Three surfing legacies were cemented Friday at the annual Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Huntington Beach.
Sam Hawk, a surfer and surfboard shaper; Janice Aragon, executive director of the National Scholastic Surfing Assn.; and Kai Lenny, an all-around water sports athlete, joined the growing list of surfing royalty with their hand and foot prints displayed in the pavement in front of Huntington Surf and Sport on Main Street.
The inductees also left inspiring messages while family members and surfing and surf industry stars testified to their perseverance, passion and dedication to the sport.
“This place becomes more special with every induction,” said Aaron Pai, the Hall of Fame founder. “After we are all gone, our kids and their kids will be able to come here and experience a little slice of our surfing culture from years past.”
Hawk — who was inducted into Huntington Beach’s Surfing Walk of Fame the day before — was described as a true Surf City local and standout athlete by surfers Rick “Rockin’ Fig” Fignetti and Don Ramsey.
When lifeguards blackballed the beach in 1967, permitting only surfboards that were 4 feet 6 inches and under, Hawk crafted his own board at 4 feet 5 inches just so he could surf, Fignetti said.
Ramsey said he remembers being intimidated when he saw Hawk and his brothers, Tom and Chris, surfing at Sunset Beach in 1964.
“They were ripping it on killer south swells and I remember thinking, ‘I wanna surf like these guys,’” Ramsey said.
Aragon, who is originally from Downey, started surfing at age 15 and won her first surf contest in Huntington Beach.
At the helm of the National Scholastic Surfing Assn., Aragon has encouraged students to strive to meet their full potential in the sport and their education. She also won her own titles in surfing, such as the International Surfing Assn.'s women’s world championship in 1984.
“You grew the sport, and it’s grown and it’s in the Olympics partly because of you,” Huntington Beach High School surf team coach Andy Verdone told Aragon.
Verdone also commended her ability to mentor students toward success outside of surfing because “we’re not all going to be world champs.”
Aragon said the most important thing Friday was seeing all the students who turned out to watch the ceremony.
“These kids are still a part of my life,” she said. “That’s what’s really special to me. Having all the past and present kids stay a part of my life. ... I feel like the luckiest girl in the world for having this job.”
Lenny placed first in 2012 at the Hawaii Islands Finals Stand Up Paddleboard Pro and is considered one of the most talented watermen.
Bob Hurley, one of the founders of the surf apparel company that bears his last name, said Lenny embodies positivity and is driven by curiosity. Hurley said that when he sees Lenny surfing, he can sense those traits, unlike the machismo in some established surfers.
In addition to leaving his prints in the cement, Lenny signed his name and wrote “Believe in yourself.”
“When I first started surfing, it was that overwhelming sensation of riding waves,” he said. “I think that’s what got us all addicted to this incredible lifestyle sport. But never in a million years did I think I’d be here right now in front of you all. Being inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame never even seemed like a reality, especially since I was on Maui doing so many different sports.”