The Legends of Surf Weekend is one of the most anticipated annual events in Hermosa Beach. And, this year the two-day gathering delivered in spectacular fashion.
The festivities center around the induction of new members on to Hermosa Beach Surfer's Walk of Fame. This year, surfboard builder Pat Ryan, surfing Icon Ronnie Garner, female champion Liz Benavidez and the legendary Beach Boys will have plaques embedded on the pier.
Friday evening at the Community and Resource Center aka the former Pier Avenue School began with a tour of the Hermosa Beach Historical Societies exhibit documenting the surfing accomplishments, industry giants and cultural aspects that made Hermosa Beach the original surf city and arguably the epicenter of the surfing world in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s into the mid 70’s.
Even today Hermosa Beach is on any surfing enthusiast's must-visit list.
The center's court yard with food, beverage, beer and wine provided by several local eateries was the perfect setting for renewing old friendships and starting new ones. It also gave everyone an opportunity to interact with so many of the legends who have been immortalized with their plaques on the Surfers Walk.
As the evening progressed it was time to move to the 500-seat sold out Community Theater for High School Surf League honors, Big Wave Challenge awards and surf movie hosted by the South Bay Board Riders Surf Club.
If you are interested in surfing or community service, you should check out a membership.
In addition to the surf awards, the SBBRSC provided eight scholarship grants were based on a combination of scholastic achievement and surfing.
I started surfing in the late 50,s and have been involved with many surf-related organizations and clubs through the years. I think the SBBRSC goes far beyond most for what they do for the community, environment and surf culture both in an out of the water.
"Chasing Lions" a Civic Couch production by Brad Jacobson documenting the giant South Bay winter surf concluded the official activities for the evening and then it was off to Waterman’s on Pier Plaza, a favorite watering hole for many in attendance where the revelry and storytelling continued into the wee hours.
Saturday starts off with my favorite part of the entire weekend: A private breakfast gathering of all past and current inductees onto the Hermosa Beach Surfing Walk of Fame at The Deck formerly The Poop Deck that is so much a part of the history of the Hermosa Beach surfing culture.
Due to the many activities and crowds, this is the only opportunity we really have to continue the special bond, and in so many instances, the one time a lot of us are able to see each during the course of the year.
One thing never changes—the embellishments of our stories and surfing abilities get better and better as time goes by.
It also allows us to reflect on those who are no longer with us and continue to keep their memories alive. Lots of hugs and tears when it times to head to the induction ceremony.
As always the induction ceremony goes off without a hitch due to the herculean time and effort of Lisa Nichols from the Community Resources Department with an assist from my co emcee Recreation Commission Jani Lang.
I want to thank Mayor Pro Tempore Mary Campbell and 66th District Assemblymember Al Muratuschi for all the kind words and plaque presentations.
Finally off to Spyder Fest, a mainstay of Legends of Surf Weekend, a street fair on the Plaza complete with a mini surf industry trade show. A special thanks to Spyder's Dennis Jarvis and Dickie O’Reily for making so much of this happen.
I am looking forward to the last weekend of April 2020 to do it all again.
—John Joseph is a 2004 inductee into the Surfer's Walk of Fame and former regular contributor to The Beach Reporter of the surfing column Swell Thoughts.