The class of inductees for the 2021 Wrightsville Beach Museum Waterman Hall of Fame will be announced on September 24! The Celebration and Inductions will be held on Saturday, October 16, 7 PM – 10 PM, at Waterman’s Brewery, 1610 Pavilion Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403.
This award was created to reflect the importance of community spirit and personal contributions to the culture of water sports and professions throughout the history of the Cape Fear Region. We wish to celebrate men and women exemplify the best of the local coastal communities in their character, demeanor, and spirit both in competition and in their respect and/or contributions to the community.
The Waterman Hall of Fame is intended to be a lasting tribute for the achievements of the generations of local residents that have shaped this community and its relationship with the water. The Cape Fear Area Beaches were established because of their beauty and the lure of the ocean and marshes as a place to fish, sail, swim and recreate on and in the water. The values exhibited by the best of those who have made this their home based on that relationship with the water are to be embodied in the Hall of Fame.
The Waterman Hall of Fame awards are selected by the Waterman Hall of Fame Board comprising of members of the Wrightsville Beach Museum Board of Directors and community participants who represent a cross-section of those who have been a part of the local water sports community throughout the decades. There will be an emphasis on diversity of generations and sports within the Hall of Fame.
We will select up to 5 inductees from a combination of the following categories each year:
- Ocean Rescue / Swimming
- Beach Culture
Two new categories this year because of the growing emphasis on water sports in the area.
- Paddle Sports – with the increased participation in paddle sports and the area’s limitless inshore tributaries and consistent ocean swell and surf, this area has become the East Coast’s premier location for paddleboarding and ocean canoe racing (OC). Events like the Carolina Cup and the Carolina Pro-Am, as well as the creation of local Paddling teams such as Wrightsville Beach Outrigger Canoe Club, and the Wrightsville Beach Junior Elite Team have opened up an entirely new type of water activity for this community.
- Ohana/Group Category – there has been a number of families and/or groups that have had a tremendous impact on our beach communities. These can be families that have operated water related businesses over the course of several generations that have had a positive impact on our area; families that have had a tremendous impact or success in watersports; or a formal group of individuals that have helped establish or grow watersports in the Cape Fear Region.
The Inductees should adhere to and/or reflect at least one of the following criteria:
Pioneer – Based on achieved fame as respected watermen/women or pioneers in the time before major championships; candidates must have reached the age of fifty years old or are deceased.
Champions – Must have held National Championship and/or National-Class event titles
Cultural Contributor – Must have helped elevate the beach culture in their local community by enhancing the lives of the individuals and the community though their good works
Local Hero – Resided for at least 10 years in the Cape Fear Region and were noted for their competitive success or were instrumental in the creation or continuation of watersports in the region
Special Recognition – The Special Recognition was created to honor those individuals who have contributed to waterman activities and its culture and can demonstrate roots in the Cape Fear Region.
Previous Inductees are not eligible for nomination:
2014 Inductees: Sailing – Commodore Richard Bradley; Local Hero – Tony Butler; Surfing Champion – Bill Curry; Fishing/Boating – Captain Eddy Haneman; Woman of the Year – Jo Pickett, Beach Culture – Josh Vach.
2015 Inductees: Beach Culture – Skipper Funderburg, Fishing/Boating – Mike Merritt; Ocean Rescue and Swimming – Dave Baker; Sailing – Dr. Joseph James; Surfing Champion – Ben Bourgeois; Woman of the Year – Cissie Brooks; Surfing Pioneer/Local hero – Will Allison
2016 Inductees: Diving Local Hero – Kevin Walker; Fishing/Boating Pioneer/Local Hero – Robbie Wolfe; Sailing – Martin Willard; Surfing – Local Hero – Mike Barden; Surfing – Champion/Local Hero – Tony Silvagni; Woman of the Year – Local Hero/Beach Culture – Tracy Skrabal
2017 Inductees: Diving – Ryan McInnis; Fishing – Sammy Corbett; Sailing – Murray Seidel; Surfing – Special Recognition – Roy Turner; Local Hero – Nancy Fahey; Beach Culture – Reggie Barnes
2019 Inductees: Cornelius Nixon – Local Hero; Carl Snow – Fishing; George Erkes – Ocean Rescue; Jack Viorel – Special Recognition; Amy Rose – Special Recognition; Jim Skiba – Pioneer