Mark Warren 

Surfing pioneer Mark Warren (Avalon, NSW) was honoured as the 2008 Hall of Fame Inductee at the 23rd annual Australian Surfing Awards at Twin Town Services Club in Coolangatta last night.

Warren’s varied and successful careers within surfing span three decades.  A 70s pro surfer - a media sports personality in the ‘80’s - National Coach and ASP Tour Representative in the ‘90’s. 

Warren the 1970 NSW Junior Champion from Narrabeen went onto become one of the worlds first pro surfers winning numerous contests including the 1976 Smirnoff World Pro-Am at Sunset Beach, Hawaii and The Duke Kahanamoku Classic at Waimea Bay, Hawaii in 1980.

To this day Warren remains at the forefront of the sport, responsible for the live web streaming of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro tournaments around the globe.

“If surfing is Hawaii’s gift to the world then I’m amazed how, for me, surfing is the gift that keeps on giving,” said Warren. “I get just as big a thrill now out of a half decent wave as I did when I first started surfing over 40 years ago.

“And equally it’s a thrill for me to be acknowledged by Surfing Australia in this way, in fact it’s a privilege,” added Warren.

Warren adds his name to a list of surfing luminaries that includes four time world champion Mark "MR" Richards OAM, seven time world champion Layne Beachley, 1976 world champion Peter Townend, 1998 world champion Mark Occhilupo 1990 world champion Pam Burridge, legends Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, Michael Peterson, Wayne Deane and surfing historian Peter Troy OAM .

Reigning ASP world champions Mick Fanning (Tweed Head, NSW) and Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW) claimed the coveted 2008 ‘Male and Female Surfer of the Year Awards’.

Gilmore’s sensational 2007 performance saw her become the only male or female surfer to win an ASP World Title in their rookie year.  A bumper 2007 for Fanning saw him bring the world crown back to Australian shores for the first time in a decade.

“It’s another great honour for me. An Australian award has that extra special meaning too,” said Gilmore.

In all, 11 awards were presented on the night before 2007 Hall of Fame Inductee Cheyne Horan (Gold Coast) honoured Mark Warren as this year’s Inductee in the nights crowning moment.

ASP world junior champion Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW) broke the gender barrier by taking out the inaugural  ‘Rising Star Award’ for her enormous promise and potential. The 17 year-old ‘Super-Grom’ has again proved unstoppable this year currently leading both the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and the Australasian junior rankings.

Joining the elite on stage was Jon Frank for the ‘The Best Photo of the Year Award’ and Sunny Abberton accepted the ‘The Surf Movie of the Year Award’ on behalf of the Bra Boys.

“The movie has won a few international awards but this is the first one in Australia and to receive in front of the surfing community is fantastic, “ said Abberton.

Former USA surfing champion Rusty Miller - who has recently been in the media spotlight as Elle MacPherson’s surfing coach – took back home to Byron Bay  ‘The Surfing Australia Lifestyle Award’.

“I am very excited to be recognized by the Australian Surfing Awards and that there is a category for me after all. At the Lennox Head surfing reserve dedication I got to really feel again what an amazing tribe we are a part of and that, at my vintage, savour the diversity in style, generation and walks of life represented,” said Miller.

Highly respected surfing journalist and author Tim Baker (Currumbin, Qld) was the ‘Surf Culture Award’ recipient for his latest book High Surf, which profiles inspirational surfers.

Australasian Surf Business (ASB) magazine claimed the ‘Pioneer Award’ and in doing so acknowledged publisher Keith Curtain’s dedication to surfing and hard work in founding the surf industry trade title. ASB magazine has established a strong and proudly independent niche within the surf publishing market in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.

Billabong Australasian Brand Manager Andrew Flitton accepted the inaugural ‘Surf Industry Award’ on behalf of surf label Billabong. LE BA Boardriders claimed the Simon Anderson Premiere Club Award as the club that excelled across a variety of levels in 2007.

Leon Norris (Geraldton, WA) was honoured with the Duke Kahanamoku Award for his enormous services to Surfing Australia and the sport of surfing.

The introduction of Team Australia who will contest the 2008 ISA World Junior Championship in France, May 24 till June 1st, 2008 added to the night’s festivities.

Both Owen Wright (Culburra, NSW) and Laura Enever (Narrabeen, NSW) feature in arguably one of the strongest U/19 national sides ever assembled.

The night also set a new benchmark for Award presentations by emitting ‘Zero C’, - no carbons - thanks to the work of Balance Carbon. The Australian Surfing Hall of Fame would like to acknowledge Surfing Australia, the Australian Sports Commission, Domain Casuarina Beach Resort, ASB , Balance Carbon and  Urchins Artwork for their support in staging the Australian Surfing Awards.

Source: Surfing Australia