You get what you give. The induction of Al Merrick into the Surfer’s hall of Fame
By: Mark ‘dimo’ Dimalanta, for West Coast Surf Magazine
The 10th anniversary of the Surfer’s Hall of Fame always brings about the best the surfing world has to offer, and each year, pivotal contributors to our sport are honored for their achievements. The Hall of fame inductees are selected by a committee of business owners, surfers, and surf industry professionals based on contribution, dedication, integrity, and revolution to the sport of surfing. This year, on July 27, 2007 Martin Potter, Sofia Mulanovich, Bruce Irons, and Al Merrick were all honored.
Each year is an opportunity for fans to witness their heroes immortalized in concrete and experience each inductee’s gratitude for our sport. This year marked a key event and was made all the more special, simply for the chance to meet and shake the hands of the man who has shaped some of the best surfboards, for perhaps the best surfers in history.
Al has molded the lives of many of the surfing world’s heroes. While surfing Southside HB, I met an Argentinean surfer who came to California, simply to purchase a ‘Merrick’ and with much elation, described it as “magic”. He remarked that “there is simply something inherently special” to an Al Merrick shape.
For close to four decades, Al’s company, Channel Islands surfboards, has been dedicated to quality and performance through hard work, innovation, and originality. Globally, his boards are the most sought after shapes, let alone, his brand recognition has prompted him to be one of the most prolific surfboard shapers in history.
When you meet the man, experience his work as a surfer yourself, or simply view one of his riders, it’s enough to see the beauty of his skill. Of all the accolades in a storied life as colorful as Al Merrick’s, the one most impressive is his piety and reverence for the people who stand closest within his circle. His acceptance speech reached an emotional pinnacle when he took the time to pay gratitude to all his supporters. Being thankful for such an “honor in my life, that I never imagined, I thank the surfers I had the privilege of shaping for, Tommy, Kelly, Sofia, Lisa, Rob, Taylor, Bobby, the Malloys, and the Gudauskas’s…”
Of the many, on his thank you list, Al acknowledged the importance of his wife Terry, his children and his faith in surviving prostate cancer. Al’s induction was memorable for many reasons, most notably for his humility, selflessness, and respect for those who have enriched his life. I feel we all owe Al a bit of thanks; the world of surfing has been blessed by your contributions.