Legendary Shaper Gordie Duane Lives On In 28th 'Surf City' Surfboard On Parade

From left: Cristin Hurley, Dean Torrence and Sheree Curoso (Photo by Lauren Lloyd)

"Surf City, here we come!" With the Huntington Beach Pier, Pacific Ocean and the 18th Annual Surfin' Sundays stage as its backdrop, the 28th "Surfboards on Parade" board was unveiled before a sunny Pier Plaza crowd on Sunday, June 8. The first 27 surfboards marched together for a grand reveal at the HB Art Center on May 1, but one last board has joined the parade. And it's another epic one, folks. Not only does it honor legendary HB shaper Gordie Duane, it also features the work of veteran HB shaper Steve Boehne of Infinity Surfboards and the golden sounds of Jan and Dean.

On the heels of local surf band Outerwave's afternoon set on Sunday, the dedicated crew behind the project took the stage to present the new addition, including Pete "PT" Townend, HB Mayor Matthew Harper, Rotary HB's Scott Smith, Event Fusion's Jodi McKay, Dean Torrence, as well as Duane's daughter, Sheree Curoso, and granddaughter, Cristin Hurley. 

Always fulfilling his role as the entertaining unveiling host and history buff, Townend walked the audience through the board's significance, starting with the late Duane—a skilled shaper who opened the first surfboard shop in HB in 1956, becoming HB's first surfboard manufacturer. Gordie Surfboards scored a prime location under the HB Pier, just a stone's throw from Sunday's ceremony. During his 80 years with us, Duane built more than 46,000 boards. He was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997.

Hurley took the stage to thank Boehne, Torrence, organizers and onlookers for honoring her grandfather: "We're super stoked to be part of 'Surfboards on Parade,' and I know my grandpa would be too."

(Photo by Lauren Lloyd)

Boehne, along with his wife, Barrie, opened Infinity Surf Shop at Fifth and Pacific Coast Highway in 1971, but prior to owning his own shop, he shaped for Gordie Surfboards as an apprentice starting in 1968. 

As humble as you'd imagine a surf music maker to be, Torrence stood proudly as Townend roused the crowd and questioned why Jan and Dean have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. William Jan Berry died in 2004, but decades prior, the duo pioneered what we now know today as surf music, paving the way for groups like The Beach Boys and the entire Surfin' Sundays lineup.

It was Torrence who helped carefully tug the black cloak away from the tribute board, along with Curoso, Smith and Harper. But before he did, he lauded HB: "We are very lucky, those of us that live here. It's one of the greatest places in the world as far as I'm concerned."

A replica of a 1950s Gordie board, Boehne's work shined onstage, complete with a gold 45 of Jan and Dean's 1963 hit Single "Surf City" inlaid in it. The song, which sings the familiar lyrics, "Two girls for every boy," held the number one spot in July of 1963 for two straight weeks. It was the first song about surfing to ever top the charts.

The board will continue to sparkle at Starbucks on Main Street through August, when it will then join the other 27 boards for the parade's October 4 finale–an auction to raise money to help eradicate skin cancer. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Hoag Hospital, as well as the International Surfing Museum, HB Art Center and Rotary Club of HB

This year marks 100 years of surfing in HB, and the proud community has banded together to pull out all the stops to celebrate the centennial. For a map of the parade route and more information on centennial events, check out our event guide.

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