Judging from the tributes made by fellow surfers at his induction Thursday, Rick Fignetti has been a local hero for quite some time.
Now, though, it's written in stone — literally.
Fignetti, a 10-time West Coast Surfing Champion and owner of the Rockin' Fig Surf Headquarters shop on Main Street, was inducted as this year's Local Hero on the Surfing Walk of Fame outside Jack's Surfboards.
During the Walk of Fame's 17th annual ceremony, Fignetti joined six other inductees in receiving a shiny stone tablet with his name on it installed on the sidewalk by Main and Pacific Coast Highway. The Local Hero award goes to a surfer who has resided in Huntington Beach for at least 10 years, graduated from the Huntington Beach Union High School District, been a finalist in the Walk of Fame's Surf Champion category, contributed to the city's surfing culture and been a "surfing pioneer" in Huntington or a champion at the Huntington Beach City Championships.
Even having met all that criteria, Fignetti, a Huntington Beach High School graduate, confessed to feeling humbled by the recognition.
"Did somebody rig that box?" he said during his acceptance speech, which was frequently punctuated by cheering. "I still can't believe it."
Peter "PT" Townend, the show's co-emcee, said Fignetti's surf shop was an institution downtown.
"It's a good thing he's a local hero, because that's one of the coolest surf shops we have," Townend said.
In addition to surfing and running the shop, Fignetti has long been a renowned surf announcer, working the U.S. Open of Surfing and other high-profile events. He also did morning surf reports for KROQ-FM (106.7) for more than 20 years.
The Surfing Walk of Fame, run by a volunteer committee, elects the Local Hero every year by sending ballots to companies and individuals throughout Huntington Beach. The committee elects members in other categories by sending ballots to surf companies throughout the world.
Also inducted at the ceremony were surf manufacturing executive Dick Baker, who was named to the Honor Roll; 1960s surfing legend Candy Calhoun, who was named Woman of the Year; Jams shorts inventor Dave Rochlen, who won the Surf Culture award; board manufacturer David "Dewey" Weber, who was honored as Surf Pioneer; and competition veterans Ian Cairns and Sunny Garcia, who were co-inducted as Surf Champions.
The Hawaiian Garcia, who noted in his speech that he took summer school at Huntington Beach High School to bring his grades up, expressed gratitude to his adopted hometown.
"I want to thank all the people of Huntington for always being very supportive of me," he said.