The U.S. Bud Tour has pulled into Huntington Beach with a top field of surf competitors, including reigning world champion Derek Ho of Hawaii, former world champ Kelly Slater and the Fab Four.
Rockin' Fig--who announces Bud Tour events, including this one--was beyond stoked.
Can you dig it? World-class talent coming here to Huntington Beach!
Fig said this contest, provided there's a good swell, is the perfect opportunity for Orange County aficionados to see some high-caliber surfing. It rained last year so let's hope nature helps out with some sun and nice, tasty waves.
The contest began Wednesday and runs through Sunday on the northern side of the Santa Ana River jetties. Spectators should enter Huntington State Beach at Brookhurst Street.
I hear we've got the Fab Four--Chris Brown (Santa Barbara) who's currently leading the tour's ratings, current Bud Tour champ Rob Machado, (Cardiff), Shane Beschen (San Clemente) and Taylor Knox (Carlsbad). And, there's Slater and Ho.
The Fig was munching pizza when we talked, and I couldn't calm him down. Lately, he's been bummed because there's been no surf.
Not only that, but it's been freezing--what a bad combo. If it hasn't been gloomy and ugly in the mornings, it's been freezing cold in the water, and lousy two-foot slop. It's bunk.
Fig, who had a chance to talk with Slater after he won the Bud Tour's Santa Cruz contest in February, said Slater is very serious about grabbing a triple--in surf parlance, that means getting a No. 1 ranking in all three major surf categories, the world tour, Bud Tour and the world-qualifying series.
I told ya. He wants to win all three. The guy's back! He's serious!
Yo, Fig, that pizza must've had a topping of adrenaline-soaked mushrooms.
Slater fans remember he took the 1992 world title only to fall off the mantel in 1993 because of injuries and a busy shooting schedule on the television series "Baywatch." But the handsome, 22-year-old Floridian has quit the show and is back in the hunt.
Going for a Walk: Ballots have gone out for candidates to the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame. Similar to Hollywood's star-studded sidewalk, it is the world's first walkway to recognize surfing's pioneers and champions who helped shape the sport. The walk of fame will be launched May 28 with installment of the walkway's logo on a 2-foot by 2-foot granite stone during an 11 a.m. ceremony at Main Street and PCH in front of Jack's Surfboards. So far, only the legendary Duke Kahanamoku is a lock to be honored in the first batch of six to be selected from the nominees, to be determined by surfing insiders.
Award: Chris Strother, a senior at Carlsbad High School and one of California's top-ranked amateur surfers, was named the Old Spice Athlete of the Month for May by Sports Illustrated. Strother, 18, is the National Scholastic Surfing Assn.'s Open men's division champion.
Ball: Invitations to the Surf Industry Manufacturers' Assn.'s (SIMA) fifth annual Waterman's Ball on June 4 were mailed last week. SIMA has raised its fund-raising goal from last year's $75,000 to $100,000, which is donated to three Southern California environmental groups, said SIMA spokesman Mike Kingsbury. Tickets are $100 per person. Fig and I went last year, and it's fun. There's a band, an auction of surfing dream gifts such as trips to Tavarua, surfboards, sessions with the pros and plenty to eat. Donations help the American Oceans Campaign, Orange County Marine Institute and Surfrider Foundation. For information, call SIMA at (714) 760-0784.
Video: San Juan Capistrano councilman and surfer Jeff Vasquez is teaming with Laguna Beach filmmaker Greg MacGillivray to redistribute MacGillivray's "Five Summer Stories" on video. MacGillivray's summer stories, a 1972 documentary, became a classic of the genre. Who did the soundtrack? It was the Laguna Beach-based band Honk, which still gets together for an occasional reunion show. The video is expected this fall.
Contest: Kelly Slater won last weekend's individual surfing championship in 3- to 4-foot waves, at the 16th Katin Team Challenge in one of the toughest groups of finals' competitors assembled this year on the West Coast. Slater was also a member of Team Focus, part of a dream team that won the tag-team title at the same contest. Slater's teammates were Rob Machado of Cardiff, Shane Dorian and Conan Hayes, both of Hawaii. Behind Slater in the individual finishers were Shane Beschen of San Clemente, Machado, and Taylor Knox, of Carlsbad.