US Open of Surfing Now in its Peak, No Turning Back
Day 6 of the US Open of Surfing and Beach Games 2011 was just as you’d expect. Crowds, crowds, and more crowds. From spray-on tattoos, to vendors with hula hoops, the beach festival atmosphere at the annual Huntington Beach surfing event culminates on the last few days. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the most intense–with Saturday becoming one big traffic jam for those who don’t get parked early (around 8 -10 a.m.)
On Day 6 the Hole in the Wall Hang, Dick Dale and Gidget all earned their plaques on the Surfing Walk of Fame next to Jack’s Surfboards. Standing room crowds swelled into nearby Main Street to watch. One mishap or accident happened when Local Hero recipient, Bill Fury, fell over in his chair and the Fire Chief helped him as his glass trophy broke. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt too badly. He hopped right up and the show continued on with the Mayor and others saying some words about surfing and winning.
In the afternoon the Sounds band from Europe echoed all the way from the beach to PCH. I was driving in my car and it “sounded” like they were singing their hit, “Something to Die For.” The traffic actually moved quite well going southbound past the Hilton and Hyatt hotels, and many U.S. Open attendees were over at Burger King at the Newland Center, riding their skateboards in the parking lot and ordering food and drinks.
Along the way, the traffic patrol was having a field day giving out tickets. They could hardly keep up with all the expired meters along Beach Blvd.
In the evening the big screen was set up on the street at The Strand on 5th for some surfing movie premier. Gone but not forgotten were the surfing movie couple, Leslie and Carlos, of Big Red Productions, who once brought surfing films to HB on a monthly basis, till their sponsorships and costs of doing business got in the way of raising a family. The premier was held in a fitting place, especially because there used to be a surfing movie theater right nearby that was demolished over a decade before.
The annual U.S. Open of Surfing is a free event held in Huntington Beach next to the Huntington Beach Pier through Aug. 7, 2011.