North Shore Surf News: Hall Of Fame Inducts Two Surfing Legends

Howzit surfers and beach goers,

As I write, we’re celebrating a Cinco de Mayo south swell. This 3- to 4- foot swell was accompanied by a small 3-foot North swell, plus we’ve had a very long run of 4-foot East swells. This means we’ve had waves around the island and plenty of stoked, surf-crazed animals. Ah, the signs of summer.

Speaking of Cinco de Mayo, there was a very special event May 5 at Honolulu Country Club. Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame 2015 Induction Banquet featured three very special people. One was Dr. Jim Barahal, president of the Honolulu Marathon. Barahal has been leading the race for 27 years, and has seen it become one of the world’s largest and most unique marathons.

Randy Rarick and Sunny Garcia at the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame. PHOTO BY NEAL MIYAKI.

Randy Rarick and Sunny Garcia at the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame. PHOTO BY NEAL MIYAKI.

Another inductee was six-time Vans Triple Crown winner and 2000 World Surfing champion Sunny Garcia. He is truly one of the all-time great athletes from Hawaii Nei, and one of the most colorful.

Garcia burst on to the world tour at the age of 16. He accomplished his dream of being the best in the world 14 years later. Talk about persevering. Sunny was running his own marathon.

Winning a title at the age of 30 was a great feat. The only other prodigy to pull this off was Mark Occhilupo in 1999. At the time, winning at that advanced age was as unbelievable as breaking the four-minute mile mental barrier. Surfing was a young man’s sport. If you were 30, you were long since retired. Not anymore. Since the 1999-2000 season, most titles have been won by guys over 30.

Sunny is finally settling down, sort of.

“Today is about giving back to the kids and to promote surfing in the same way Duke Kahanamoku did, to show people what a great place we have here in Hawaii,” he said. “Randy, I appreciate everything you’ve done for surfing. Without you, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Sunny was talking to the third inductee of the night, pro surfing co-founder, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing executive director and surfboard passioneer Randy Rarick. Randy was a pro surfer and big-wave charger, but his biggest accomplishments came on dry land.

Randy approached Fred Hemmings (former world surfing champ, senator and event promoter) in 1975 and convinced him to create a circuit by linking multiple surfing events together. By 1983, the Triple Crown was a reality, and so is the World Surfing Tour, now known as the World Surfing League.

Pulling off such a feat required marathon-like perseverance plus passion and diplomacy. Indeed, creating events on this scale, with all the crazy characters in surfing, demanded dedication. This was Randy’s calling.

“My efforts along the way have always been to honor the sport of surfing and the meaning it has brought to my life and countless others around the world,” Rarick said. “Surfing is truly, uniquely Hawaiian, and I’m honored to have had a career that has shaped and spanned my entire life. I would also like to honor others along the way who have helped me to do that, includ- ing Fred Hemmings, Buffalo Keaulana, Rell Sunn and Gerry Lopez.”

Randy turned his passion into a profession, which allowed others to do the same. It’s a wonder what pro surfing would be today without him. Randy embodies style and grace, while giving back to a cause greater than himself. This is what Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame really is about: recognizing our sports heroes, while inspiring youth to break personal barriers and create a better future.

Cheers, and see you in the lineup and back here next week.