They don’t call it “Surf City, U.S.A.” for nothing. Huntington Beach is the site of two of professional surfing’s premier events. The U.S. Open, featuring more than 600 participants from around the world, wraps up daily competition Sunday. Beginning Wednesday, the Op Pro returns through Aug. 2. Featuring the Assn. of Surfing Professionals’ top 44 men and 11 women in head-to-head competition, the Op Pro is the world tour’s only mainland stop this year.


U.S. Open of Surfing (July 20-26)

The U.S. Open is a proving ground for surfers trying to break into the world of professional surfing. This year 600 men and women will compete for $150,000 in prize money in surfing, bodyboarding and longboard events. The 5-year-old contest is the third of four stops on a surf tour that’s considered a steppingstone to the World Championship Tour.



Friday, July 24

7 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.: Men’s surfing main, Round 1, heats 1-16

12:20 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Men’s surfing main, Round 2, heats 1-14


Saturday, July 25

7 a.m. to 7:40 a.m.: Men’s surfing main, Round 2, heats 15-16

7:40 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Bodyboard quarterfinals, heats 1-4

9 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.: Wahine quarterfinals, heats 1-4


10:20 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Men’s surfing main, Round 3, heats 1-8

1 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.: Longboard semifinals, heats 1-2

1:40 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.: Wahine semifinals, heats 1-2

2:20 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.: Longboard final


2:50 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.: Wahine final

Sunday, July 26

8 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.: Junior quarterfinals, heats 1-4

9:20 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.: Men’s surfing quarterfinals, heats 1-4


10:40 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.: Junior semifinals, heats 1-2

11:20 a.m. to Noon: Bodyboard semifinals, heats 1-2

Noon to 12:20 p.m.: Air show

12:20 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Men’s surfing semifinals, heats 1-2


1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Bodyboard final

1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Junior final

2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Men’s surfing final

2:30 p.m.: Awards


Op Pro Surfing Championship (July 29-Aug. 2)

The 55 top professional surfers in the world--44 men and 11 women--will compete for a combined purse of $150,600 in this 17-year-old World Championship Tour event. Returning to Huntington Beach after a four-year hiatus in Hawaii, this year’s contest will feature men competing for a $15,000 first-place prize and women competing for a $7,000 top prize.


OP Pro Schedule (July 29-Aug 2)*


Wednesday, July 29

7 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.: Women’s round 1, heats 1-4

8:40 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.: Op Pro surfing round 1, heats 1-16

Thursday, July 30


7 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.: Women’s round 2, heats 1-4

8:40 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.: Op Pro surfing round 2, heats 1-16

Friday, July 31

7 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.: Op Pro surfing round 3, heats 1-8


10:20 a.m. to Noon: Women’s quarterfinals, heats 1-4

Noon to 3:20 p.m.: Op Pro surfing round 3, heats 9-16

Saturday, Aug. 1

9 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.: Op Pro surfing round 4, heats 1-8


12:20 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.: Women’s semifinals, heats 1-2

1:10 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.: Tandem exhibition

1:35 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Expression session (women)

2 p.m. to 2:25 p.m.: Expression session (radical)


2:25 p.m. to 2:55 p.m.: Women’s final

3:15 p.m.: Awards

Sunday, Aug. 2

9 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.: Op Pro surfing quarterfinals, heats 1-4


10:40 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.: Exhibition

11:05 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.: Op Pro surfing semifinals, heats 1-2

11:55 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.: Expression session (innovative)

12:25 p.m. to 12:55 p.m.: Longboard nose-ride exhibition


12:55 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.: Op Pro surfing final

2:15 p.m.: Awards

* Schedule is subject to change.

WCT World Ratings


Current rankings after six of 11 events


(1) Daniel Wills, Australia 4520

(2) Shane Beschen, San Clemente 4092


(3) Mark Occhilupo, Australia 3908

(4) Kelly Slater, United States 3832

(5) Michael Campbell, Australia 3478

(6) Sunny Garcia, United States 3320


(7) Shane Dorian, United States 3212

(8) Cory Lopez, United States 3144

(9) Jake Peterson, Australia 3066

(10) Nathan Webster, Australia 3058



(1) Layne Beachley, Australia 5080

(2) Lynette MacKenzie, Australia 3640

(3) Trudy Todd, Australia 3520


(4) Rochelle Bellard, United States 3280

(5) Serena Brooke, Australia 3240

(6) Neridah Falconer, Australia 2560

(6) Megan Abubo, United States 2560


(8) Lisa Anderson, United States 2520

(9) Pam Burridge, Australia 2400

(10) Prue Jefferies, Australia 2320

Beachbreak Waves


Huntington Beach is a classic California beachbreak, where offshore winds can hollow waves into Hawaiian-like cylinders.

* Waves break on a gently sloping sand or gravel bottom.

* Storm-generated waves rearrange bottom contour, forming banks or bars, which cause the waves to break in either--or both--directions.

* Water pushed shoreward by wave action funnels back to sea at the lowest portion of the beach, forming powerful currents called rips. While dangerous to swimmers, surfers can catch a ride on them back to where the waves are breaking.


Reef Break Waves

Last year’s Op Pro was held at Haleiwa Beach on Oahu’s North Shore, where a lava reef produces consistent right-breaking waves.

* Waves break abruptly over submerged rock or coral formation.

* Reef shape and depth make waves break in a variety of shapes. But submerged obstacle generally produces consistent waves; knowledge of reef’s configuation helps surfers position themselves to catch waves.


Direction of Wave Break

Surfers define waves from the point of view of someone in the water.


Also called a “left hander” breaks from right to left.



Curl moves from left to right.

Hot Maneuvers

CUTBACK: A change in direction, back toward the breaking section of the wave--usually a setup move.


FLOATER: A trip over the top of a breaking wave. The surfer climbs to top of wave, then slides across the tubed section.

HANG FIVE: A ride up on the front end of the surfboard with five toes hanging over the nose tip.

AERIAL: Surfer turn hard off bottom, accelerates up face of wave and blasts into the air, hoping to change direction while airborne.

TUBE RIDE: The tube is formed by the wave face and the lip, which cascades down like a curtain, hiding the surfer inside. Requires excellent timing.


VERTICAL REENTRY: Shooting vertically to the top of the wave, gliding along the lip, then dropping down the face of the wave.

Surf City Here We Come

In addition to some of the best surfing in the world, the OP Pro and G-shock U.S. Open is also a beach festival featuring professional women’s volleyball, live music, lifeguard competitions (including some Baywatch TV stars), a bikini contest and, of course, food.

Sources: The Book of Waves, The Surfin’ary, U.S. Surfing, Times reports; Graphics reporting by PHIL DAVIS and PAUL DUGINSKI / For The Times