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Surfboards on Parade now parading through auction winner's home

Chris Byrne went on a winning streak Saturday at the Surfboards on Parade art auction, bringing home five one-of-a-kind boards designed by teams of renowned artists and shapers.
His home now hosts a mini-gallery, complete with a sculpture of a mermaid on a board occupying the center of the dining table. And yet, the Huntington Beach resident had more than home improvements in mind when he offered his bids, the bulk of which funded the cancer institute at Hoag Hospital.

When Byrne’s daughter was born nearly three decades ago, she had an unusual condition that required a white blood cell transfusion. Hoag had the technology to perform the procedure, and Byrne credits it with saving her life.

“If Hoag Hospital wasn’t around when she was born, I don’t think she’d be with us,” Byrne said.
With lives on the line, any dollar can make a difference, and there were plenty of dollars raised Saturday at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington. The Night of a Million Waves Gala and Art Auction, which concluded the Surfboards on Parade citywide event, garnered more than $100,000, according to event manager Jodi McKay.

All 28 specially designed surfboards found buyers during the auction, which was emceed by veteran surfer Peter “PT” Townend, with Zack Krone serving as auctioneer. Proceeds from the auction, presented by the Rotary Club of Huntington Beach, went to Hoag as well as Rotary, the International Surfing Museum and the Huntington Beach Art Center.

Since January, the boards had been exhibited at locations around Huntington Beach, including the Hilton, Shorebreak Hotel and Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. The campaign commemorated the 100th anniversary of the introduction of surfing to the city, when Hawaiian athlete George Freeth demonstrated his craft at the pier.

When Tom Anderson bought one of his two boards Saturday, he got surfing as part of the deal. The Newport Beach resident, who works in commercial property management, won the board created by two veterans of the classic surf documentary “The Endless Summer”: shaper Robert August, who starred in the film, and John Van Hamersveld, who designed its poster.

To sweeten the prize during the auction, August threw a surfing excursion to Costa Rica. Anderson said he and August haven’t discussed the particulars yet, but Thanksgiving might be an option.
“I have not surfed in probably seven or eight years,” he said. “But I think surfing is like riding a bicycle. Once you learn, you never forget.”