A surfin' safari at 'event brothel U.S.A.'

I wonder what criteria your editorial writer used to say, "Huntington Beach is the real Surf City USA, of course" ["A Legislature with too much time," Opinion, Aug. 22]. I assume you meant in a legal sense, because if you're referring to the act of riding a wave on a surfboard you couldn't be more wrong.

Huntington Beach is a sand bottom beach break requiring a mix of swells from both the south and the west to create a well formed "peak." If there is no mix of swell the wave "closes out" and makes it difficult to even get a couple good turns in. Santa Cruz, on the other hand, is a series of point breaks, reefs and river mouths. Point breaks that hold perfect shape for a hundred yards. You can ride a wave for more than a minute. In Huntington Beach when the waves are big the expert and beginner surfers share the same area, creating a danger. Think of yourself in your car on the track with NASCAR drivers. In Santa Cruz the experts can surf the reefs and the outside of point breaks where the waves are more challenging and the beginners can surf inside where the waves are smaller and tamer.

It would be nice if we could ask the top 100 contest surfers in the world if they would rather surf the U.S. Open contest in Huntington Beach or the Coldwater Classic at Steamer's Lane. You'd be ashamed of the results. Just a few years ago there were two huge contests at the pier, the U.S. Open and the World Championship Tour (including the top 44 in the world) back to back (one week each). The WCT has moved to Lower Trestles in San Clemente. This year the X games moved to mainland Mexico because of poor surf in Huntington the last two years.

In an honest world Huntington Beach would be called "event city." Last weekend we had soccer on the beach, the week before, the Association of Vollyball Professionals played. The three weeks before that consisted of a week to build the stadium for the beach games, a week long "event" with motocross, BMX, skateboarding and the U.S. Open Surf contest, but there was no surf! Then a week to tear down the stadium. The week before the games we had beach rugby. And let's not forget the paintball on the beach, two marathons per year, the farmers market and the occasional vintage car shows on Main Street.

If Santa Cruz is just the "home of latter-day hippies," then Huntington Beach is just an "event brothel." The only thing we won't see on the beach is the Ringling Bros. Circus because the only animals we allow in our town are the pierced, tattooed and untamed species.

Sunday, September 4, 2005 Reprint from Orange County Register No attribution