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Langley resident is one of six inductees into the Surfing Walk of Fame
Next time you visit Surf City, be sure to check out the sidewalk in front of Jack’s Surfboards at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
Look down. Somewhere along the sidewalk in Huntington Beach, Calif. will be a 2-foot-square block of granite with a picture of a man catching the big one and the inscription, “Drew Kampion, Surf Culture, 2008.”
Kampion, a Langley resident, will be inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame next Thursday with five others, a testament to his long association with the sport he loves.
The honor is as big as the most wicked session of endless gangrollers ever seen on Hawaii’s south shore.
The granite stone with Kampion’s name will be placed along the walk where thousands visit to pay their respects to the sport’s heros.
“I’m very honored to be chosen. But I hope the people who walk over my plaque in years to come always wear shoes with recycled soles,” Kampion said Thursday.
“It’s the green thing to do.”
The selection process is intense. Walk of Fame board member Don MacAllister said 200 ballots are sent out each year all over the world.
“They go to surfing organizations wherever the sport is popular in Australia, Hawaii, France, Brazil and the U.S.,” he said.
There are more than 200 nominees in each of the five categories of surf culture, surf pioneer, surf champion, woman of the year, local hero and honor roll.
Kampion was nominated in the “surf culture” category, and he is the first writer to ever receive the honor.
“It’s a big deal for us and those honored because surfing is becoming more popular than ever,” MacAllister said. “Drew wrote books and stories that helped expand the culture and that’s why he was chosen. He chronicled the wonder of surfing for millions around the globe.”
Still fit at age 64 and always on the lookout for the perfect wave, Kampion has lived in Langley for the past 17 years with his wife, Susan, and two children, Alex and Alana. He also has become one of the most well-known authors in the world on the subject of surfing and waves.
He’s especially proud of being the first journalist to be so honored.
“Yeah, it would be hard to see someone else get it,” he said.
Kampion said that surfing follows the template of Hawaiian culture.
“In the tribal structure, it’s important to honor elders and that’s what the Walk of Fame is all about,” he explained.
The Walk of Fame was established in 1994, and more than 100 stones now honor the “champions, heroes and legends” of surfing.
A surfer, writer, editor and photographer, Kampion has a distinguished body of work that includes being editor-in-chief of Surfer magazine and writing “The Book of Waves” and “Stoked! A History of Surf Culture.”
“I wanted to create an appreciation of the sport as an art form,” Kampion said. “On the whole, I think I succeeded.”
Kampion is also a former editor of Surfing, Wind Surf and Wind Tracks magazines. Along the way he served as associate editor for New Age Journal.
In the mid-’90s, he founded, published and edited the Island Independent, an award-winning “bio-regional magazine in newsprint,” serving the maritime rainshadow islands of Washington.
Kampion is currently the American editor of the international periodical, The Surfer’s Path, billed as the world’s first “green” surf magazine.
He said there is a surfing culture on Whidbey Island.
“When a 20-foot west/northwest swell hits the beach at Fort Ebey State Park, you’ll see them out there,” he noted.
Things have changed over the years with equipment, the advent of professional surfing and “corporatization” of the sport, though the anticipation of that west/northwest swell still kindles a basic urge to paddle out and catch the moment.
Kampion remembered three ground-breaking events that came together in the 1960s to change the sport forever.
“One day a guy walked into [surfing pioneer] Hobie Alter’s surf shop at Dana Point and talked about a new lightweight foam for making boards,” he recalled. “At the same time there was a balsa wood shortage in Venezuela and the Gidget book and movie appeared.”
It was a rare confluence of circumstances, and surfing exploded on the world stage as guys like Kampion rode the wave.
The Surfing Walk of Fame’s annual ceremony to honor those who have made significant contributions to the sport and culture of surfing will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 24 in front of Jack’s Surfboards, the epicenter of surf culture for many.
Other inductees this year include Andy Irons, Rich Chew, Lynn Boyer, Wayne Lynch and Buzzy Trent.