A name synonymous with style and grace, Gerry Lopez was born in Hawaii in 1948 and by the age of 14 was the Hawaiian Junior Champion. Growing up in “Town,” he soon became one of the rising stars on the North Shore of Oahu. Helping to usher in the “Shortboard Revolution” with other luminaries such as Dick Brewer and Reno Abillera. He quickly became known as Mr. Pipeline by the budding surf media of the time. In 1971, Lopez and Jack Shipley founded the iconic Lightning Bolt brand. In ’72 and ’73, Lopez won the Pipe Masters, cementing is legacy. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s he also spent substantial time in Indonesia, pioneering the hollow, idyllic breaks in Bali and at G-Land. In 1999, Lopez received the Waterman of the Year award by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) in recognition of his efforts to stress the importance of the ocean and its environmental preservation. In 2001, he moved his family and business from Hawaii to Bend, Oregon, where he now continues to shape boards but also can be found snowboarding and water skiing in the Cascade Mountains and surrounding areas.
Shaun Tomson started, managed and sold two multi-million dollar clothing brands – Instinct in the 80’s and Solitude (co-founded with his wife Carla) in the 90’s. He is the author of the best-selling book “The Code: The Power of “I Will“, and the writer and producer of the award-winning documentary film Bustin’ Down the Door. Shaun is a Business Administration and Finance graduate from the University of Natal. He is a World Surfing Champion, an inductee in the Jewish and South African Sports Hall of Fame, the US Surfing Hall of Fame, and has been described as one of the greatest surfers of all time and one of the most influential surfers of the century (Surfer Magazine 1999). Shaun is a board member and ambassador for Surfrider Foundation, the world’s largest environmental group dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches and he received the SIMA Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2002. Shaun currently lives with his wife and son in Santa Barbara, California and still finds time to chase the perfect wave.
In 1955, at the age of 5, the Rarick family moved from Seattle to Honolulu (Kaimuki) then settled in Niu Valley. At age of 10, Randy learned how to surf on Oahu’s south shore and fell in love with the sport after watching a surfing movie in 1962. Surfing was Randy’s passion and he learned every aspect of the sport, from competing, repairing and shaping boards, to passing out posters of surfing movies, collecting tickets at the door and even running the movie projector at the theater. After graduating from high school, surfing competitively allowed Randy to travel the world but would always make it a point to return home for the winter surf on Oahu’s north shore. Travelling allowed Randy to witness the emerging popularity of professional surfing. He also noticed how the events lacked cohesiveness. After returning to Hawaii in 1975, he approached Fred Hemmings, who was the main promoter of surf events, and convinced him to create a circuit to link the individual events in Hawaii together and create the first professional surfing circuit. The circuit involved 12 events around the world, including 3 in Hawaii, under the title name, International Professional Surfing (IPS). (Note: IPS was the forerunner to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) tour). In 1983, the 3 events in Hawaii, Pipeline Masters, The Duke Classic and the Reef Hawaiian Pro were combined into the Triple Crown of Surfing. Randy organized the Triple Crown from its inception in 1983 until 2012 but continues to be intimately involved with one of the world’s most prestigious surfing contest.
A native of Encinitas California, Linda Benson started surfing when she was 11 years old. She learned to surf at Moonlight Beach, where she’d wait until her brother, or one of his friends would lose a board and then she’d paddle it back out to him. At 13 her father let her buy her own, a beat-up old board that cost $20. At 5’2″ and 105 pounds, Linda would prove a gutsy and talented athlete, dominating women’s competitive surfing for over 10 years. In 1959, at the age of 15, Linda became the youngest contestant ever to enter the International Championship at Makaha. She won. That same year she became the first woman to ride Waimea when she borrowed a board from the shortest guy surfing with her, paddled out and caught a couple of waves. Using the equipment of the early 50’s, not to mention a goofyfoot in a time when most spots surfed were rights, she still managed to hold her own and gain respect for her fearless big wave riding and her ability to charge.
Linda went on to win the first U.S. Championship at Huntington Beach, in 1959, and continued to hold her title in 1960, ’61, ’64 and ’68–setting the record for number of wins by a woman at that event. She tandem surfed with Don Hanson and Mike Doyle and was rated number one in a 1964 International Surfing magazine reader’s poll. Linda also successfully competed in tandem events with Hobie Alter. Winning over 20 first place surfing titles from 1959 to 1969, Linda still found time to act as Annette Funicello’s surfing double in the Beach Party films and as Deborah Walley’s Surfing double in Gidget Goes Hawaiian. Linda also received a lot of publicity by surfing in John Severson’s films.
Betsy Gordon, Project Manager in the Executive Office of the National Museum of the American Indian, has been working in museums for over 35 years. Her diverse portfolio of projects includes exhibitions, publications, films, interactive websites, design competitions, grant writing, strategic planning, construction management, and public programs. As a skateboard historian, she is fascinated by the cultural intersections between surf and skate. A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Gordon curated the traveling exhibition Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America, co-founded the public program Innoskate, acted as a content expert for the film Skateboard Nation, and is currently editing a book on the skateboard collection at the Smithsonian.
Carlos Amezcua is President and CEO of CarlosMedia Corporation, a full-service media and technology company. An award-winning veteran, he has spent the past 40 years covering major news stories around the world, most recently for FOX Television in Los Angeles. Carlos has been awarded 22 Emmys including one for ‘Outstanding Journalistic Enterprise’ and another for his coverage of Mexican politics. He also received awards from the Associated Press, The Radio Television News Association’s “Golden Mikes” and was part of the team that won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. For 17 years, Amezcua was also the co-anchor of the top-rated KTLA Morning News which changed morning television with innovation and personality. In 2006, The National Hispanic Media Coalition honored Amezcua with its National Impact Award for excellence in broadcast journalism. An avid songwriter, Amezcua received a Gold Record for writing lyrics on the rock band Chicago’s Christmas album. Amezcua is also an accomplished artist. His oil paintings have been showcased at many art galleries and shows in Southern California.
