The votes are in, the ballots are tallied, and the Class of 2016 has been chosen for the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame (ECSHOF), which will be revealed on Friday, September 11th at 11:00 AM at the September Surf Expo at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
The inductees are drawn from a pool of nearly 50 East Coast surfing legends nominated in six categories: Pioneers, Media, Artist, Men and Women’s Surfers, and Industry. From these categories, 10 inductees are chosen every two years for the honor of being enshrined in the Hall’s next ceremony to be held at the upcoming January Surf Expo; in 2016, that will coincide with the ECSHOF’s 20th year and 11th induction. Past inductees include Cecil Lear, Wes Laine, Mike Tabeling, Shea Lopez, Les Shaw, Lisa Anderson, Charlie Kuhn, Gary Propper, Kathy Phillips, Yancy Spencer, Mike “Nemo” Nemnich, Rick Rasmussen, Dean Randazzo, Larry Pope, and founder of Surf Expo itself, Ross Houston.
Again, the inductees for the ECSHOF will be revealed to the public at large on September 11th at 11:00 AM at the East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame booth, with the induction ceremony following at a large-scale event at the January 2016 show. But for now, scroll down below the slideshow for the list of all nominees up for selection, along with a selection of classic photos of many of them.
Virginia’s Jason “Junior” Borte is being nominated for his pro surfing prowess in the Men’s category, but he could easily qualify for his second act writing skills, which included being tapped by Kelly Slater himself to author his biography, Pipe Dreams: A Surfer’s Journey, published in 2004. But we mostly know Jason best for his own surfing journey, which has included packing untold numbers of Outer Banks barrels like this.
40-year-plus ripper, retailer, and New Jersey repping force Vince “Peanuts” Troniec (left) is nominated in the Pioneers category with Hunter “The Mouth From The South” Joslin (right) also on the ballot for his notorious contest MC skills, full tilt goofyfooted prowess (he proclaims “he who gets the most waves is having the most fun”), and for his Indo Board Balance Trainer juggernaut.
Left photo: Courtesy Troniec; Right photo: Dugan
Nominated for the Media category, Florida native Pete “Flipper” Hodgson was a top competitor in the ’70s and ’80s, won the U.S. Champs in ’78, and won the ECSC Masters division in ’79. But he followed his muse after those comp years were over to Hawaii, where he has emerged as one of the North Shore’s most prolific shooters of stills and videos over the past 20 years. And he continues to surf heavy Hawaiian waves.
(Left) Nominated posthumously in the Media category, Rhode Island’s Joe McGovern, who passed away last January while surfing, was New England’s most valuable photographer, writer, and surf historian, as well as one of the finest shooters to call the East Coast home. (Right) A Gulf Coast trailblazer from the mid ’60s who is still very active as a surfer and local leader in beach access rights today, Brenda Stokes is nominated in the Women’s surfing category.
Left photo: Mez; Right photo: Courtesy Stokes
In the Pioneer category, Florida’s Dick “Rozo” Roseborough was a member of the U.S. team in 1970 at Bells Beach and is well known for his big-wave skills. He learned the basics of shaping from ECSHOF member Ted James before moving to the North Shore in 1973, where he got behind the planer full time shaping boards for Michael Ho and Bryan Surratt, to name a few local heavies. Dick was a standout surfer at Sunset and moved back to his beloved North Florida, where he continues to shape under the Rozo label and live the kind of cruisey, mellow old Florida lifestyle we’d all be envious of.
(Left) Debra Swaney, nominated in the Women’s surfing category, is another in a long line from the powerhouse known as Jax Beach. A founding member of Sisters of the Sea, she is also a four-time East Coast Women’s champion and a two-time U.S. champion, just a few of her bona fides that are too numerous to list here. (Right) Men’s surfing nominee Skill Johnson of Maryland was a standout in the ’60s and ’70s comp scene and is still surfing today. He is well remembered for helping kickstart and deeply influence surfers up and down the Delmarva Peninsula.
