Against the backdrop of the golden anniversary celebration of competitive surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier, the Surfing Walk of Fame will honor its 16th class of inductees on Thursday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m. Joining more than 100 individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport and culture of surfing are Fred Hemmings, Duke Boyd, Wendy Botha, Mark Martinson and Jackie Baxter.
The open-to-the-public ceremony takes place in front of Jack’s Surfboards located on the corner of PCH and Main. More information is available at surfingwalkoffame.com.
This year’s honorees include:
Local Hero: Jackie Baxter
A fearless regular footer from Huntington Beach, Jackie earned his reputation by tackling Pipeline and Sunset Beach in the late ’60s. Baxter grew up in Venice in the ’50s. By age 12 he was hitchhiking for rides to Malibu with his “wood” Velzy or Jacobs surfboards in hand. By the mid ’60s Jackie was riding for Dewey Weber and, in 1967, Sonny Vardeman introduced a Jackie Baxter Model–the same year he moved to Hawaii. In 1971, he was an invitee to the prestigious 1971 Duke Kahanamoku Classic. His son Josh is a world-class longboarder.
Surf Culture: Duke Boyd
Hang Ten founder Duke Boyd was born in Kansas City in 1934 and began surfing at age 12 in Waikiki. In 1960 Boyd asked seamstress Doris Boeck to stitch together a durable pair of surf trunks he designed. The first-ever “board-shorts” to be capable of withstanding the rigors of surfing were an instant success with surfers and beach-goers along the California coast and the Hang Ten brand was born. For the next decade, the company’s trademark horizontal stripes and personality-filled ad campaign took the surf world by storm. Boyd sold Hang Ten in 1970 and later played a roll in the success of Lightning Bolt.
Woman of the Year: Wendy Botha
A prolific South African surfer, Wendy won four world titles (1987, 1989, 1991 & 1992) and three Surfer Poll Awards (1990, 1991 & 1993). Born in 1963, Botha began surfing at age 13 and won four consecutive South African National Championship titles from 1981 to 1984. She turned pro in 1985 and finished the season ranked seventh in the world, earning rookie-of-the-year honors. Wendy became an Australian citizen in 1989 and would go on to win a record seven World Tour events that year. She retired from competitive surfing after the 1993 season and moved to New Zealand.
Surfing Champion: Mark Martinson
Born in 1947 and raised in Long Beach, Mark’s signature moment came in 1965 when he won the U.S. Championships. Martinson started surfing at age 10 and six years later was runner-up in the 1962 West Coast Championships. In the mid to late ’60s Mark crisscrossed the globe with the MacGillivray/Freeman team filming Free and Easy and Waves of Change. Although 1965 was Martinson’s “competition” peak, he’s recognized for being among the first California surfers to convert to the new, shorter boards.
Surf Pioneer: Fred Hemmings
Prolific Hawaiian surfer, event promoter and politician, Fred Hemmings was born in 1946 and raised in Honolulu. He won the Makaha International contest in 1964 and 1966 then captured the World Surfing Championships in 1968. Fred then turned his attention to promoting professional surfing, founding the Pipeline Masters in 1971 and in 1976 co-founded International Professional Surfers (IPS), forerunner to the ASP. In 1983 he created Hawaii’s Triple Crown of Surfing. Hemmings would later focus on business and politics. In 1984 he accepted a seat on the Denver Broncos’ NFL Board of Directors and was elected to Hawaii’s House of Representatives. In 2000 he was elected to the state senate.
Honor Roll: 50 Year’s the HB Pier Men’s And Women’s Champions
The Walk of Fame adds to its rich “Honor Roll” tradition this year by honoring the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Championships, first held in 1959. Beginning with Jack Haley and Linda Benson, both Surfing Walk of Fame inductees, the Honor Roll will include the many great surfers who have captured championships at the famed pier over the past five decades.
Created in 1995, the Honor Roll pays tribute to those individuals who have contributed to surfing and its culture and are deserving of recognition, but might not qualify to receive a stone on the Walk of Fame. The Honor Roll is the only category voted on by all the board of directors.
“It’s great to honor the legacy of 50 year’s of competition at the Huntington Beach Pier,” said Walk of Fame board member and former world champion Peter “PT” Townend. “On induction day we will be honored to have the first women’s champ, Linda Benson, open the day’s proceedings.”
Founded on May 28, 1994 by honoring Duke Kahanamoku as the Father of Modern Surfing, the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame marked a historic addition to “Surf City USA.” Each year, the Walk of Fame’s selection committee conducts ongoing research through surf associations, museums and media venues around the world to compile a comprehensive ballot of qualified candidates. Every inductee receives a granite stone embedded in the sidewalk (PCH side) in front of Jack’s, the Surfing Walk of Fame Patron. More information is available at surfingwalkoffame.com.