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So what was at Surf Expo 2014?
Words and Photos by Skip Beach

This year’s Surf Expo held in Orlando Florida January 8th thru the 11th at the Orange County Convention Center hosted several events and exhibits that continue to promote both the industry and the heritage of surfing locally to east coasters, nationally and internationally.

Surf expo over the years has created within its promotional sales an upstart of surfing history. Starting back in 1996 the iconic surf legend Greg Noll, with the assistance of his good friend Cecil Lear of New Jersey, introduced The East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame. Every two years a formulated list of potential candidates to be inducted is reviewed for final recipients. These are men and woman who have made major contributions to the art and the sport of surfing from the east coast of the United States.

Other notable heritage groups such as NSB and Surfers of West Palm Beach turned out to show vintage surf boards, photographs and memorabilia from the early days of surfing culture.

The East Coast Surfing Legends Hall of Fame also has a booth each year at expo hosted by New Jersey surf legend Cecil Lear and manned by surf legends such as Balsa Bill Yerkes, Dick Catri, Pete Smith, Bud Gardner, Greg Loehr, Mimi Munro, and Alan Margolis who are just a few of many notables always ready to talk about the history of surfing.

Dick Catri and Expo visitor with a 1975 Catri Bolt from Cocoa Beach
at East Coast Hall of Fame Booth.

This year the East Coast surfing Legends Hall of fame booth had two special guests Spencer Croul and Paul Holmes. They were both on hand to promote Paul’s new book, “Hobie Master of Water, Wind and Waves.”
Spencer Croul is the co founder of “Surfing Heritage Foundation”. You can view more on Surfing Heritage at HERE

With his publishing company Spencer has presented Historical Surf Heritage books, such as, “Tom Blake The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman”, by Gary Lynch and co authored by Malcolm Gault-Williams, and “Dale Velzy Is Hawk” by author and Historian Paul Holmes. Spencer uses the highest quality materials in publications and the photo archives in each addition literally lift off the pages effortlessly enhancing the reader’s experiences placing you up close and personal with every detail. As a avid surfer, surf historian and collector of everything surfing related Spencer strives to insure complete perfection from the raised letter face of the title to the accurate color coordination of the Hobie sail on the cover of his most current publication “Hobie”.

Paul Holmes is also no stranger to surfing. Paul is from the U.K. and grew up surfing and shaping from one side of the globe to other with a list of who’s who in the surfing kingdom. Paul is not only a Knight of the Wave he is a Balladeer of surfing history. Paul took several years to convince Hobie to do the book and once he did it was 27 months in the shaping room checking every angle to inspire us all with something right out of the green room. Paul is not only a surfer, surf author, Surf historian, world class master craftsman shaper; he also served as editor of Surfer magazine the very fuel that fed all of us.

Both Spencer and Paul reached out to all in attendance with a welcome hand sharing and autographing their newest endeavor. They are two great surfers and two great surf historians. If you really want a piece of Surfing History this is a book you will enjoy for life.

Another display that caught a wave of attention was the Lightning Bolt exhibit offering precision custom shapes for Mr. Rory Russell, Mr. Barry Kanaiaupuni, Mr. Tom Parrish, Mr. Reno Abellira and of course Mr. Pipeline himself Gerry Lopez.

This year’s expo also celebrated the Fiftieth anniversary of the movie that changed many of our lives “The Endless Summer.” Bruce Brown surf film pioneer brought us one of the first realty movies ever seen of two young surfers Robert August and Mike Hynson doing the one thing we all dream of doing, surfing. Not just surfing but surfing around the world.

Image poster courtesy of Surf Expo and BBF

The movie event was held at the OCC theater with everyone in attendance. Hosted by Robert “Wingnut” Weaver who played in Bruce’s Endless Summer II the stage was set for Mike Hynson, Robert August, Mr. surf lens himself Bruce Brown of BBC films and Wingnut. Every one enjoyed the showing with spectators such as surf legends Shaun Tomson and Peter Townend in attendance. As the movie reeled the cast would talk about all the behind scenes antics and experiences .

“The Endless Summer “ Left to right Robert August, Bruce Brown,
Mike Hynson and Paul Starach

Tom Warnke of West Palm Beach and Juan Rodriquez of One World Designs at “The Endless Summer” anniversary party.

The expo culminated with the final event
“East Coast Surf Legends Hall of Fame”.

This year was very special for us Gulf Coasters. We witnessed the induction of many great surfers and contributors like Greg Mungel, Dean Randazzo, Christel Rowever, Allen Margolis, Mike “NEMO” Nemnich, Lee Shaw, Mike Martin, Donny Mulhern, and David “DCB” Balserak.

But the one who stood out for many of us was our own Shea Lopez. With a list of credits not to mention ratings in the top 16 of the ASP WCT , Shea has won both amateur and Pro events noting; 3 times SE Regional Champion, 3 times US East Coast Champ, World Junior Championships, Surfing America Champion, US Open Championship, PSAA Rookie of the Year, ASP most Improved and ASP top 16 for 8 years.

With Lopez family in attendance including Pete, Annie, and Cory along with a host of Gulf coasters a very humble Shea Lopez accepted his achievement award from New Jersey Surf Legend Mr. Cecil Lear. Shea offered words noting the other recipients and their contributions. But the most honorable where reserved for his parents Pete and Annie.

Congratulation Shea! Shea with his father Pete Lopez

If you have never been to the Surf Expo and you love the history of surfing there is no greater place to go talk with legends of, board shaping, photography, and surfing unless you happen to be sharing a wave with them.






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