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Cairns gets his due

Laguna Beach resident and surfing legend will be one of three inducted to Surfers' Hall of Fame.

August 05, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Ian Cairns, left, with his 8-year-old twins Ethan, left, and Malachai talk with Peter Townend, right, during the 17th Annual Induction Day into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, Thursday, Aug. 5.
Ian Cairns, left, with his 8-year-old twins Ethan, left,… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

The U.S. Open of Surfing is heading into its final weekend at the Huntington Beach Pier.

In the thick of it all is Ian "Kanga" Cairns, who many will tell you, was a key figure in bringing the famed contest to where it stands today.

At 10 a.m. today, Cairns will be standing outside of Huntington Surf & Sport — actually, he'll also be on all fours, making a lasting impression — at the corner of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway. It's there where the 58-year-old, a Laguna Beach resident since 1991, will be etched into surfing history when he joins the prestigious Surfers' Hall of Fame.

Cairns, originally from Perth, Western Australia, is part of a three-member class of inductees joining the Surfers' Hall of Fame that includes fellow Aussie and three-time Women's world champion, Stephanie Gilmore, and Huntington Beach native Randy Lewis, a renowned surfer and board shaper.

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At 22, Gilmore is the youngest person to be inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame.

Lewis, Gilmore and Cairns will each receive a piece of the sidewalk on Main Street where they will place their hand and foot prints, along with a message and signature, on their individual tile. They will bring the Hall of Fame tile total to 43, to go along with the two plaques dedicated to the late-Carl Hayward and Dick Baker that grace the area.

"This class is really special in that it connects 50 years of surfing," said Aaron Pai, owner of Huntington Surf & Sport. "Randy was a great surfer and learned how to shape under the legendary Gordie Duane. Ian, showing us how to surf the North Shore on Oahu and laying the blueprint for the U.S. Open of Surfing, and Stephanie, who is the reigning three-time world champion. They all share a common thread — a love for the sport of surfing."

Pai said the inspiration for the Surfers' Hall of Fame, which inducted its first class in 1997, came from Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

"Some of the sport's greats could be cemented here forever," he said. "The Surfers' Hall of Fame is all about giving future generations the chance to come and experience a little slice of our culture, on our little corner of Main Street and PCH."

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