This week the Surfers' Hall of Fame (HOF) expanded its list of 2011 inductees. Simon Anderson, the Australian surfer and shaper best known for creating the three-fin thruster style board, will join George Downing, Taylor Knox, and Chuck Linnen at a ceremony on August 5 in Huntington Beach, Calif. Each will have their hand and footprints cemented beneath the bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku."The Thruster revolutionized and advanced surfing," said HOF founder Aaron Pai in a statement.
"To be honored is great," Anderson told ESPN. "I was fortunate that the Narrabeen area had many world class surfers [and] shapers to draw influence from. Including Terry Fitzgerald, Geoff McCoy and Col Smith, who I thank for inspiration and guidance."
The announcement that Anderson would be recognized comes more than a month after the HOF released its original honorees. At the time, the HOF had not confirmed the details with the Australian. "We wanted to reach out to Anderson to make sure he could be present the day of the induction before we announced [it]," Ryan McLaughlan of the HOF told ESPN. "With Anderson being in Australia he was a bit harder to track down and get confirmation."
Anderson was raised around Sydney and began surfing competitively in 1971, winning the Australian National Titles and the Bells Beach Classic junior contests. His success continued as he rode single-fin boards to a second place finish at the Australian National Titles in 1976, a fourth at the 1977 Pipeline Masters on Oahu, Hawaii, and eventually won the Bells and Coke Surfabout events that same year.
But the emergence of multi-finned boards stymied Anderson's progress. Australian Mark Richards designed a twin-fin model he rode to four world championships. The double fin arrangement did not suit Anderson, who set to devising the thruster.
Anderson began shaping in 1972. Yet his tri-fin design was met with skepticism at first. But Anderson's competitive results muzzled his critics. In 1981, he again won the Bells Beach Classic and the Coke Surfabout in Sydney, before taking the top spot at the Pipe Masters.
"My motivation back then was to make better boards for myself and win contests on the pro tour," Anderson explained. "To make an impact in the board manufacturing industry and on the world stage I guess was testament to many years dedicated to shaping and surfing."
According to the HOF, since 1984, every world title winner has ridden a thruster. Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the thruster, and last August Anderson was honored at the Sacred Craft Surf Expo.
The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. in front of Huntington Surf & Sport and is free to the public. Famed sports announcer/commentator David Stanfield and five-time U.S. Surfing Champion Corky Carroll will serve as Masters of Ceremony.