Sounding Off: Glory rides high in U.S. Open of Surfing

Hard to imagine that anyone living in Huntington Beach, or anywhere in Orange County for that matter, could not fall victim to the seduction of the 2010 US Open of Surfing, which officially started on July 31 and runs through Sunday. There is a definitive sense of optimism and excitement in the air as surfing royalty from around the world arrive in Surf City to participate and compete in this massive sporting event.

Hurley Inc. reigns supreme with towering and breathtaking structures dominating the southside of the city pier and laying claim to the entire venue, with due respect to Nike.6.0, a corporate partner and sponsor as well. In addition to the virtual retail village on the sand, Nike 6.0 has a revamped added attraction in their No Tell Motel.

Primed to accommodate the younger demographic of aspiring professional surfers, this super-hip place to hang out, listen to and play music, is open to the public daily. It offers a glimpse into a unique culture reflective of the "US Open" and the athletes themselves, many of whom are responsible for making this sport so epic and intoxicating to watch.

The spectacular "Shorebreak Hotel" stands to accommodate the legends of surfing and has earned the honor as a gorgeous jewel in the crown. This is where, on any given day during competition, you might see the celebrity status surfers strolling through the lobby or sipping a cocktail at "Zimzala," the hotel's chic and sexy restaurant and bar.

Take a seat outside on the outdoor patio and enjoy a bird's eye view of the entire venue across the street. You never know who could be sitting next to you! Quite possibly Shaun Tomson, Rob Machado, Pete Townsend or Andy Irons, to name just a few of the icons hanging out there. If you decide to venture in, make sure to say hello to John Smittle, manager and master sommelier, whose infinite knowledge of wine and exotic food helped shape the fabulous menu and moderately priced wine list!

There are so many things to see and do at the US Open this year. Just one day is probably not enough to satisfy. But remember the reason for this epic event and watch some of the men and women as they fiercely compete in this glorious sport called surfing.

ANDREA ROBERSON is a longtime Huntington Beach resident who lives there with her son, a local surfer.

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