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Haakenson: Kekai, Reynolds, Verdone to enter hall

Joe Surf

June 13, 2012|By Joe Haakenson

The Surfers Hall of Fame has announced its 2012 class of inductees who will be honored in a ceremony in front of Huntington Surf & Sport on Main Street on Aug. 3, during the weeklongU.S. Openof Surfing.

Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone will join the others who have been recognized since the hall's inception in 1997 for their impact on the sport, the surf industry and surf culture.

"Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone are three surfing legends that have influenced generations of surfers past, present and future," Surfers' Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai said in a release.

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For Verdone, putting his footprints in cement in front of HSS won't be too unusual considering he's put his footprints in the sand in and around Huntington for years, both figuratively and literally.

Verdone took control of the Huntington Beach High surf team in 1987 and made an immediate impact. He has guided the H.B. surf team to 10 National Scholastic Surfing Assn. titles and one National Surf League crown (2010).

He has trained and coached some of the best surfers to come out of Huntington Beach, such as Barry and Jeff Deffenbaugh, Jay Larson, Micah Byrne, Shaun Ward and Brett Simpson.

A popular aspect of Verdone's program is the surf trips he's taken with his teams to places such as Australia, South Africa and Ireland. In 2007, Verdone and his surfers were featured in a documentary titled "Chasing the Dream," which chronicles his surfers in their quest to become pros.

Kekai is a Hawaiian legend, a life in surfing starting at 10 when Duke Kahanamoku took him under his wing and had him teaching surf lessons.

He is one of the pioneers of North Shore surfing going back to the 1930s and became known as an innovator of drop-knee turns on short, finless boards. Nicknamed "Rabbit," Kekai was the first real "hot dog" on a board, inspiring so many others.

Kekai also made his own redwood and balsa boards before World War II, in which he served as aU.S. Army Frogman in the South Pacific.

Reynolds has become known for his aggressive and risky style, not afraid to experiment with creative moves and is one of the best aerialists around.

He first started to get attention in the X Games, receiving the highest single wave score in both 2003 and 2004. He qualified for the Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Tour in 2008, cracked the top 10 in 2009 and placed fourth in the world in 2010.

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