New Surfing Walk of Fame inductees share how Huntington Beach served as their training ground

Eight surfers and industry stars celebrated their induction into Huntington Beach’s Surfing Walk of Fame on Thursday by recalling how they fell in love with the sport and how Surf City served as their training ground.

The annual induction ceremony — coinciding with the nine-day U.S. Open of Surfing, which runs through Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier — drew a crowd onto Main Street in front of Jack’s Surfboards to honor the latest batch of members.

This year’s inductees are Joel Tudor and Derek Ho (as Surf Champions), Courtney Conlogue (Woman of the Year), Don MacAllister (Honor Roll), Sam Hawk (Local Hero), Jeff Divine and Art Brewer (Surf Culture) and Reynolds “Renny” Yater (Surf Pioneer). Trophies and gift bags were distributed to each.

MacAllister, a former Surf City mayor and one of the founders of the Walk of Fame, said Thursday that surfers weren’t always as well-regarded as they are now. It’s one of the reasons the organization came to be.

“Surfing is a romantic sport. Maybe one day we will be a surfing village,” he said, crediting the city of Huntington Beach for helping the sport be recognized in the Olympics.

MacAllister received a granite plaque for his 25 years of service to the organization before retiring in 2018.

Before calling Conlogue to the stage, former champion surfer Peter “PT” Townend, a member of the Walk of Fame, described her as a student who fully trusted his guidance when he was her coach. Whether she won or lost on the waves, she always learned from the experience, Townend said.

Conlogue, 26, of Santa Ana, is one of the most decorated professional surfers of the modern era. According to Townend, she was the youngest member ever of the USA Surf Team, which finished in 11th place at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships when she was 11. She is a two-time champion in the women’s division of the U.S. Open.

“I’m over the moon and very grateful,” Conlogue said before sharing how a camping trip with her father got her hooked on the sport at age 4. That experience led to her first bright red surfboard, and she started surfing in Huntington Beach when she was 6, she said.

She said her family has inspired and pushed her to pursue her dreams, but she also thanked the city of Huntington Beach, which she described as her second home. “I wouldn’t be here without you guys,” she said.

Tudor, who founded Joel Tudor Surfboards and an international longboard competition called the Duct Tape Invitational, had similar sentiments for the city he began visiting in the 1980s.

“This town made a huge impact in my professional career,” he said.

Brewer, a photographer whose work can be seen in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated, and Divine, former longtime photo editor of publications such as Surfer and the Surfer’s Journal, said they were humbled and grateful to be honored by the Walk of Fame. They talked about how lucky they were to capture the sport with their art and share it with the world.

“That’s kind of emotional for us after 50 years of doing what we did,” Divine said.

Hawk is a Hawaii-based surfboard shaper who started riding waves at age 14 in Huntington Beach before moving to Oahu’s North Shore in 1967, where he made his mark.

Ho is a four-time Hawaiian Triple Crown winner, and Yater is a surfboard shaper who created the Yater Spoon in Santa Barbara in 1964.

The local surfing celebration continues at 9 a.m. Friday, when Hawk; Janice Aragon, executive director of the National Scholastic Surfing Assn.; and Kai Lenny, award-winning water sports athlete, will be inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame. They will be immortalized by putting their handprints and footprints in cement in front of Huntington Surf and Sport at 300 Pacific Coast Hwy.

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