Breaking Surf: Boardroom out of U.S. Open of Surfing

The highly anticipated surfing industry trade show the Boardroom got the boot before its massive footprint even hit the beach, according to a news release.

The consumer surfing forum put on by GLM will move from the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach this summer to the O.C. Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa on Oct. 5 and 6, the release said.

"We made this decision reluctantly, given our respect for both Huntington Beach and the U.S. Open of Surfing," GLM founder and show director Scott Bass said in a statement.

GLM Chief Executive Charles McCurdy attributed the split with IMG Worldwide, which owns the U.S. Open, as an inability to filter, regulate and control attendance through charging admission to GLM's events. Admission would ensure integrity at a venue where 700,000 showed up for the 2012 U.S. Open.

"This was a game changer for our industry," IMG Senior Vice President James Leitz said. "Unfortunately, like some big ideas, things just didn't work out."

Vans, the new sponsor for the U.S. Open, is committed to hosting for the next three years.


'Rockin' Fig' gets recognized, again

It started out with the usual epic surf session on the northside of the Huntington Beach Pier and turned into a legendary day for Rick "Rockin' Fig" Fignetti.

April 23 was another perfect Southern California spring day. Fig was feeling good after his usual protein shake (he swears by 'em) and acai bowl. According to other local surfers in the lineup, he certainly wasn't surfing like someone in his 50s — more like a teenager.

Fig was setting up his wares on Main Street for Surf City Nights when the son of Aaron Pai, Huntington Surf and Sport's Surfer's Hall of Fame founder, walked up and presented Fig with an envelope. Thinking it was his official invite to host the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, like he has done numerous times before, he really didn't look too closely at the letter. But when he finally did, well, that's when that good day became an insanely good day.

It took a few minutes to sink in, but there it was — Fig was to be inducted into the Surfer's Hall of Fame as a Local Legend. What an honor, and it couldn't happen to a better guy.

Fig will join the elite few who have been recognized for their achievements in both the Surfing Walk of Fame and the Surfer's Hall of Fame. Some former inductees include local legend Corky Carroll; Seal Beach native and Captain Jack's founder, Jack Haley; filmmaker Bruce Brown; "Endless Summer" star Robert August; and former world champ P.T. Townend.

Fignetti is set to put his hands in wet cement at 10 a.m. July 26.

He was honored in Jack's Surf Shop's Surfing Walk of Fame in 2010 as a Local Hero. You can see his star in front of Jack's. He always jokes around when asked about that slab of marble with his name on it, playing it down and being humble.

"I still think somebody made a mistake counting ballots that year, and I'm waiting for it to be chiseled up and replaced," he said.

Last year he won three West Coast men's titles: two in separate divisions for the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. and the third for the Western Surfing Assn.

If the name "Rockin' Fig" sounds familiar, it's probably because you've heard him announcing the U.S. Open of Surfing for 20 years. Or quite possibly you followed him on KROQ as the registered "Surfologist" up at dawn's crack to bring you the local surf report.

Or, could it be you bought your first stick at Rockin' Fig's Surf Headquarters when you were just a little grom?

Congratulations local legend and hero Rockin' Fig. Your fans salute you for your contribution to the surfing industry as a role model for the young and a legend for the community.

ANDREA HANST is an affiliate of the Surfrider Foundation of Huntington Beach and Seal Beach. Hanst  contributes to the HB Independent occasionally on local surf issues.

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