Kelly Slater has paid tribute to Merewether's four-time world surfing champion Mark Richards as a "good guy" and a "humble champion" after presenting him with the Midget Farrelly Lifetime Achievement Award.
Slater, the 11-time world champion, was on hand at Manly Beach on Wednesday to honour Richards.
"When I was 10 years old, I met Mark Richards in Florida ... at a trade show in the winter time and I got his autograph and I'll probably try to do it again today," Slater said.
"I'm so honoured to be a part of this and so humbled by it.
"Mark has been such an influence on me, personally more than anything, because he's just such a good guy. He's just such a nice person and such a humble champion.
"I feel really honoured to call him a friend and have an opportunity to come up here and speak some words about him. I feel I can't really do him justice."
Richards was "very honoured and very flattered" to receive the award, named after the first world surfing champion, who died in 2016.
"It was very, very special to receive this award in Midget's name and especially to receive it here during the Vissla Pro at the beach were Midget won his first world title in 1964," Richards said.
Meanwhile, Merewether's Jackson Baker progressed to round three at Manly in the 6000-point qualifying series contest, the Sydney Surf Pro.
Baker led the four-man heat until the final minute with a score of 11.13 (6.13 and 5). Chile's Manuel Selman struck late to win with 11.97 but Baker was ahead of Cooper Chapman (10.03) and Caio Ibelli (6.07).
He faces Cole Houshmand, Vasco Ribeiro and Hiroto Ohhara in round three.