Motel No Tell has vacancies

Shaggy-haired tweens in tank tops and board shorts sat in front of white iMacs taking Photo Booth pictures and checking out merchandise online in a motel room lined with surf boards from several decades.

A tanned, long-haired teen sat on a longboard as he flew down the motel's hallway, and a handful of people clad in sunglasses lounged in a side yard decked out with sand, AstroTurf and old-school travel trailers.

Huntington Beach resident Noah Caprio sat in the side yard with his helmet on and his bike on the ground next to him. It was his first trip to the Motel No Tell, but he said he can already see himself spending his whole summer there.

"It's really cool," the 13-year-old said. "I pretty much wish everything was like this in Huntington Beach."

Nike 6.0 has stripped down and revamped a small beach-side motel and transformed it into an action-sports hangout for Huntington Beach residents and the thousands of visitors who will swarm the city Friday for the U.S. Open of Surfing.

"Motel No Tell represents 'expect the unexpected,'" said Jacie Prieto, a Nike spokeswoman. "What you see on the outside isn't what you get on the inside."

While the who's-who of professional surfing prepare, Nike 6.0 is hoping the action-sports faithful will make Motel No Tell their home base. Residents can't actually stay overnight, but they can hang out all day for free and catch a glimpse of the Nike athletes who can stay there.

"You never know when a 6.0 athlete will stay in one of the rooms and just kind of pop out for a surf or to play video games or shoot hoops," said Greg Gorski, Nike 6.0 brand manager.

The action-sports apparel brand took over the Huntington Surf Inn at Pacific Coast Highway and Eighth Street for the U.S. Open. The rechristened motel opened July 6 on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule through Sept. 6 with events and workshops. Nike 6.0 started Motel No Tell in San Clemente last year and decided to bring it to Huntington for the U.S. Open.

The motel was redesigned by Antonio Ballatore, host of the HGTV show "The Antonio Treatment," who created themed rooms, including a room for Nike 6.0 athlete Kolohe Andino, of San Clemente, to reflect the surfer's personality with a mural of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and David Bowie, purple carpet and a collage of surf shots from those he idolized growing up.

Each room has its own theme from a vintage pinball machine room to the women's team room, which honors the athletes' love for the beach and the environment. There is also a room with a drum set and amps for people who want to jam with their band or with video game "Rock Band."

Bands can stream their performance onto

The music room has a black ceiling and is covered with graffiti and band posters — many from Ballatore's days in a punk band. The room is meant to feel like his version of CBGB, a legendary club he knows too well from his days in New York, he said.

Ballatore used his punk rock background to interpret the surf and action-sport culture of the motel, he said. While he's not an action-sports enthusiast, his band days got him involved with events like the X Games.

He was also inspired during his time in Huntington, a regular hangout for him and his Olde English Bulldogge, Chewie.

While working on the motel, Ballatore got to know several of the area's old-school surfers, the kind who drive Woodies and ride longboards. They even donated a giant Marlin and a neon paint-splattered tiki statue that decorate the side yard.

There will be workshops and movie screenings, and residents can personalize Nike 6.0 products, the only pay-to-play activity, in the customization lab.

"The whole purpose is to create an authentic way to connect with our consumers," Prieto said.

If You Go

What: Motel No Tell

Where: 720 Pacific Coast Hwy.

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, starting Thursday


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