Joined OCC: April 19, 1956
Elected to Winged “O”: February 3, 1969
Fred Hemmings Jr. has been a well-known sports personality since his school days at Punahou School as an All-State center-linebacker in football and a surfing champion. He was born on January 9, 1946 in Honolulu.
In 1958 (when he was 12 years old) Fred entered the Makaha International Surfing Championships for the first time and finished in third place in the Junior Men’s Division. He returned in 1962 and 1963 and won first place each year. Fred continued to win first place in the Makaha International Surfing Championships in 1964 and 1966 in the Senior Division. Fred entered the World Surfing Championships in 1965, finishing in fifth place, but when he competed in the competition in 1968, he took home the crown.
It was 1964 when Fred was honored by the Honolulu Quarterback Club as Athlete of the Year following his victories at the Makaha and Peruvian International Surfing championships. He went on to further surfing championships at Makaha again in 1966 and the World Surfing championship in Rincon, Puerto Rico in 1968. Fred won the coveted Duke Kahanamoku Sportsman Award in 1969 then became the color commentator for ABC’s Wide World of Sports surfing contests in the 1970s. He served as Executive Director of the Smirnoff Pro-Am Surfing Contest in 1970.
Fred was a member of Duke Kahanamoku’s Surf Team and and accompanied Duke on goodwill tours around the world in 1966 and 1967.
Hemmings is considered one of the most successful big wave surfers of all time and had a successful career in professional surfing in the 1960s and 1970s.
Fred was an incredible Ironman performer for the Outrigger canoe crews, steering and paddling crew after crew to victory. He served as captain of both record-breaking Molokai crews in 1968 and 1975, as well as Club Captain in 1975. He ran a very impressive 3:41:56 time for the OCC Marathon team, won a handful of Club Surfing Championships and was as hard as nails in the rugged touch football league for the OCC.
No one doubts Fred’s athletic ability in any sport he has undertaken, but it was not merely his athletic accomplishments that qualified him for the Winged “O”. Fred has served the OCC throughout the years as a committee member, coach, Club Captain and member of the Board of Directors (1972-1973 and 1975-1976). He was also a Trustee of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation from 1990-1991.
Fred was elected to the International Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991; the Punahou School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994; the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 1999; was listed in the Top 50 Athletes of Hawaii for the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated in 2000; was named the Waterman of the Year by the Surf Industry and Manufacturer Association in 2002; was selected a member of the Surf “Walk of Fame” in the City of Huntington Beach, California in 2009, and was named to the Waterman Hall of Fame by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation in 2010.
Fred was the founder and president of International Professional Surfing (1976-1983), founder and producer of the Triple Crown of Surfing (1983-1988), is a lifetime director of the Association of Surfing Professionals (1985-present) and Honorary Lifetime Director of the United States Surfing Federation (1987-Present).
Fred has done much to destroy the myth that gifted athletes are nonproductive out of their sports field. He has met every challenge in athletics, business, politics, community involvement and total dedication to the principles of the Outrigger Canoe Club.