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    Surfing Walk of Fame to honor surf icon Dick Metz, local hero “Chuy” Madrigal
    • July 12, 2023

    This year’s Surfing Walk of Fame inductees, who will earn a granite stone on the corner of Main and Pacific Coast Highway, include a list of local wave riders who have helped spread stoke within the surf culture.

    “Every single one of these honorees has had a profound impact on the sport and culture of surfing. The 2023 class has some serious heavyweights in it,” said Peter Townend, surfing’s first-world champ who also oversees the Walk Of Fame. “From great competitors to the environment to making wave-riding more accessible to exploring the possibilities that lie beyond the horizon, there’s so much inspiration in this group.”

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    Surfing Heritage and Culture Center co-founder Dick Metz is being honored as “Surf Pioneer.” Born in 1929 and raised in Laguna Beach, Metz was a long-time friend and business partner of surfboard shaper Hobie Alter, who revolutionized the sport when foam blanks were popularized.

    Metz was also the inspiration for another friend, filmmaker Bruce Brown.

    In 1958, Metz made “one of the first great around-the-world surf adventures, uncovering Cape Saint Francis in South Africa along the way,” reads the announcement for the event.

    Metz would return to Dana Point to tell Brown about the adventures, urging him to take the same routes with a camera and two stylish surfers, including Huntington Beach’s Robert August, for the cult-classic surf film, “The Endless Summer.”

    Metz spent much of the ’60s living in Hawaii running the Hobie shop in Honolulu, launched Surfline Hawaii with Dave Rochlen and later opened several other Hobie shops on both the West and East coasts.

    Artist Robert “Chuy” Madrigal, center, is being inducted as “Local Hero” into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach on Aug. 3, 2023. (File photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

    Another familiar surfer is this year’s “Local Hero” inductee, Robert “Chuy” Madrigal, a well-known fixture in Huntington Beach since the ’70s.

    “Bursting with talent, beyond his skills on a surf and skateboard, he’s also an incredibly talented artist, writer and event promoter,” reads the announcement.

    Madrigal has long worked as a business liaison between the U.S. and Mexico, working with the U.S. Embassy and other governmental agencies.

    Jesse Billauer, founder of Life Rolls On, holds up his surfboard. The non-profit helps get other paralyzed surfers in the water. Billauer is one of the inductees for this year’s Surfing Walk of Fame. (File photo: Julie Busch, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

    Jesse Billauer’s story is well known throughout the surf world: an up-and-coming competitor from Pacific Palisades who suffered spinal cord injuries at age 17.

    Despite paralysis, Billauer would charge waves and inspire other wheelchair users to surf through his nonprofit Life Rolls On, which holds regular beach gatherings in Huntington Beach and Malibu.

    Billauer is also a three-time ISA adaptive world surfing champion and was featured in the surf film, “Riding Giants.”

    Just down the road, San Diego’s Don Hansen is landing on the “Honor Roll” for his contributions to the sport. After graduating high school in South Dakota, he hitchhiked to California and found himself in Santa Cruz shaping boards out of Jack O’Neill’s shop in 1958. In the mid-’60s, he would call San Diego home and opened up a shop under his own name, Hansen Surfboards.

    This year’s “Surfing Champion” honor goes to Australia’s Cheyne Horan, one of the most influential surfers in the late ’70s and early ’80s pro surfing movement.

    “Growing up in the talent-rich Bondi Beach surf teen, Horan was a teen sensation with a penchant for pushing the envelope,” the announcement reads. Joining the high-profile Bronzed Aussies in 1977, he’s often credited with inventing the floater maneuver.

    These days, he lives, shapes and coaches in Australia.

    Another Aussie, Pauline Menczer, is this year’s “Woman Of The Year.” She started surfing at age 14, and by 1993, she was world champion, despite having no sponsors and having to self-fund her world travels to stay on tour. She retired in 2006 with more than 20 world tour wins, and “her steely determination and conviction was a game-changer for women’s professional surfing,” the announcement reads.

    Pauline Menczer, of Australia, was once a competitor at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach. She is earning the Woman of the Year induction it the Surfing Walk of Fame on Aug. 3, 2023. (Photo by Starr Buck, The Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, “one of the most visible and outspoken advocates for the planet,” is earning the “Surf Culture” award.

    He grew up surfing and rock climbing and eventually turned his passion into one of the world’s most successful outdoor companies.

    “Calling himself an ‘existential dirt bag,’ in 2022, he made headlines when he announced he was donating Patagonia, worth $3 billion, to a trust dedicated to fighting the climate crisis,” reads the announcement.

    The induction ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 3 in front of Jack’s Surf Shop. More info:

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