Surfboard Builders "Academy Awards"
by Corky Carroll
The 22nd Annual International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to go off on Saturday, October 9th. This years’ event, to honor the inductees for the year 2021, will take place at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, on the North side of the pier, kicking off with a “meet and greet” at 9 A.M. This will be followed by the induction ceremony itself set for 10 A.M to noon. There will be Hawaiian music during the ceremony by the Kolohe Ukulele Club and an after party following at the Huntington Beach International Surf Museum with food and refreshments.
Viewed by the surfing community as the “Academy Awards of Surfboard Building,” this is a highly prestigious and coveted award within the surfing industry. The ISBHF began back in 2000 as the brain child of local surfboard builder and real estate mogul, Bob “the Greek” Bolen and his trusty side-kick Mike “Mickey the Rat” Ester. (Just a side note: if you see these two cruising down Main Street in Rats woody station wagon you will swear it’s Cheech and Chong going surfing.)
The first person inducted was the late great Bill Holden. The idea was to honor the mostly “unknown out of the shaping room” heroes who have dedicated their lives to the shaping, designing and construction of the surfboards that we all ride day in and day out. Up until then it was mostly the famous surfers who rode the boards that got all the glory. (Another side note: in my case this was totally deserved….hahaha.) The award itself is completely hand crafted by Mickey Rat to honor each inductee for his or her contribution to the art of building surfboards.
Some of the previous inductees include Hobie Alter, Dale Velzy, Richard Harbour, Greg Noll, Bing Copeland, Mike Doyle, Hap Jacobs, Skip Frye, Gordie, Jack O’Neill, Doug Haut, Mickey Munoz and Robert August. The list is a who’s who of the foam dust eaters.
This years’ list of honorees is truly formitable. Kicking off with the man most fondly referred to as the “Godfather of the Surf Industry,” Walter Hoffman. He and his brother Philip “Flippy” Hoffman were early big wave surfers in Hawaii and extreme lovers of the bohemian surfing lifestyle. Their father, Rube, had built a fabric company and both of the brothers would find their lifetime niche designing, building and selling all sorts of fabrics to the world. Foremost for them was the growing surfwear industy. Most all of the material for the shirts, shorts and other “surf” related clothing has come directly from Hoffman Fabrics over the years. All the time Walter and Flippy were still surfing their brains out. Flippy, who was known for riding as big or bigger waves than anybody, passed away a few years back. But Walter is still surfing going into his 90’s. Every few years I have the pleasure of sharing a surf session with him and it is always a wonderful experience. The man has the stoke.
Next on the slate this year is 4 time World Champion