Australian world champion surfer Pam Burridge will be internationally recognised for her contribution to the sport when she is inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in California today.
The women’s surfing icon will soon have her own square on the walk at Huntington Beach, which operates in a similar way to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Five people from around the world are inducted into the walk of fame each year.
This year, Australia’s Barton Lynch, along with surf pioneer Jeff Hakman from Hawaii, surfing cultural icon Jim Jenks, and pro surfer Timmy Reyes will join Burridge as inductees.
Burridge was the 1990 women’s world surfing champion, but her contribution to the sport extends far beyond winning a world title.
The face of women’s surfing
She picked up her first surfboard in 1975 at the age of 10 and was entering her first competitions just as the sport of professional surfing was being born.
When she first started out, women were not part of the world tour and the competition for girls was limited.
That was not a barrier for Burridge.
In 1980, aged 15, she was ranked 11th in the world and began to travel around the world, surfing for free.
For the next 20 years, this was her life.
“I was very much the face of women’s surfing,” Burridge said.
“I did a lot of promotion, surfing around the world for no money.
“I didn’t think about it at the time because I loved it, but looking back I don’t know how I did it.”
In 1990, Burridge won a women’s world title, an achievement she considers to be the pinnacle of her surfing career, but at that stage women on the professional tour were still unpaid.
While she officially retired from professional surfing in 1998, she has never truly retired from the sport.
Once a surfer, always a surfer
Burridge now dedicates her life to teaching others how to surf through her learn to surf business on the south coast of NSW.
She has also recently started coaching a south coast semi professional surfer, 15-year-old Sophia Fulton, who is working through the qualifying series events in an attempt to make it onto the world tour in 2018.
“I’m really dedicated to the sport of surfing,” Burridge said.
“I love it and I’ve given a lot back in different ways.”
Her position on the Surfing Walk of Fame is another feather in her cap, having already been inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame and with a chair plaque dedicated to her at Freshwater Beach in Sydney where she grew up.
Despite her numerous achievements, Burridge said being on the walk of fame was a huge honour.
She is in America this week to accept the induction, and said while it was very exciting, she was just appreciating the moment in history.
“We’ve had most of the pioneers of our sport living and rubbing shoulders, but now people are starting to drop off,” Burridge said.
“It hits you when you go these functions, we’re losing people. This is a really important time in history.”