Industry News 6/12/2009

Pat O'Connell Drops Into 2009 Surfers' Hall of Fame

Pat O'Connell Drops Into 2009 Surfers' Hall of Fame

Former World Championship Tour standout and Endless Summer II co-star Pat O’Connell will have his hand and footprints immortalized in concrete during his induction into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.  Known throughout the surfing world for his contagious optimism and cheerful demeanor, O’Connell joins Jeff Hakman, Bruce Brown and Joey Buran as the 2009 inductees into the prestigious Hall of Fame, at 10 a.m. Friday, July 24 in front of Huntington Surf & Sport (corner of PCH and Main). 

Born in Chicago in 1971, Pat O’Connell spent the first 12 years of his life landlocked; a fan of soccer.  It wasn’t until the early 80’s when Pat’s family relocated to Southern California that Pat would develop his one-of-a-kind, surf-stoked enthusiasm.  He began to hone his skills at Salt Creek, enjoying long sessions with local rippers.  Pat soon advanced through the NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) ranks and was also a member of the Dana Hills High surf team.

In 1990, O'Connell represented the United States in the World Amateur Championships in Japan, winning the first event and finishing ninth overall in the Open Division.  Immediately after turning professional the same year, he became a dark-horse winner of two PSAA/Bud Surf Tour events and appeared on the cover of Surfing magazine.  Pat’s burgeoning pro surfing career would take a small detour, however, when he took a co-lead role in Endless Summer II, Bruce Brown’s remake of the classic surf film.

Along with Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, Pat traversed the globe in search of perfect waves.  His eternal optimism and endless sense of humor came across on film and Pat gained celebrity status in the U.S. and overseas.  "I had to put everything on hold," remembers Pat. "No photo trips, no contests, nothing.  But by concentrating on surfing perfect waves and surfing well, I became a well-rounded surfer."

When it was over, Pat put aside his celebrity status and groveled his way through the World Qualifying Series (WQS), qualifying for the Top 44 in his first year back, a testament to the impact of his travels.  While his fluid style was never fully embraced by the system, he maintained his seed for many seasons, peaking in 1998 at 11th on the World Tour and coming in 10th in the annual Surfer Poll.

After retiring from competition on “his own terms”, Pat joined Hurley International’s marketing department.
“We are super stoked and excited to have Pat be inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame this July!  Pat is a great ambassador for our sport and his enthusiasm and humor reminds us all what surfing is about,” said Huntington Surf & Sport founder Aaron Pai.  “We are stoked to be able to thank this Pro Surfer, Movie Star and all around good guy for all that he has accomplished and contributed to our Sport of Surfing!”