New Wave of Surfboard Builders Honored – Orange County Register
A new generation of surfboard shapers and builders will be honored on October 15 just north of Huntington Beach Pier at the International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame, which celebrates its 23rd year this year.
This year’s newcomers include Charlie Baldwin, Lance Collins, Chris Hawk, Bill “Blinky” Hubina, Rick James, Frank Petrillo and Dick Van Straalen.
The International Surfboard Builder’s Hall of Fame was founded in 2000 by Huntington Beach surfers Mike “Mickey Rat” Ester and Bob “The Greek” Bolen. The very first Initiate was Surf City boardbuilder Bill Holden, who has been followed by more than 140 Initiates over the past two decades, including icons such as Dale Velzy, Gordie Smith, Greg Noll, Hap Jacobs, Jack O’Neill and more.
“It’s like a meeting of the tribes – it’s a nice thing to bring these people together, these wonderful board builders,” said Bolen. “These people who shaped the industry who were never acknowledged.”
Manufacturing surfboards isn’t always a lucrative career – for many, it’s the passion for the sport that has propelled their careers, often spanning several decades.
“These are the guys who really built the industry,” Bolen said. “They were never honored and people realized they needed to be honored.”
The previous year’s candidates decide who will be accepted in the following year in a peer selection process.
Collins, owner of Wave Tools in Costa Mesa, started surfing in Seal Beach in the ’60s and built his first surfboard in 1969 at the age of 21. It was too small for him, so he sold it for $35 and built another one.
In the ’70s he was the go-to shaper for Echo Beach surfers, the neon punk movement that was sweeping Newport Beach.
He has been shaping at the same address since 1973 and in 2019 he just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the company.
Born almost deaf, Collins said he couldn’t keep other jobs because employers got angry that he couldn’t hear. He couldn’t afford hearing aids, he said, so he went into business for himself.
“I’ve done this for a living my whole life,” he said.
Hawk, who died in 2009 at the age of 58, started out with Bolen, who had a surf shop in a barn in Midway City. Hawk and his brothers came and used the leftover foam to make boards and helped clean up the shop.
By the 1970s, Hawk had started his own brand.
“He really has a great legacy,” said Bolen.
Just months before he died of cancer, Hawk was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame and wrote with cement: Peace. Love. Surfing.
In the water, Hawk was known for a smooth and soulful surfing style, always waiting for the biggest wave before being barreled.
“There was something about Chris that was memorable,” said friend Chuck Burns at his paddle out memorial. “There was a time when the hawk soared.”
Petrillo started out in a garage and later made and sold boards at the Frog House in Newport Beach. He also had a shop in Hermosa Beach at 6th Street and the Pacific Coast Highway where several South Bay team riders represented his brand.
He moved to Texas to build boards and houses but has returned to Southern California in recent years.
James learned shaping at Greg Noll’s factory in Hermosa Beach before later making the pilgrimage south to San Clemente and operating out of Catalyst Surf.
Hubina, owner of Ventura Surf Shop, will be coming to the shore for the event. It started in 1963 with Tom Hale, also of the Ventura shop, and Tom Morey, who eventually invented the boogie board.
Morey opened a store with partner Karl Pope and hired Hubina as their first employee. In 1967 he left Morey and Pope to found William Dennis Surfboards.
“My designs were the most exciting back then, the boards were getting shorter and shorter. There was no one to copy, so every board was an original,” Hubina wrote in a bio. “I would ride it, learn from it, and then sell it so I could build another.”
Straalen, who is unlikely to attend, began shaping boards in Australia back in 1956, inspired by a visit from the USA Lifeguard Team where innovative boards were showcased.
Baldwin, who won the 1971 East Coast Surfing Championships and is the founder of Inlet Charlie’s Surf Shop in New Smyrna Beach, will be traveling from Florida for the event.
The morning begins at 9:00 am with Polynesian entertainment and the induction ceremony begins at 10:00 am. After the introduction, there will be an after-party at 12:00 p.m. at the Ale House, 301 Main St.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/14/new-wave-of-surfboard-builders-to-be-honored/ New Wave of Surfboard Builders Honored – Orange County Register