Surfers' mark is made in H.B.

Chuck Linnen's name has long been famous around Huntington Beach.

Now, it may take an earthquake — or two — to remove it.

Linnen, a longtime Huntington Beach surfer, pressed his hands and feet into wet cement Friday morning at this year's Surfers' Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It wasn't the first time his name has marked the pavement at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway. Eight years ago, the Surfing Walk of Fame across the street inducted him as well.

A finalist in the 1961 world championships, Linnen joined Carlsbad's Taylor Knox, Hawaii's George Downing and Australia's Simon Anderson in this year's Hall of Fame induction class. At a two-hour ceremony in front of Huntington Surf & Sport, the inductees etched personal messages alongside their hand- and footprints while fellow surfers gave tributes.

"I just feel honored to be with this wonderful group and the group before that," Linnen said. "It's just a great feeling, a wonderful feeling."

Several surfers, including master of ceremonies Corky Carroll, credited Linnen as their coach and mentor over the years.

"We're so proud of him," said Jericho Poppler, a fellow Hall-of-Famer. "He's always there for us on the beach."

Linnen's message in his panel of cement took the form of three simple words: "Spirit — mind — body."

The Hall of Fame, which launched in 1997, typically inducts four members each year. More than 100 people, including Mayor Joe Carchio and other city officials, gathered for Friday's ceremony.

The event started with the presentation of the fourth annual Orange County Surfer of the Year awards, presented by the Orange County Register and determined through an online poll. Former U.S. Open of Surfing champions Brett Simpson and Courtney Conlogue won the men's and women's awards.

Simpson, in his speech, paid tribute to Knox, whom he called a longtime inspiration.

"Taylor is the man — from when I was a kid, idolizing him, to now, when I get to travel with him," he said.

Knox, a California native, won the 1995 U.S. Championship and led the American team to victory at the ISA World Surfing Games in 1996. He also won the K2 Big-Wave Challenge, which offered $50,000 to the surfer who caught the biggest wave of the winter and had a photograph to prove it, in 1998.

Rounding out the induction class were Downing, who won renown as a surfer as well as a board shaper and director of the "Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau," film and Anderson, who began his competitive career in 1971 and pioneered use of the thruster, or three-fin, surfboard.

"We have a religion," Downing said. "Surfing is our religion. It's God's gift to us, and we must learn to cherish it and take care of it."

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