Put your money where your walk is

Huntington Beach High School will go head-to-head with five other high schools Friday in Hurley's Walk the Walk competition, and they are playing to win with near-daily practices with the competition just a day away.

Nick Phipps, one of the 25 Huntington Beach High students in the show, has taken his preparations up a notch, watching what he eats and hitting the gym harder. But then, the 17-year-old is opening the performance in a Speedo.

A black-and-orange cheetah-print Speedo.

"I'm kind of nervous," Nick said. "But it's got to happen."

Walk the Walk is a national competition for high school students that ends in a five-minute "Project Runway"-esque competition during the U.S. Open of Surfing with a $25,000 grand prize.

This is the third year Huntington Beach High has competed, and the competition is the hardest so far with added qualifying rounds, said 18-year-old Drea Dinh, a recent graduate. The schools had to qualify through three rounds of online voting based on video challenges, with the school with the most votes in each region moving forward.

Now, it is all down to a final fashion show where the students will show off more than 30 outfits they created from deconstructed Hurley apparel, strut their stuff and, most importantly, put on a show.

The performance aspect was the school's biggest problem last year, Dinh said. They treated the competition as a straight fashion show, but they should have entertained the crowd more with music and dancing, she said.

"It's still a fashion show," said Kristin Comer, 17, one of the co-choreographers. "It's just you're kind of putting on a show as you show off the clothes."

Learning from their mistakes, the students choreographed the show with booty shakes, lifts, flips, guys ripping off their T-shirts and a quick homage to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" music video set to an upbeat mash of music.

The show will tell the story of what teenagers want out of life before they get too old, a kind of young persons' bucket list, through their clothes and performance. The show is broken up into six sections: "I Want to Fall in Love," "I Want to Be Famous," "Just Dance," "I Want to Make the Team," "I Want to Be a Legend" — inspired by hometown hero Brett Simpson, who won the U.S. Open last year — and "Winning the Walk the Walk Competition."

The road to the finals hasn't been easy for the students juggling high school and part-time jobs and trying to coordinate everyone's schedules, but all the stress and frustration won't be for nothing, said Kallie MacKay, 18, a recent graduate.

"In the end, it will all be worth it once we're all walking down the runway," she said.

With the clothes completed, the choreography set and the performance looming, the students are practicing every day to get it down cold. Unable to get into the school gym, the students meet at a nearby park and use painter's tape to mark off the runway.

They line up "backstage" and "bump" the music from one of their cars parked on the street. July 29, the students sat around on a bench before getting started, some talking about how they should be at the beach, but they all stayed to rehearse.

"I think, because it's our third time, we want it that much more," MacKay said. "Considering it's our own backyard, we want to bring it and we want to represent Huntington Beach that much more."

Nolan Biegel, 16, echoed the sentiment. With the competition within walking distance of their high school, they have to protect their territory.

"It's not about the money," Nolan said. "It's about the pride."

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