Dick Metz Founder and Board Member
Dick Metz, Board Member and Founder, has supplied the vision for the SHF and the initial funding. Central to the mission, Dick has donated his extensive surfboard collection, and bequeathed his estate to Surfing Heritage. Dick, who grew up in Laguna Beach as a buddy of such notables as Hobie Alter, Reynolds Yater, and Hevs McClelland, is himself a pioneering figure in our sport and industry. As the driving force behind Surfline Hawaii and the Hobie Sports retail chain, and as the traveling surfer who cross-pollinated a fledgling South African surf scene with Hobie and Gordon Clark in California, and suggested to Bruce Brown that he film for The Endless Summer in South Africa, Metz has changed the course of surf history. Now, his goal is to preserve it.
Spencer Croul – Co-Founder and Board Member
Spencer Croul, Co-Founder, Board Member, grew up surfing in Newport Beach, California in the early 1970’s, bicycling to the beach with surfboard in tow. A San Diego State University graduate in Recreation Administration Management, he earned his Associate of Arts degree at Orange Coast College after graduating from Newport Harbor High School in 1974. He worked 15 years in the private sector as a foam packaging designer and later in the family paint manufacturing business before finding and pursuing his passion as a Surf Culture Preservationist. Bringing foundation management experience to the Surfing Heritage, he also serves on the board of his family’s Foundation. He has amassed his own private collection of historical surfing artifacts, and brings not only his collection to the Surfing Heritage but also his vast knowledge in surfing collectibles and surfing history. Presently residing in Newport Beach, California, he is married to Susan Croul, has two children and continues to surf whenever possible.
Greg Dillion AC and Board
Greg Dillion, Board Member and Founding Partner, grew up in Ohio and took up many of his favorite sports later in life — skiing at 25, surfing at 33, scuba at 39, snowboarding at 40, wakeboarding at 45 and kiteboarding at 50. Greg is never happier than when sharing these pastimes with his wife and five kids. Locally, Greg’s surf spots range from Oceanside to Bolsa Chica, but he also likes to safari each year and has surfed a number of locations in the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific and Central and South America. Greg obtained his B.A. from Cornell University and his law degree from the University of Texas. In 1984 he co-founded Newmeyer & Dillion. Since then, the firm has grown from three lawyers to 60 and has become a full-service law firm with offices in Newport Beach and Walnut Creek.
Keith Maynard Eshelman – AC
Keith Maynard Eshelman, Board member, Treasurer, Founding Partner, grew up in Palos Verdes and starting surfing in 1960. Keith moved to San Diego in 1966 to attend San Diego State University, became a CPA and worked in public accounting for 12 years. Keith is retired after 30 years as the Chief Financial Officer for the Brady Companies, a large multi-office construction company in San Diego. As a major collector of surf memorabilia, Keith has a website of surf movie posters, the Gallery of Surf Classics. His collections have been featured in various books and magazines and he has been an expert appraiser at the Hawaiian Islands Vintage Surf Auctions, the Sacred Craft Consumer Surf Expos, and the Boardroom Surf Show. Keith is married with three grown children, and can be found surfing at San Diego North County beaches.
David Scibal – AC and Board
David began surfing at 10 years old on the southeastern shore of New Jersey. He began competing at an early age, initially through locally sponsored contests and then through the ESA. According to Peter “PT” Townend “Scibal owned” Ocean Cities 7th Street and regularly surfed all the southern and central New Jersey hotspots. In 72 David relocated to Cocoa Beach, studied Business Administration, enjoyed surfing Sebastian Inlet and many of the area breaks. He traveled extensively surfing Huntington Beach, Santa Cruz, and the North Shore after being invited to the 1974 Smirnoff Pro/Am.
While traveling between the North Shore, Santa Cruz and Cocoa Beach he co-founded Thomas Surfboards with Santa Cruz shaper Joey Thomas and worked with Pete Dooley and the crew at Natural Art surfboards. In the late 70’s he began his business career in the family’s insurance risk management company and went on to building his own businesses in the insurance, real estate development, retail and hospitality industries in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Virginia. David continues to mentor insurance and hospitality professionals as he did with emerging young surfers in the 70’s and 80’s.
He now resides with Charlene on their farm “Windholme” located in Orange, Virginia where they tend horses and a brood of Irish Wolfhounds, they also are owners and operators of “The Inn at Willow Grove”, an internationally acclaimed boutique resort-hotel, all located in the Virginia Foothills. David has never given up his love for surfing and the East Coast. He joins the Surfing Heritage Advisory Council as its first East Coast representative with goal of building the East Coast branch of the Smithsonian of Surfing, Surfing Heritage and Culture Center.
Greg Loehr – AC
Greg Loehr was born in Brooklyn, New York, before eventually moving to Cocoa Beach, Florida. The hotbed of East Coast surfing in the ’60s,
Loeher quickly showed a high level of talent in the water the legendary Mike Tableling added him to the Weber surf team. Though well known as a standout in Hawaii and a top notch competitor winning the 1979 Lacanu Pro in France, his greatest influence maybe his innovative use and production of epoxy resin for surfboard manufacturing.
Loehr was the East Coast Surfing Champion in 1974. He was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2000 and the International Shapers Hall of Fame in 2016.