Pioneers honored at Hermosa Surfer’s Walk of Fame
During his induction into the Hermosa Beach Surfer’s Walk of Fame on Saturday, retired lifeguard John McFarlane, 86, recalled trying to explain to his USC fraternity brothers why he went surfing every time he had a vacation.
“‘McFarlane, you’re in rut,’ they’d tell me. There was one other guy in my fraternity who surfed. He and I would look at each other and just smile.”
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McFarlane began surfing in the early 1940s, before surfing was popularized by Columbia Pictures’ “Gidget” in 1959. This year’s Walk of Fame inductions recognized the surviving members of Hermosa’s surfing pioneer era.
Other contemporaries of McFarlane who were inducted on Saturday were Bob “Beach Captain” Bergstrom, ski and surf filmmaker Warren Miller, Becher Anderson, Academy Award winning film editor Stu Linder, Dick “Mo” Meine and Fenton “Fent” Scholes. Meine passed away just two weeks ago, leaving Scholes, 95, as the last surviving member of the Palos Verdes Surf Club.
Former professional surfer Spark Hudson was also inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Hudson, a 1965 graduate of Mira Costa High, began surfing at the start of surfing’ Golden Age and is credited with ushering in what became known as the hotdogging style of surfing.
The Surfer’s Walk of Fame weekend began Friday night with the screening of “Legend’s of Surf” during the Hermosa Historical Society’s annual Surf Film Festival at the Community Theater. In a treatment worthy of Ken Burns, the film surveyed Hermosa’s surfing history, beginning with Doc Ball’s photographs of pre World War II surfing at Bluff’s Cove in Palos Verdes. It continued through the ‘50s with McFarlane and friends making their first trips to Hawaii, and ended with Peff Eick’s music video tribute to Vietnam era surfers.
The video was directed by Chris Miller and edited by Jeff Linnartz, Marci Klein and Studio 637.
Saturday mornings Walk of Fame inductions were followed by the Spyder SurfFest on Pier Plaza. It included vendor displays, a fashion show and the First Annual LA Surf Awards. Alex Gray was recognized as the Standout Surfer of the Year, photographer Mike Balzer and former pro surfer Ted Robinson were named California Icons, and Hurley was named “Breakout Brand of the Year.” ER