Left photo: Courtesy Kaufman; Right photo: Courtesy Bill Wise
Nominated in the Industry category, New Jersey’s Mark Neustadter has been there, done that, and is STILL doing it more than just about anybody. Shop rat, five tool, and competition whiz kid, he garnered many contest and freesurfing accolades. But he saw the future when he met OP’s Jim Jenks and Sundek’s Bill Yerkes, who both influenced and helped him set up his own repping business in the mid ’80s. Today, Neustadter is still a powerhouse rep for Rip Curl among other blue chip companies.
(Left) Men’s nominee Brian Heritage is following in his pop’s footsteps with South Jersey’s Heritage Surf & Sport empire, shaping Heritage Surfboards, and now (hopefully) following him into the East Coast Hall Of Fame as the second father-son duo behind Chummer and Scott McCranels. (Right) South Carolina’s Nanci Polk-Weckhorst started surfing in 1964 as a 13-year-old and hasn’t looked back since. She’s a major influence on Palmetto State surfing as a competition dynamo, surf shop owner, and mentor with husband Jerre Weckhorst. Nanci has been deeply involved in marine ecology/environmentalism and started the first sea turtle nesting and marine stranding studies in South Carolina.
Left photo: Dugan; Right photo: Courtesy Polk-Weckhorst
After living an amateur and professional career the most kids dream of, including 3 U.S. Championships in ’84, ’85, and ’86, Men’s nominee Bill Johnson decided to turn his knowledge as a highly tuned pro surfer into turning rails on blanks of foam. Bill apprenticed first with Rusty Preisendorfer, becoming lead shaper for that label’s pro team, which included the Hobgood brothers — CJ even rode Bill’s shapes to the 2001 World Title. Bill has been out on his own for a while now and has crafted magic boards for the likes of Taj Burrow, Jamie O’Brien, Dingo Morrison, Ben Bourgeois, Serena Brooke, Brian Toth, and Dylan Graves.
(Left) Graphic artist and Florida native David Carson is best know for his creative design work with Surfer Magazine, where as new art director in 1990 he turned the surf mag world on its head thanks to a less-than-staid, fuck-the-status-quo redesign that influenced every surf pub since (including ESM). David’s work goes far beyond surfing, and it’s safe to say that no other “surf artist” has had more worldwide impact, endemically or non-endemically, than this 2016 nominee. (Right) When we say Florida’s Pam Hill is a true pioneer, the proof is in the fact she is one of the few East Coast women, along with Jeannie Chesser, to ever be nominated in the Pioneers category. Pam has the comp credentials, with over 30 years of ESA heats, numerous wins and Iron Women awards, and several US Championship titles. But Pam’s biggest attribute is her continuing ability to pay it forward, which finds her still deeply dedicated to the ESA as tabulator and all-around go-to girl at at events up and down the coast.
Left photo: Courtesy Carson; Right photo: Courtesy Hill
Pioneer nominee Kevin “Doc” Grondin is one of the biggest names to come out of not just New England but the entire East Coast as well. Throw in his coaching accomplishments for the U.S. Surf Team in the ’90s, where he helped corral all the talent and ego onto the same page for a 1996 World Surfing Games Team title, along with his own nine East Coast titles and numerous Ironman Awards, and there is little doubt about this man’s bona fides.
(Left) Pioneer nominee Ron Heavyside from Briny Breezes in South Florida is the legendary founder of Nomad Surfboards and Surf Shop, which opened in 1968 and still operates to this day with Ron even finding the time to shape a few. (Right) Born and bred New Yorker Tyler Callaway is nominated in the Industry category for his role as President of FCS Fins, though in his heyday he was a competitor in the ESA and thoroughly credits that organization for “helping him realize a sense of family and the world outside my little New York surfing district,” as well as “how to compete fiercely but fairly and humbly.” Those life lessons — and FCS’ success — have truly made the world Tyler’s oyster.
Left photo: Courtesy Heavyside; Right photo: Dugan
This man definitely needs no introduction — and probably not a nomination either. But Gulf Coast native Cory Lopez must go through the same process as his brother Shea did in 2014 and like all the other East Coast Hall Of Fame nominees before them, hoping he garners the necessary amount of votes to make the final cut. Good luck to all the nominees and stay tuned to EasternSurf.com to see who the inductees are for the class of 2016.