The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, going on right now at the Huntington Beach Pier, features the greatest surfers in the world competing and taking part in a host of other events that run today, July 29 to Aug. 6.
One of those events is the annual Surfers Hall of Fame induction ceremony that will be held Friday, Aug. 4 at the Surfers Hall of Fame Plaza on Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street, directly in front of Huntington Surf ‘n Sport, the sponsor of the event. It kicks off at 9 a.m.
This year’s inductees are Mick Fanning and Bethany Hamilton. I covered Hamilton last week and saved today’s column to give you what insight I can on Fanning, who is on the World Tour and is one of the top surfers in the world.
One of the interesting things about the Surfers Hall of Fame is that inductees do not have to be retired from the sport already, like in most other sports hall of fames. The feeling is that if somebody has made such a serious mark on the surfing world that they belong and deserve to be inducted, there is no reason to wait around until they are done with their careers to be given the nod.
Both Banning and Hamilton are still serious contenders on the World Tour.
Before I get into listing all the wins and credits that Banning has racked up over the years, I wanted to point out that there is a whole other connection between him and Hamilton that should be pointed out: They both survived shark attacks. As most of you know, Hamilton lost an arm to an attack at her home break of “Tunnels” on the island of Kauai.
Two years ago, most of the surfing would was tuned into the final heat of the J. Bay pro event in South Africa, including me. I was sitting in a little cantina in Zihautanejo, Mexico and tuned into the event on my iPhone. Fanning and Julian Wilson had just squared off and with excellent conditions it looked to be a really exciting final heat. The camera just happened to be on Fanning when all of a sudden a big shark popped up and appeared to be…