy Lamour and Kirk Douglas.

Rabbit made his own redwood and balsa boards prior to World War II, at which time he served as an army frogman in the South Pacific. As an Army-trained underwater demolitions man, Kekai spent more than three years planting explosives on island-based enemy defenses in Micronesia, helping clear pathways for American troops. He was one of four from his 12-man platoon to return from action.

Following his return from the war, Rabbit’s surfing continued to improve and he won the Peruvian and Makaha International titles during the ’50s. He returned to his job as a beachboy, but also worked construction and as a longshoreman. Beginning in the ‘70s, Kekai worked for the annual North Shore contests. Each winter season, he can be found at every Triple Crown event, doling out jerseys, wisecracks and advice as Beach Marshall, a position he has held since the first Pipeline Masters.

Year after year he was the most active surfer in his age group, winning the United States Surfing Championships in 1973, 1980, 1984 and 1988. In the legends division of the 2000 event, surfing against men nearly 15 years his junior, the 79 year-old finished fourth. Commenting on his many accomplishments, Rabbit responds, “When you pass 500 trophies, years and years ago, you lose count.” Now in his ninth decade, his enthusiasm for talking stories, telling jokes and surfing are as strong as ever.

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Surfers’ Hall of Fame – 15th Anniversary

SHF Framed Invitation_12SURFERS’ HALL OF FAME CELEBRATES ITS 15TH ANNIVERSARY BY INDUCTING RABBIT KEKAI, DANE REYNOLDS AND ANDY VERDONE ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2012

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – The Surfers’ Hall of Fame is pleased to announce one of its most exciting and diverse classes on Friday, August 3, 2012 when it inducts a Waikiki Beach Boy mentored by Hawaiian Royalty, one of the most creative and gifted surfers on the planet and the man responsible for coaching hundreds of students and winning multiple national championships. Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone will have their hand and footprints immortalized in cement for the ages at 10:00 a.m. in front of Huntington Surf & Sport. Famed sports commentators David Stanfield and Rockin’ Fig will serve as Masters of Ceremony.

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. Please visit http://hsssurf.com/shof for more information.

“Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone are three Surfing Legends that have influenced generations of Surfers past, present and future,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai. “We are very honored and excited to induct them into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this coming August!”

Rabbit Kekai: Rabbit Kekai is a living legend that has done it all from Waikiki beach boy to groundbreaking surfer to North Shore Beach Marshall. At age 10 he was taken under the wing of Duke Kahanamoku who paid his entries into canoe races and had him teaching surf lessons. A pioneer of North Shore surfing in the ’30s with George Downing and Wally Froiseth, Rabbit became known as an innovator of drop-knee turns on short, finless boards. He practically invented hot-dogging, inspiring the likes of Phil Edwards, Joe Quigg, Miki Dora and Donald Takayama. Rabbit made his own redwood and balsa boards prior to World War II, at which time he served as an army frogman in the South Pacific. A winner of the Peruvian and Makaha International titles during the ’50s, he has competed worldwide for decades. And each winter season he can be found at the Triple Crown of Surfing, doling out singlets, wisecracks and advice as Beach Marshall…just as he has every year since the first Pipe Masters in 1971.

Dane Reynolds: Dane Reynolds is a young charger known for his “go for broke” style of surfing that includes a number of experimental and aerial maneuvers. It was on the point breaks around Santa Barbara and Ventura that he honed his progressive approach. Reynolds competed in the 2003 and 2004 X Games and received the highest single wave score both years. His first video, “First Chapter”, won Best Male Performance in a Video and Video of the Year at the 2006 Surfer Poll Awards. Dane qualified for the 2008 World Tour after finishing runner-up to Jordy Smith on the 2007 World Qualifying Series. He wound up 19th on the tour that year and then rocketed into the coveted Top 10 in 2009. Reynolds had a breakout year in 2010, ending up tied for fourth in the world. Despite injuries that held him back in 2011 and thus far in 2012, Dane is known for pushing the boundaries of the sport. He spends as much time in the air as he does in the water while surfing, and his aggressive, almost violent style in attacking waves have earned him the praise of fellow pros, many of whom who call him the most exciting free surfer in the world.

