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US Open of Surfing Celebrations Welcome 3 Surfers to ‘Hall of Fame’

US Open of Surfing Celebrations Welcome 3 Surfers to ‘Hall of Fame’

Surfers Hall of Fame inductees Italo Ferreira (L), Fernando Aguerre (C), and Laylan Connelly (R) sit together in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Fredricks

John Fredricks

8/5/2023

Updated: 8/6/2023

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—City officials and residents celebrated the newest inductees to the city’s Surfer’s Hall of Fame Aug. 4 amid the backdrop of the U.S. Open of Surfing which continued until Aug. 6.
Styled after Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which introduced the tradition of having stars place their hands and feet into the concrete of Hollywood sidewalks, Huntington Beach Surf and Sport owner Aaron Pai in 1997 took the idea further and consecrated it for the world of surfing.
“Our three inductees to the Surfers Hall of Fame today have contributed greatly to the sport of surfing whether through their talent, innovation, or contribution to our culture,” Pai said during the event, which drew a crowd of about 150.
2023 Surfers Hall of Fame celebration trophies sit on a table in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

2023 Surfers Hall of Fame celebration trophies sit on a table in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The inductees were Brazilian professional surfer Italo Ferreira; Orange County Register Surf Columnist Laylan Connelly; and president of the International Surfing Association and Reef Brazil sandal company co-founder Fernando Aguerre.
“This is a special event that takes place here in ‘Surf City USA’ every year,” Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland said. “Congratulations to our inductees.”
The three inductees wore Hawaiian floral clothing and congratulated and hugged each other before dipping their hands and feet into the cement.
Towering above them and surrounded by the imprints of other Hall of Fame inductees was the bronze statue of legendary Hawaiian surfer and Olympian Duke Kahanamoku, who is known as the “father of modern-day surfing.”
Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland speaks at the 2023 Surfers Hall of Fame celebration in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland speaks at the 2023 Surfers Hall of Fame celebration in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“I don’t go out of Orange County much because it’s outside our coverage area,” said inductee Ms. Connelly, the columnist, looking at fellow inductee Mr. Aguerre before imprinting her feet. “But one exception I remember … was going down to interview Fernando here at his house in La Jolla before the Olympics. And we had the most wonderful interview about the history of surfing.”
For Mr. Ferreira, 29, being inducted was an experience, he said, of “gratefulness.”
Mr. Ferreria made history by being the world’s first gold medal winner in surfing at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
“This is something happening to me today that I could have never imagined,” he said. “Thank you, God, for everything you have given me.”
The three Surfers Hall of Fame inductees are now amongst dozens of hand-and-foot imprints who have had an impact on the sport, including world champion surfer Kelly Slater; professional surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton; and big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton.
Surfer Italo Ferreira imprints his hands and feet at the Surfers Hall of Fame celebration in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Surfer Italo Ferreira imprints his hands and feet at the Surfers Hall of Fame celebration in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

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John Fredricks

John Fredricks

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John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.

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