A bronze, life-sized statue of Walter and Philip “Flippy” Hoffman, two big wave surfing pioneers, will be the next to join Joyce Hoffman, Hobie Alter and other legends at Watermen’s Plaza.
The Hoffman brothers will be the seventh statue to join the plaza, which features statues of Alter, Phil Edwards, Bruce Brown, John Severson and Joyce—with a statue of Steve and Bohne to be unveiled soon.
Dana Point artist Bill Limebrook, who designed each of the bronze statues at Waterman’s Plaza, will craft the statue depicting Walter wearing a textured Hawaiian print shirt holding a 10-foot surfboard. Flippy, who also worked as an abalone diver, will be depicted in Hawaiian print shorts holding an abalone shell.
The brothers took over the family business, Hoffman California Fabrics company, pioneering “the Hawaiian-infused aesthetic of California surf clothing as the primary textile provider to the surf wear industry,” according to a city staff report.
Walter taught his stepdaughter Joyce how to surf in Capistrano Beach by his house on Beach Road, where he still lives today.
Flippy, who was a long-time Capistrano Beach resident, died in 2010.
The brothers were inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2006.
The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, July 18, to commission Limebrook to sculpt the statue of the brothers. According to the staff report, the statue must be completed by March 31, 2025.
Councilmember Matthew Pagano commented that he appreciated how the city recognizes local legends at Watermen’s Plaza.
“I think this is awesome,” said Pagano—who, along with the rest of the council, donned a Hawaiian print shirt in honor of the brothers’ legacy. “I think it’s nice that we’re taking a moment to recognize people that have really embodied the culture of what Dana Point is, still today, and what we’re ascribing to be.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jamey Federico noted that many people don’t realize how much of the surf industry comes from Dana Point.
“How great is it to have people come from all over the world come here and see that statue garden, Watermen’s statue plaza, and learn these stories,” Federico said, adding, “It’s super cool to be able to recognize Walter and Flippy and I’m quite frankly proud to live in a town with such a cool and rich and deep surf culture.”
Watermen’s Plaza, which was created as a part of the mixed-use South Cove project, contains 10 pedestals for life-size statues of local surfing industry legends. A memorial statue of Alter was the first to be erected in Watermen’s Plaza. The next statue to be unveiled at Watermen’s Plaza depicts tandem surf champions Barrie and Steve Boehne. A ribbon-cutting celebrating the statue is slated for late-September.