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KROQ's Rockin Fig Passes Away

For almost 3 decades, Rockin’ Fig’s distinct, upbeat voice echoed across the sand and surf and through radio waves, giving play-by-plays over loudspeakers at countless surf competitions and for more 25 years giving the surf report on KROQ radio station for listeners across Southern California. The beloved surf shop owner of Rockin’ Fig Surf Headquarters in Huntington Beach died on Friday, July 16, of a heart attack. He was 64.

Rick “Rockin’ Fig” Fignetti — known for wearing his signature thick glasses, long wavy hair and goatee framing his stoked smile — got his start shaping at Chuck Dent’s surf shop, the same person who gave him his trademark name.

“One night, we were in the shop in the middle of winter, and I was dancing on the countertop. Chuck goes “you’re rocking Fig,” he recounted in a 2006 interview with the Register. “That kind of claimed it for me. People from way back when used to say, that Fig guy, he’s rockin’ out. It’s just one of those names that stuck.”

He started his own shop bearing his moniker, Downey calling his shop still the best deal in town. Fignetti employed countless young surfers to run his shop, which during a big swell would hang a “Gone Surfing” sign on the door when they were running late because the surf was too good. ”

“The most fair surfing businessman, ever,” Downey said.

He started doing the surf report for KROQ in the 80s when radio personality “Poor Man” wanted to learn to surf. Fignetti and surf champion David Nuuhiwa took him out for a lesson, then suggested Fignetti do a surf report for the show.

Fignetti admitted being nervous in those early days as hundreds of thousands of people listened in at 7:20 a.m. each morning, looking out at the ocean at sunrise and calling into the station to give a live report, long before the days of surf cam technology used in websites such as Surfline.

He did the KROQ radio surf report each morning for 25 years up until 2010. He also was the announcer for many NSSA events as well as being the voice of the U.S. Open of Surfing in Hunitington Beach.

Fignetti once talked about how surfing kept him young — and that he was living a life he loved.

“Something about surfing – it’s like the fountain of youth,” he said. “You don’t age if you surf all the time.”

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