By Jake Howard
This Saturday at the San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame at the San Clemente Aquatics Center, surfboard builder and longtime surf shop owner Bill Stewart will be honored with his rightful place in the city’s celebrated surf history.
Originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Stewart surfed for the first time in Hollywood, Florida, in 1963. By 1967, he shaped his first board. After a stint whittling foam for Hobie and master craftsman Rick James (not to be confused with the musician of “Super Freak” fame) on the South Shore of Oahu. In 1978 he launched Stewart Surfboards. As they say, the rest is history.
For the last 40 years Stewart has been inspiring some of the most innovative longboard designs, and made a name for himself thanks to the unique, custom artwork that’s set him apart from most other surfboard brands. In the mid-1980s, he developed the “Hydro Hull” design, which remains in use to this day. He estimates that he’s shaped over 40,000 himself with over 100,000 boards being churned out by his production team at Stewart Surfboards. That’s a lot of happiness to a lot of people.
The ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at the San Clemente Aquatics Center. Local motocross legend Johnny Campbell and volleyball Olympian Gabe Gardner will receive honors.