My parents bought me my first surfboard at age 11 if memory serves. A brand new Rusty off the rack from Huntington Surf and Sport in Huntington Beach. Unlike other groms, I can’t say that I thought then and there I wanted to be a pro surfer. But what I do recall pretty clearly is on numerous occasions looking down on the sidewalk and putting my hands in the cement handprints of the Surfers’ Hall of Fame inductees that litter the sidewalk of Main Street and the floor of HSS in downtown Huntington.
Initiated by owner and operator of the surf shop, Aaron Pai, the Surfers’ Hall of Fame inducts surfers each year that have been instrumental in moving the needle of surf history. And this year, Mick Fanning and Bethany Hamilton dipped their hands in the wet cement.
Mick laying his paws down. Photo: Aika Lau
When we spoke with Aaron Pai a while back, he told us the idea was inspired by the cement hand prints of actors and actresses that are unmistakable outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
“The thing is, if you look closely at the handprints, though, they’re all signed ‘To Sid,'” Pai said. “Our Surfers’ Hall of Fame is meant to be an iconic piece of surf history that doesn’t belong to anyone.”
Bethany Hamilton and Mick Fanning’s contributions to the sport go without saying.
Bethany signs her name. Photo: Aika Lau
One of the best female surfers in the world, Bethany has turned her harrowing encounter with a shark, in which she lost her left arm from the shoulder down, into a story of triumph. Her book Soul Surfer was turned into a movie in 2011 and has gone on to inspire thousands, if not millions.
Mick Fanning is a three-time world champ, and has been a dominant force on the World Tour for over a decade. In 2015, Fanning famously fended off a shark during a heat at the J-Bay Open. He also tragically lost his brother later that year. After some time off, he’s come back stronger than ever.
Bethany and Mick are in good company with previous inductees that include Laird Hamilton, Mike Doyle, Jack O’Neill, Robert August, Greg Noll, Jericho Poppler, Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Martin Potter, Al Merrick, Shaun Tomson and Rob Machado.