Andy Verdone: 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. Known as the “Phil Jackson” of surf coaches, Verdone 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 (Brad Gerlach’s “The Game” format) Title in 2010. 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. 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.

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.

The Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public, free-of-charge. Further information is available at http://hsssurf.com/shof/.

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Press Contacts:

Mike Kingsbury, Jennifer Hernandez, MKM

Mike@teammkm.com; Jennifer@teammkm.com

(714) 375-2188

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Taylor Knox

Taylor KnoxCalifornia 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.

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Chuck Linnen

Chuck LinnenA 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.

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George Downing

George DowningThe Surfers’ Hall of Fame is proud to honor George Downing one of the great pioneers of big-wave surfing, leaders of our sport, and major force in preserving oceans, reefs, waves and beaches. George is an ambassador to our sport of Surfing, a Legend and is true Surf Royalty,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder, Aaron Pai. “We are thrilled to be able to thank George Downing for his contributions and achievements to our surfing world and stoked that he will be here for his induction into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame!”

Downing was born in 1930 and raised in Honolulu. He began surfing Waikiki at age nine and spent his teen years living with Wally Froiseth, one of the sport’s original big wave riders and co-creator of the Hot Curl surfboard. As the youngest in a group of World War II-era surfers that included Froiseth, John Kelly and Fran Heath, Downing was in on many of the earliest forays into big wave riding. Froiseth introduced Downing to the big surf at Makaha and later he was among the first to ride Laniakea on the North Shore and Maui’s Honolua Bay.

In a time before surf trips even existed, George sailed to California and spent two months in 1947 surfing up and down the coast. An unfortunate collision with the Malibu pier damaged the nose section of his board, but led him to learn about new materials called fiberglass and resin from a like-minded designer—the enigmatic Bob Simmons. Upon his return to Hawaii, Downing continued a systematic approach to gaining the knowledge that would allow him and his friends to ride ever-larger surf.

A keen student of weather and its impact on swell formation, Downing blended this knowledge with surfboard theory and construction. He not only created one of the earliest quivers with subtle variations in length, rocker and volume, but in 1950, produced the first board for truly big surf, and it soon became the template for all serious surfers. While the Hot Curl was finless, Downing’s 10-foot “Rocket” had the first removable fin. George and others like Walter Hoffman and Buzzy Trent, cracked first the 20, then 30-foot barrier at Makaha riding the innovative Rocket.

As a competitor, George won the Makaha International in 1954, 1961 and 1965, finished seventh at the 1965 World Championships and second at the 1967 Duke. He coached the Hawaiian team to victory in the 1968 World Surfing Championships and set numerous paddling records from 100 yards to one mile. As a businessman George Downing created the venerable Downing Surfboards, which his son Keone continues, and has worked to prevent the corporatization of the Waikiki beach concessions.

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.

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Simon Anderson

Simon Anderson

Raised in Sydney, Simon Anderson began his competitive career in 1971 with a juniors win at the Australian National Titles and the Bells Beach Classic contests. Known for his power and easygoing style, Anderson became a frontrunner in many local and international competitions, placing second in the Australian National Titles in 76’, fourth at the 77’ Pipeline Masters, and winning the 77’ Bells and Coke Surfabout. Those wins in 77’, on single-fin boards, put him into the top 10 on the ASP Tour and gave him a chance of taking the title, until the twin-fin intervened.

Fellow Aussie Mark Richards had created a twin-fin design which greatly helped sharp turns on steep waves, by always having one fin deep in the wave. The twin-fin was capable of performing in the poor wave conditions and locations that the ASP events were often held at that time. Within months, surfers on this design were winning most of the competitions, but it was badly unsuited to Anderson’s size (over six feet tall) and style. He simply overpowered the twin fin and didn’t like the idea of having to ‘nurse’ the board through turns, and stated at the time that he wasn’t going to compromise his surfing to adapt to the design.

