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Surfing Legends Lauded -- Twice

The rivalry of two surf shops in Huntington Beach produces two repositories of honor for the sport's most accomplished.

July 30, 2004|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

One town, one street, two surfboard shops.

In what has become an annual rivalry between a pair of Main Street surfboard shops in Huntington Beach, a group of old-time surfers was inducted Thursday morning into the Walk of Fame. Today, some of the same crew will stroll across the bustling beachfront street to be inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame.

The ceremonies, which occur each year during the U.S. Open of Surfing, underscore a long-running street-corner competition between Jack's Surfboards and Huntington Surf and Sport.

The Walk of Fame, a promotional idea that the surf shop owners patterned after Hollywood's fabled sidewalk, is outside Jack's. The Hall of Fame is across the street at Huntington Surf and Sport.

But the spirited competition between the shops is all but lost on the surfers, some of whom have been recognized by one but not the other and some who have been honored by both.

On Thursday, for instance, the master of ceremonies for the Walk of Fame inductions was Peter Townend, a former world surf champion. Townend was inducted into the Walk of Fame in 1998.

Today, Townend will cross Main Street to be inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame. Modeled after Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the sidewalk outside Huntington Surf and Sport has hand and foot imprints from its inductees.

"I guess I get to put my hands and feet in cement tomorrow so people can walk over me on both sides of the street," Townend said.

In addition, Jericho Poppler, an early women's surf champion whose name was immortalized in granite on the Walk of Fame in 1999, is scheduled to be inducted into the Hall of Fame today.

More than 50 famous surfers have been recognized with granite plaques embedded into the sidewalk in front of Jack's, which celebrated its 11th year Thursday.

Aaron Pai, owner of Huntington Surf and Sport, started later, but his shrine to surfing has included some of the same top surf stars: Kelly Slater, Robert August -- who starred in "Endless Summer" -- and legendary board rider Shaun Tomson.

"Both are good for the culture of surfing," said Ralph Bauer, a former city councilman.

Inducted into the Walk of Fame this year were surf pioneer Pat Curren; Rich Harbour, a Seal Beach surfboard shaper and shop owner; Gordon Clark, a maker of foam for surfboards; surf champion Corky Carroll; Meg Bernardo, administrator for amateur and professional surfing; and surf champion Lisa Andersen.

In the category of most popular was Andersen. After the ceremony, she was flooded with requests for her autograph and photo.

Andersen, 35, a mother of two, started surfing in Florida at age 13. Three years later she ran away to California after her father broke her surfboard in anger. A note she left to her mother read "Going to California to become the women's world champion."

She toiled on the professional circuit. She married and gave birth to Erica in 1993.

She won her first world title in 1994, followed by three more consecutive titles.

Veronica Kay, 23, a surfing professional, drove up from San Diego to attend Andersen's induction.

"She was the first surfer that I could identify with," Kay said. "She made surfing attractive to a 13-year-old girl like me when I first met her."

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