Surfers gathered in Huntington Beach Saturday, May 20, for a practice run of the “Circle of Honor,” a Guinness World Record attempt to get 500 surfers together for the largest recorded paddle-out in history.
The gathering, scheduled for International Surfing Day on June 20, is aimed at showing solidarity and support for the sport gaining acceptance into the 2020 Olympics.
“When we got in the water, it all came together,” said organizer Diana Dehm, who runs the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, of the practice off the Huntington Beach Pier.
Various team captains gathered at the event and about 75 surfers showed up so they could measure what the actual circle might look like – and after it was formed it spanned the size of two football fields.
Team captains are made up of Huntington Beach icons, including former world tour surfer Bud Llamas, former female world champion Jericho Poppler, and Huntington Beach High School surf coach Andy Verdone.
As the date nears for the paddle-out, a more vivid plan for the day’s event is evolving. There will be a parade that starts on Main Street near the museum, led by police and fire officials and the area’s high school marching bands.
Then there will be five “groms,” or young surfers, paired with five surfing legends “to push it forward to our next generation because they are our summer game hopefuls,” she said.
Then, each surfer participating in the event – representing the various colors that make up the Olympic rings – will follow in the parade, along with City Council members who will be riding in vintage Volkswagen buses.
If successful, the event will go down as the “largest recorded paddle out in the world.” While there have been some memorial paddle-outs that have drawn more people, none have registered with the Guinness World Record.
There will also be a gathering at the Pasea Hotel after the event for a celebration and fundraiser for the museum.
At the practice, Dehm stood on…