That’s when Anderson went to work on perfecting the existing three fin concept (a single fin with two smaller outer fins) for added power and stability. His prototype featured three equal-size fins so he named it “Thruster” because the water gets pushed through the fins in the turn. According to Anderson, the single fin (just) holds that speed through a turn whereas with the twin fins, obviously the speed was quickly released and you’d just zip along. The third fin was controlling that thrust throughout the turn.

Anderson’s Thruster design was met with skepticism initially, thought perhaps merely a gimmick, or only for Anderson’s particular size and style. Following design enhancements in 1981, he won the Bells Beach Classic and the Coke Surfabout in Sydney, for a second time, then later the Pipe Masters at Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. Those victories silenced the critics and brought the thruster to everyone’s attention; from 1984 onward every world champion has used a thruster.

What Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) and the “iPhone and iPad” have done for the World, Simon Anderson and the “Thruster” have done for the Sport of Surfing’” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai. “Just as the iPhone and iPad revolutionized consumer technology; the Thruster revolutionized and advanced our Sport of Surfing!

Simon has given generations of surfers the gift of progression and the ability to do what they can do today!  We are honored and extremely excited that Simon Anderson will be inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this summer!”

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Randy Lewis

Randy LewisLewis began surfing in 1961 and was considered a childhood phenomenon along the lines of one of his prodigies, Bud Llamas.  He started competing in the boys 14 and under division of local events and went on to place third in the 1967 U.S. Championships Junior Men’s.  Consistency was Randy’s hallmark when competing, performing well and usually placing among the top three.  He won the West Coast Championships in 1976 and 1977 and the San Onofre Surf Club titles in 1978 and 1979.

From WSA events to the annual Huntington Beach contest, Randy competed all the way up through the Super Grand Masters (really old guys) and was often the point leader in his divisions.  He finally retired from competitive surfing in 2006 when he won his last event, the City of Huntington Beach Championships.

“Randy was a pure surfer with a great nose riding style,” said John “Frog” Van Oeffelen, also a charter member of the Hole in the Wall Gang.  “His balance was amazing; a goofy-footer nose-riding the south side (of the Huntington Beach Pier).  He was (is) a truly nice person and mentored many a young surfers along the way, including Huntington Beach’s own Bud Llamas.”

In the mid-60’s, legendary shaper Gordie Duane took Randy under his wing and taught him his board shaping secrets.  Soon thereafter, Randy was shaping and riding for the famous “Hole in the Wall Gang”, an assemblage of seasoned Huntington Beach surfers who weren’t part of the regular contest circuit, but were great competitors in their own right.

From 1977 to 1987, Randy operated his own surf shop, the Randy Lewis Surf Center, on 5th Street.  Over the years he has worked for almost every HB surf store and currently shapes at Chuck Dent.  Among the big name surfers who rode Lewis boards—Llamas, Michael Ho, John Bruiser and Joey Hawkins.

“Randy Lewis is one of the greatest shapers to come out of Huntington Beach,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai.  “When I was a kid growing up, we all looked up to Randy as a surfer and a shaper (still do!).  He surfed the Huntington Pier with style and grace and was one of the hottest surfers out in the water.

“Anyone who grew up surfing in Huntington Beach in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s knows the name ‘Randy Lewis’!  This guy is right up there with all ‘the best’ surfers and shapers in town.  We are honored and excited to be able to induct Randy Lewis in the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this August!”

Notable: Randy is somewhat famous in the world of skateboarding for his one cover shot on SkateBoarder magazine in 1964 (Vol. 1 #2).  For a time, Randy tried his hand a motorcycle speedway racing in the early 1970’s in Costa Mesa, Irwindale and Bakersfield at the urging of friends.  After racing alongside the likes of future world speedway champion Bruce Penhall, Randy quickly returned to the water where he was more comfortable.  His parents, Mary Jane and Forest (a retired city police officer) still live in Huntington Beach.

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