Joe Surf: Surf Walk of Fame inductees show their grit, goodness

August 10, 2011|By Joe Haakenson

The Surfing Walk of Fame held its 18th annual induction ceremony last week during the U.S. Open of Surfing, welcoming six new members who made their mark in the surfing world.

They're still making a mark, and I'm not just talking about the granite squares embedded on the sidewalk in front of Jack's with their names on them.

I'm talking about the blood inductee Bill Fury left on the sidewalk.

Fury, the Local Hero inductee, was the first to step in front of the microphone Thursday morning to greet the crowd, which included basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton, gathered at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street.


Fury, known for his noseriding ability, drawn-out bottom turns and stylish cutbacks in the 1960s, regaled the crowd with stories from the past and promised more would be revealed when he completes his book, "It's a Secret."

When he finished, Fury, in his 70s and a victim of a stroke nearly 20 years ago, sat down in a flimsy folding chair on the edge of the stage. The chair's back legs slipped off the stage and sent Fury backward and onto the ground.

The glass trophy Fury was holding shattered and cut his arm. Fury was helped up, but this wasn't his first wipeout. Fury immediately climbed back on stage and grabbed the microphone from program director Peter Townend.

Apparently, the fall reminded Fury of a wipeout he had back in the day.

"I hit the pier and came down with the board under my arm," Fury said. "I hit the pilings like a pinball machine, but I came out a better surfer."

Such is the spirit of the surfers who were inducted, a class Townend called "one of the greatest we've ever had. It covers a wide depth of surf culture all the way back to the '50s."

Townend also paid tribute to Gordie Duane, a legendary Huntington Beach surfboard shaper and member of the Hole in the Wall Gang surf team, which was inducted into the Walk of Fame. Duane, 80, passed away July 27.

Following Fury on stage were Woman of the Year inductees Debbie Beacham and Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, who is better known by her nickname, "Gidget."

"I was in a Navy family and we moved around a lot," Beacham said. "I watched 'Gidget,' so I said to myself, when we move back to California, I'm going to surf. When I rode my first wave, I never looked back."

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