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Down on Main Street

Legendary Huntington High surf coach Andy Verdone on Friday will be immortalized in the city's Surfers' Hall of Fame.

August 01, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Andy Verdone, the Huntington Beach High School surf coach for the past 25 years, is being inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame.
Andy Verdone, the Huntington Beach High School surf coach… (SCOTT SMELTZER )

He's traveled far and wide to the some of the most desired surf spots in the world, but no matter the exotic destination, Main Street, Huntington Beach, will always remain a magical place for Andy Verdone.

It's where the Huntington Beach High surf coach first discovered the local surf culture, and it's where he will be immortalized in its history.

On Friday, Verdone will go into local lore when he joins Rabbit Kekai and Dane Reynolds in the 2012 induction class to the Surfers' Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony starts at 10 a.m. in front of Huntington Surf & Sport at the corner of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

"Andy, Rabbit and Dane have separately and together influenced generations of surfers, contributed greatly to advance our sport of surfing through their talent, innovation and at the same time, contributing immensely to our surfing culture," said Aaron Pai, owner of Huntington Surf & Sport. "We are honored and excited to be able to induct these three surfing legends into the Surfers' Hall of Fame."

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For the past 25 years, Verdone has mentored and coached athletes at Huntington Beach High. A former football and baseball coach at the school, he has guided the Oilers' surf program for 25 years, inheriting the position from Chuck Allen, who co-founded the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. and died last year.

Under Verdone's guidance, Huntington teams have won 10 NSSA national championships and one National Surf League championship (2010). His program also has churned out several athletes who went on to the pro tour.

Jeff Deffenbaugh surfed for Verdone at Huntington Beach High.

"Andy's influence on me as a teenager was priceless," said Deffenbaugh who was a freshman in 1989. He went on to surf on tour during the 1990s and remains close friends with Verdone.

"He was very dedicated and passionate about his coaching for the kids on the surf team and I'm sure it's still the same over the years," he continued. "His coaching set the tone for me not just as a competitive surfer, but also to become a strong mind/body athlete. I feel extremely grateful for having him as a coach, mentor and a true friend all these years."

Brett Simpson, who won his opening heat Tuesday at the U.S. Open of Surfing, also benefited from Verdone as a coach. Simpson transferred to Huntington Beach High as a junior.

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