By Zach Cavanagh

United States national longboard champion Sheri Crummer and world masters water polo champion Bob Nealy were inducted into the San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame in a ceremony at the San Clemente Aquatics Center at Vista Hermosa Sports Park on Saturday, May 18.

Crummer and Nealy, who was inducted posthumously and represented by wife Sara and son Trevor, were chosen as the 23rd and 24th members of the Wall of Fame. Inductees are chosen by the Friends of San Clemente Foundation in coordination with the San Clemente Sports Wall of Fame Committee.

This was the seventh annual induction ceremony, which recognizes unique athletic achievements for athletes who were born, went to school or achieved these feats while living in San Clemente.

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John Dorey, president of the Friends of San Clemente and emcee of the event, tied the two nominees together with a shared trait of passion.

“They would not be able to achieve their greatness without it,” Dorey said. “They believed in their selected sport and lived it. As they aged, they knew they had to work harder and smarter with sheer will and experience.”

Crummer won three consecutive U.S. national longboard championships in the women’s 18-and-over division from 2002-04 at age 52, 53 and 54.

As a third-generation San Clementean, Crummer went through stories of her early days in the city and says she still checks T-Street as a barometer for surf conditions.

“My mom said that the beach was the best babysitter she ever had,” Crummer said. “I learned so much through the earth and the ocean.”

Crummer said she loves going to the beaches of San Clemente and seeing fathers and mothers, sons and daughters and grandfathers and grandmothers all taking in the surf.

“You see all these generations, and that’s about what San Clemente gives,” Crummer said.

Sara Nealy accepted on behalf of her late husband, Bob, with their son, Trevor, at her side.

Bob Nealy moved to San Clemente in 1971 and lived here until losing a nine-year fight with cancer in 2016. Nealy was inducted in UC Irvine Hall of Fame for water polo and swimming in 2001, won three world masters water polo titles in 1998, 2006 and 2008 and was named USA Water Polo Male Master of the Year in 2011.

“Bob loved his San Clemente community,” Sara Nealy said. “He fit in with the laid-back lifestyle and love of the ocean. San Clemente allowed him to follow his dreams.”

Sara Nealy said Bob was very much a people person and joined the San Onofre Surf Club nearly the first day they bought their home in San Clemente. Sara also noted that his trips from the water on the way to dinner would often be delayed while he stopped to chat with all the various groups along the way.

“His relationship with people was the catalyst to his success,” Sara Nealy said.

Bob Nealy’s love of surf also helped him start Surf More Products, Inc. in San Clemente. Nealy began by making a surf leash out of Velcro from an Air Force life preserver from his tenure with Air Force Pararescue. Crummer actually used the leashes herself and thanked Nealy for his contributions to the surf community.

 

Zach Cavanagh mugshotZach Cavanagh
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports.

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