“Rabbit” Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone to be Inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame

The Surfers’ Hall of Fame is pleased to announce one of its most exciting and diverse classes on Friday, August 3, 2012 when it inducts a Waikiki Beach Boy mentored by Hawaiian Royalty, one of the most creative and gifted surfers on the planet and the man responsible for coaching hundreds of students and winning multiple national championships.

Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone will have their hand and footprints immortalized in cement for the ages at 10:00 a.m. in front of Huntington Surf & Sport. Famed sports commentators David Stanfield and Rockin’ Fig will serve as Masters of Ceremony.

The Surfers Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach, Photo by Mark A. Payton

The nation’s first imprint collection of legendary surfers, the Surfers’ Hall of Fame celebrated its first induction in 1997 inside of specialty retailer Huntington Surf & Sport where several slabs remain. Four years later with the blessing of the City Council and a stunning bronze statue of sport’s spiritual leader Duke Kahanamoku serving as a backdrop, the ceremony moved outside to the corner of PCH and Main; less than 100 feet from the famed Huntington Beach Pier, site of the U.S. Open of Surfing. Please visit http://hsssurf.com/shof for more information.

“Rabbit Kekai, Dane Reynolds and Andy Verdone are three Surfing Legends that have influenced generations of Surfers past, present and future,” said Surfers’ Hall of Fame founder Aaron Pai. “We are very honored and excited to induct them into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this coming August!”

“Rabbit” Kekai

Rabbit Kekai: Rabbit Kekai is a living legend that has done it all from Waikiki beach boy to groundbreaking surfer to North Shore Beach Marshall. At age 10 he was taken under the wing of Duke Kahanamoku who paid his entries into canoe races and had him teaching surf lessons. A pioneer of North Shore surfing in the ’30s with George Downing and Wally Froiseth, Rabbit became known as an innovator of drop-knee turns on short, finless boards. He practically invented hot-dogging, inspiring the likes of Phil Edwards, Joe Quigg, Miki Dora and Donald Takayama. Rabbit made his own redwood and balsa boards prior to World War II, at which time he served as an army frogman in the South Pacific. A winner of the Peruvian and Makaha International titles during the ’50s, he has competed worldwide for decades. And each winter season he can be found at the Triple Crown of Surfing, doling out singlets, wisecracks and advice as Beach Marshall…just as he has every year since the first Pipe Masters in 1971.

Dane Reynolds: Dane Reynolds is a young charger known for his “go for broke” style of surfing that includes a number of experimental and aerial maneuvers. It was on the point breaks around Santa Barbara and Ventura that he honed his progressive approach. Reynolds competed in the 2003 and 2004 X Games and received the highest single wave score both years. His first video, “First Chapter”, won Best Male Performance in a Video and Video of the Year at the 2006 Surfer Poll Awards. Dane qualified for the 2008 World Tour after finishing runner-up to Jordy Smith on the 2007 World Qualifying Series. He wound up 19th on the tour that year and then rocketed into the coveted Top 10 in 2009. Reynolds had a breakout year in 2010, ending up tied for fourth in the world. Despite injuries that held him back in 2011 and thus far in 2012, Dane is known for pushing the boundaries of the sport. He spends as much time in the air as he does in the water while surfing, and his aggressive, almost violent style in attacking waves have earned him the praise of fellow pros, many of whom who call him the most exciting free surfer in the world.

Andy Verdone: Coach Andy Verdone took over from the late Chuck Allen in ’87-’88 and immediately lead Huntington Beach High School Surf (HBHS) Team to a NSSA National title. Known as the “Phil Jackson” of surf coaches, Verdone has built his program into among the most successful and winningest in the country, capturing 10 NSSA National Titles as well as a National Surf League (Brad Gerlach’s “The Game” format) Title in 2010. He has trained and coached some of the best surfers in Huntington Beach including the Deffenbaugh brothers, Jay Larson, Micah Byrne, Shaun Ward and Brett Simpson. A huge part of Coach Verdone’s program is his legendary surf trips with the team to such destinations as Australia, South Africa and Ireland. Coach Verdone and his young globetrotters appeared in a 2007 surf documentary called “Chasing the Dream”, which follows eight kids on his squad who want to become pros. Year after year 100 students try out for his squad and only 30 make the cut. Verdone’s impact on the sport of surfing in Surf City is such that one young surfer moved here from Nantucket, Massachusetts without his family just to surf for the Huntington Beach Oilers.

The Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony pays tribute to those individuals who have made an indelible mark on the sport, industry and culture of surfing. Annually, tens of thousands of visitors to Huntington Beach’s downtown area literally walk in the footsteps of surfing superstars and legends from several eras including Laird Hamilton, Andy Irons, Jack O’Neill, Robert August, Bob Hurley, Sean Collins, Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Pat O’Connell, Al Merrick, Shaun Tomson and Rob Machado who are already immortalized in cement.

The Surfers’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public, free-of-charge. Further information is available at http://hsssurf.com/shof/.

Past Inductees

One Response

  1. Congrats to Uncle Rabbit! I’m one of many kids to have been so lucky, growing up in Waikiki, to have him yell “Paddle, paddle, paddle!” as he pushed you off as the wave came up behind you! Such a kind and giving man, as well as talented, he totally deserves this honor.

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