Mark Warren: the winner of The Duke Kahanamoku Classic at Waimea Bay, Hawaii, in 1980

Surfing pioneer Mark Warren (Avalon, NSW) was honored 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 1970s pro surfer - a media sports personality in the 1980s - National Coach and ASP Tour Representative in the 1990s. 

Warren, the 1970 NSW Junior Champion from Narrabeen, went on to become one of the world's 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 honor 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) honored Mark Warren as this year’s Inductee in the night's 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 Best Photo of the Year Award and Sunny Abberton accepted 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 it 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, savor 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 honored 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 from May 24 to 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

Top Stories

AllWaves is a new wave pool technology from Belgium that allows surfing on an artificial lake, thus bringing surfing experiences closer to enthusiasts and landlocked surfers.

The world's first city center wave pool is ready to welcome surfers. Meet RiF010, the Dutch answer to urban surfing.

Bianca Valenti, Alo Slebir, Wilem Banks, and Jojo Roper were the standout wave riders of the 2024 Mavericks Surf Awards.

The waves at O2 SurfTown MUC are rolling. Europe's largest wave pool opens in Summer 2024 in Munich, Germany.