HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – ASP World Tour veteran Taylor Knox is among the 2011 inductees into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame. The former ISA World Surfing Games and U.S. champion joins George Downing, Chuck Linnen and Simon Anderson in having their hand and footprints immortalized in cement for the ages on Friday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m. in front of Huntington Surf & Sport (corner of PCH and Main). Detailed information is available at hsssurf.com/shof.
California 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 is known for his rail-to-rail style of surfing. 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 in Baja California that made him a mainstream media darling.
“Taylor Knox is from the new school of surfing, has influenced an entire generation of surfers and we are extremely honored and excited to induct him into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this coming August,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder, Aaron Pai.
Born in 1971 in Thousand Oaks, Knox spent his early years in Oxnard and began surfing at age eight. He moved with his family to Carlsbad at 13 and continued to pursue his dream of becoming a pro surfer. His career path was nearly derailed at age 15 when doctors informed Taylor that he would have to undergo immediate back surgery. A damaged lumbar vertebra from an old skateboard accident threatened to paralyze him if not repaired soon, and doctors said the surgery might prevent him from surfing again. Knox spent six months in a cocoon-like body cast.
Within months of his first day back in the water, Knox rocketed past the middle of the pack to the top of the ranks in the NSSA Open Season. He became a star member of the NSSA National Team and went on to compete for the United States in the 1990 World Amateur Championships in Japan, finishing fourth while his highly touted teammate, Kelly Slater, finished fifth.
In the early ’90s, with a little help from his friend Taylor Steele, maker of a progressive surf video titled Momentum, Knox became known as a key player in a group of fins-free heavy-hitters known as the New School—Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Shane Beschen and Ross Williams.
Knox had his competitive coming-out party at the 1992 Hard Rock World Cup at Sunset, when he won six heats in a row, took out Sunset notables such as Gary Elkerton, Sunny Garcia, Tony Moniz and Vetea David and secured a spot on the 1993 World Championship Tour.
Knox’s rise was steady from his rookie year on. He didn’t win many events, but he gained the reputation as a surfer’s surfer — one of the only New School pros who truly buried a rail. His competitive success hit its first crescendo in 1995 and 1996 when he finished fifth and sixth in the world. Following a 1999 hiatus Knox returned to the tour reinvigorated, reaching fourth in 2001 before see-sawing between the mid-twenties and top 10 through 2009 when he finished a respectable 12th.
Knox has proven that age shows no limits as he nears his 40th birthday while entering his 18th year on the ASP World Tour for 2011. TK’s signature rail-to-rail power gouges are the envy of many of his fellow competitors and he has proven his approach dismantling waves is timeless amidst an aerial uprising.
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.
The Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public, free-of-charge. Further information is available at hsssurf.com/shof.