All photos by Jeremy Lubben
by Eddie Solt
Sunny skies kissed the salty breeze that greeted the thousands of spectators enjoying the Seventh Annual Spyder Surf Fest on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach April 5th. Organized along Pier Avenue, a surf industry smorgasbord platooned in tents combated the eager gremmies armed with bags to face the various games and challenges with a victory cry of free swag. Older spectators gawked at the fashion show in the carnival atmosphere. Providing sweet sounds for the afternoon on the stage adjacent to Watermen’s, Fallen Riviera, Sand Section with Kevin Sousa, Hoist the Colors, and the Bixby Dicks rocked the Fest in celebration of the original and real surf city, Hermosa Beach.
“Hermosa Beach is a little rural beach community but it is truly ground zero of surf culture,” said Dennis Jarvis, founder, Spyder Surf Shops.
Planned, staged, and executed by the crew at Spyder, the South Bay’s biggest surf festival followed the induction of John Macfarlane, Sparky Hudson, as well as Surf Pioneers, Felton Scholes, Dick “Mo” Meine, Warren Miller,Bob Bergstrom, Stu Linder and Beacher Anderson into the Hermosa Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in the morning. Along the Pier, bronze plaques commemorate the South Bay legends’ contributions to surf history and culture. The inductees of 2014 join fellow surf legends like Greg Noll, Dewey Weber, Hap Jacobs,Bing Copeland, Rick Stoner, Leroy Grannis, Donald Takayama, Mike Purpus and others.
“The South Bay breeds some of the most accomplished surfers and talent the industry has ever known,” Jarvis said.
What Spyder brought new to this year’s festivities, The LA Surf Awards. While the Hermosa Beach Surfing Walk of Fame celebrates the surfers of yesteryears, the LA Surf Awards decorates more contemporary surfers and figures in surf culture.
The inaugural LA Surf Awards Winners
Vanguard Photography Award: Mike Balzer
Crucial lensmen of the “Momentum Generation,” chances are if you opened a surf magazine in the 90s, Balzer’s shots were there. Balzer is in the same field as Grannis in regards to a photographer’s relationship and importance to a certain era. He is one of the founders and serves as the Director of the South Bay surf contest series, The South Bay Boardrider’s Club Contest.
California Icon: Ted Robinson
Professional Surfer in the 80s and early 90s with his highest ranking being 15th in the world. In the early 90s, Robinson had success on the Professional Longboard Tour. A stable in the magazines and part of the world’s surf elite, Robinson was and is a true representative of the South Bay. He still actively dominates the South Bay Boardrider’s Club Contest and a silhouette of him bottom turning is the club’s logo.
Breakout Performer Surfer of the Year: Alex Grey
Nothing could stop Grey this year. The biggest and most well known name out of the South Bay, Grey not only caught the gnarliest wave of the year (maybe in history) winning the South Bay Big Wave Awards (he also split his winnings with the finalist equally), he followed by winning the Dive N’ Surf Oregon Pro and placed fourth overall on the Big Wave World Tour.
Breakout Brand of the Year: Hurley
With a stacked surf team, innovating products, and a commitment to independent surf retail, Hurley, Hurley CEO Bob Hurley perfectly balances a major surfing apparel company with small business ethics of producing good products.
At the post party of the festival held at Waterman’s, Jarvis and the Spyder crew had the chance to relax and let the monumental event soak in. In all, creation of the LA Surf Awards is the perfect complement to the Walk of Fame.
“We celebrate and honor the legends of the past and present and intend to continue working with the most influential action sport companies for many years to come,” Jarvis said. DZ