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It’s been an incredible year at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center. From successful events to unique exhibits and all of the good times in between, we’ve had much to be grateful for over the last 12 months. Before we vault forward into a new decade with all kinds of exciting new opportunities, here’s a look at some of the seminal moments that moved up last year:

As the Dana Point Harbor redevelopment has gotten underway in earnest, SHACC continues to be at the center of the action. Looking to become a focal point of all the new energy and action, we are collaborating with the Dana Point Harbor Partners development group and are confident that by 2023 we will be occupying our new home in the center of the Dana Point Harbor.

Dion Agius, Tasmania. Photo: Nick Green / 2019 Follow The Light Winner

With the blessing of Larry “Flame” Moore’s widow, Candace, SHACC relaunched the Follow the Light surf photography grant program this year. Doling out thousands of dollars and working opportunities with marquee surf brands to all of 2019’s five finalists, the opportunity to help support the future of surf photography couldn’t be brighter. In total there were 96 entrants from around the world, and this year it was Tasmania’s Nick Green that took top honors. For the effort he was not only awarded a $5,000 cash prize, but also got to work with Vans on the North Shore of Oahu during the Triple Crown of Surfing, as well as with the World Surf League at the Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, and lens company Olloclip.

SHACC’s annual Ohana Gala celebrated the accomplishments and discoveries of “The Explorers” — six of surfing’s most intrepid adventurers. The 2019 honorees included SHACC founder Dick Metz, Central America pioneers Craig Peterson and Kevin Naughton, and Captains Elizabeth Clark and Martin Daly. For every surf break around the world somebody had to be the first person to tempt fate and push over the ledge. Thanks to these pioneers and pirates, without their barefoot accomplishments and contributions, surfing wouldn’t be the rich bold tapestry of color, cultures and experiences that it is today.

2019 Ohana Gala in Huntington Beach.

One of the biggest, most successful at SHACC in years came in the form of a celebration of surf shop culture. The “Temples of Stoke” exhibit featured over 20 surf shops from up and down the West Coast in a unique and interactive format. The oldest and most influential shops were invited to set up their own “alter” at SHACC detailing their unique history and the culture that flourished around them. Opening night featured a packed house that was more like a reunion than an exhibit opening, complete with epic food and drinks and live tunes. It goes without saying, but just in case, support your local surf shop.

Over the summer SHACC hosted a three-part lecture series in partnership with the San Clemente Jr. Lifeguard Foundation. Covering a myriad of topics, the WSL’s Rosy Hodge led a conversation on women in the water, the Gudauskas brothers talked about the importance of staying stoked, and a consortium lifeguards shared their lessons learned. A free event for the youth, this was the second year SHACC hosted the series. It’s a great way to stay engaged in the community and open our doors to our family and friends…and learn something in the process.

Featuring the most influential surf shops on the West Coast, the Temples Of Stoke exhibit was a highlight of 2019.

We had the privilege of hosting of number of book signing events over the course of the year. From esteemed surf scribe Jamie Brisick words, to Thom Gilbert’s imagery, to Nat Young’s newest tome, “Church of the Open Sky,” if it was an opportunity to get up close and personal with an author, SHACC’s proud to be able to support our culture’s literary endeavors.

One of the especially fun evenings during the summer was the showing of “Five Summer Stories” at the Dana Point drive-in movie night. Showing the ‘70s cult classic, it was an opportunity to dig on the old school surf movie vibes, soak in the nostalgia and have a good time with friends. If this is a glimpse of our future in Dana Point, we’re going to have a lot of fun!

Dedicated to the art of high-speed surfing, the “Go Faster” exhibit was a fan favorite in 2019. Highlighting the handiwork of luminaries such as Gerry Lopez, Bob McTavish, Nat Young, George Greenough and others, it featured boards from the transitional years of the late ‘60s when boards were shrinking and horizons expanding.

Dick Brewer and SHACC’s Denny Michael at the Go Faster exhibit opening.

SHACC continues to hold monthly group Ukulele lessons open to all levels of players. Kala Ukulele donated 20 ukes to our surf culture music program, allowing us to offer beginners a no-cost entry into island style music.

Sadly, we also said goodbye to some of our dearest friends in 2019. A heartfelt goodbye to all of those that gracefully kicked out last year, including Chris Brown, Randy Nauert, Walter Monk, Harold Walker, Gary Propper, Mike Doyle, Eduardo Arena, Chris McElroy, John Creed, Bill Blackburn, Glen Kennedy and Robert Burnside.

TSJ In Memorium 2019 from The Surfer’s Journal on Vimeo.

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