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New statue in Dana Point honors SURFER magazine founder John Severson

Dana Point just got a new bronze statue that pays homage to another icon in the surf world.

The latest honors John Severson, founder of SURFER magazine, filmmaker and artist, who shared the stoke of surfing, allowing people to be transported to waves around the globe through images, videos and articles that captured the growing culture.

Severson’s life-size statue joins other South County legends like catamaran creator and surfboard innovator Hobie Alter, style master Phil Edwards and filmmaker Bruce Brown at the Watermen’s Plaza, an area across from Doheny State Beach that pays tribute to area influencers.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there was no public ribbon cutting to mark the new addition, but a traditional Hawaiian lei was draped over the statue through the weekend to signify its arrival.

The statue comes just weeks after the iconic 60-year-old magazine halted operations, and its future remains unclear.

Severson, considered the “father of surf media,” died at age 83 in 2017.

Severson spent his early years in San Clemente, where he started surfing at age 13. He released his first film, “Surf,” while serving in the U.S. Army in Honolulu.

He earned a degree in art education from Long Beach State College in 1956 and launched SURFER magazine in 1960 out of a small Dana Point office.

Surfer Magazine founder John Severson, at right, is introduced by Jim Kempton, board president with the California Surf Museum at a book-signing in Oceanside on Sept. 27, 2017. (File photo by Fred Swegles, Orange County Register/SCNG)

He sold the magazine in 1972 and moved with his wife and two daughters to Maui, where he continued his life as an artist. In 2014, Severson released a book called “Surf.” He was inducted into San Clemente’s Sports Wall of Fame in 2015.

All of the statues in the plaza were created by artist Bill Limebrook, who grew up on Beach Road in Dana Point, where many of those honored made waves with their innovation and creations.

The next statue to be installed, in 2021, will honor women’s surf pioneer Joyce Hoffman.

Source: Orange County Register

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