Buran officially in Hall

Fountain Valley church pastor, known as, “The California Kid,” leaves his mark on concrete on corner of PCH and Main.

July 24, 2009|By Steve Virgen

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Joey Buran removed his shoes and socks moments after thanking family and friends at the Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday morning.

Just before placing his feet in the concrete in front of the Huntington Surf and Sport store, Buran smiled as he wiggled his toes. Then, plop. He squished his feet into the ground.

Cameras flashed, as Buran continued to smile. The surfer many called, “The California Kid,” reveled in the moment.

“How many people get to sit here and get to be put in the Hall of Fame? Not very many,” said Buran, famous for winning the Pipeline Masters in 1984. “And the class I’m going in with, are you kidding me? [Jeff] Hakman, [Pat] O’Connell and [Bruce] Brown, it’s just great.”


Buran also left his handprints on the concrete, and he engraved, “Be Inspired. God Bless. Joey Buran.”

Late in his surfing career, Buran’s life transformed. After winning the Pipe in 1984, Buran battled depression and attempted suicide, reactions from experiencing emptiness after achieving what had been his lifelong goal. But Buran became a Christian and later became a pastor. Most people started calling him, “The Surfing Preacher.”

He’s now the pastor of Worship Generation in Fountain Valley. During his induction speech, Buran reminded people to be inspired and expressed that he hoped to be an inspiration.

Buran has apparently inspired several surfers. He was bombarded by many autograph-seekers after the event. They were all there to hear his accomplishments while he was honored.

Buran’s family was also there, his wife, Jennifer, their two daughters, Hannah and Leah, and two sons, Tim and Luke.

“I’m just really proud of him,” Jennifer said. “I kept looking at our family and thinking, ‘Wow, what a neat thing that he can sit there and have all of us there at the ceremony.’ ”

Buran’s mother, Diane, and father, Phil, were also there.

During the ceremony, Corky Carroll, also a Surfers’ Hall of Famer, asked Buran’s mother to say a few words.

“It was fun raising him, but a challenge,” Diane said of her son.

Buran’s parents weren’t the only important people Buran thanked during his speech. Buran also gave great credit to the late Jeffrey “Midget” Smith, who was Buran’s first sponsor.

Surfers O’Connell and Hakman, who both once called Newport Beach their home, were also inducted and made their marks into the concrete, as well as Brown, the renowned filmmaker who produced Endless Summer.

The ceremony was part of the festivities tied to the U.S. Open of Surfing, which continues today and ends Sunday, featuring the men’s final.

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