Olympic Champ, Man (Sorta) Behind Bottle-Opener Sandals, And Surf Journalist Enter Surfers’ Hall Of Fame
Sadly, Big Dick Power Surfer not included.
Each year, a handful of noteworthy surf-related characters are inducted into the Surfers’ Hall Of Fame.
Founded by the Pai Family in 1997, the Hall Of Fame is a stretch of sidewalk — similar to the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” — located in Huntington Beach and indented with the palms and feet of our cultures’ most impactful.
Andy Irons, Robert August, Lisa Andersen, Sean Collins, Steph Gilmore, Al Merrick, Martin Daly, and a spread of various others have all planted their appendages in wet cement outside Huntington Surf and Sport.
The Surfers’ Hall Of Fame “aims to pay tribute to those individuals who have made an indelible mark on the sport, industry, and culture of surfing.”
This year, they’ve announced three new additions — Italo Ferreira, Fernando Aguerre, and Laylan Connelly — who will be officially inducted on Aug 4, during the (of yet unsponsored) US Open Of Surfing.
Admittedly, during the research for this brief story I became inexplicably confused. As it turns out, there is a Surfers’ Hall Of Fame and a separate Surfing Walk Of Fame — both located in Huntington Beach and both involving a walk down an urban sidewalk.
For clarity’s sake, the one I’m referring to is the former — the Surfers’ Hall Of Fame.
Now, regarding the inductees:
From surfing the top of an ice-cooler in a poverty stricken town to becoming an Olympic gold medalist, a World Champion, and a (soon-to-be) Stab In The Dark star.
Kind of a no-brainer here.
Love ya Italo.
The man who made Italo’s gold medal possible.
After learning to surf in a then-dictatorial Argentina, Fernando Aguerre opened a surf shop, founded the National Surfing Association of Argentina (NSAA), and successfully lobbied the government to lift their ban on surfing. He then completed a law degree, moved to California, and, in 1984, started REEF — the company that would eventually sponsor the surfer who runs the Best Youtube Channel of 2022, make Mick Fanning a whole lot of money, and run some infamous bikini ads.
10 years later, in 1994, Fernando was elected as chairman of the fledgling ISA. He sold Reef and dedicated his energy to ensuring that surfing would be represented in the Olympics.
Almost two decades later, that dream has been realized, with him still at the helm of the ISA.
Whether you hate Olympic surfing or not, you’ve gotta give credit to the guy. Pretty incredible resume.
A fellow journalist joins the list, leaving me wondering if my time time writing fervently about CT interference drama might leave me with something to show for it (cement covered phalanges, perhaps?)
Laylan Connelly is the most unlikely character on this list, if only because most of you probably haven’t heard of her. However, chances are, if you’ve ever scoured the Southern California press for stories about e-bikes or sharks, you’ve read her work.
Roughly 15 years ago, Laylan started her stint as the Orange County Register’s beach reporter, focusing on “lifestyle, environment, and surf culture.”
Averse to the mainstream media’s habit of surf-cliche gargling, Laylan has a notably tuned in style — covering topics like the recent Cortes Bank mission, the WSL’s transgender policy, and that Malibu SUP guy who got arrested during COVID.
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