Olympics or Surfing?

17 days
 

10,500 athletes
 

2,300 medals
 

Innumerable cheers, jeers and tears.
 

What a feat!
 

But did any of you happen to catch the Surfing event? What? You didn’t watch the surfing competition? Well, it was slightly dwarfed in comparision to the Olympics, I’ll give you that. Yet, while most of you were glued to your TV monitors watching the 2012 Summer Olympic games, in my home, we watched surfing. That’s right, the “Nike U.S. Open of Surfing.”
 

 
Yep, this is the same guy I caught playing in my backyard a couple of months ago and now he’s back in a big way. Only this time, he’s brought along quite a number of his friends from all over the world.
 

It’s been said that the Nike U.S. Open is the “Superbowl of Surfing. It is the epicenter of the surfing world. It doesn’t get any better than this. It is the best of the best. And let me tell you there is a huge difference when watching an amateur surfer verses a pro. Hands down, there’s no comparison.
 

But why does it all happen here? What makes this area of the Pacific Coastline so special?

Where is here you might ask? Oh silly me, that’s right. I didn’t tell you.
 

Well, besides deriving its name from an old Beach Boy song, this city is identified with the sport of surfing and is known as the “Surfing Capital of the World.”
 

Surf City lies across an eight and a half mile stretch of wide open sand along the southern California coastline otherwise known as Huntington Beach. Throughout the world, “HB” is synonymous with world class surfing. Yet, at one time, this area was recognized more for its oil and agriculture than for the sport of surfing.
 

You see, Huntington Beach is situated at a unique location. No other beach in the world can boast its dependability of surf. It seems there’s an ocean current that provides the ultimate in surfing with waves that are unparalleled; influenced naturally by a diffraction of ocean swells via the island of Catalina off its shore twenty some miles away. And if there is a hurricane off in the distance, all the better.
 

Cowabunga!
 

I could get all techie here, but I have a feeling I’d lose some of you! So let’s just say this is what helped to put Huntington Beach on the “World Map of Surfing.”
 

But here’s the thing. Even though Huntington Beach is known for its consistency of surf, the worst part of the year for surfing is in the summer. Are you thinking, what I’m thinking? Why on earth would they hold one of the biggest surfing competitions in the world when the surf is not at its best?
 

Kelly Slater, 40, an eleven time world champion surfer admits that at “this time of year, we only get south swells. You need a combo swell with some west in it or some north in it to kind of make the waves a little peakier and more surfable.”
 

Oh, that’s just gnarly dude. That makes perfect sense. We get it, right?

See, I told you there was a little techie something to this.
 

Apparently, the big whoop-de-do about holding the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing in the summer is due to the fan element. The Nike Open attracts quite a swell, of people that is. Hundreds of thousands descend upon the beach just south of the “HB” pier.
 

Oh, so it’s about the money. Noo, I find that hard to believe.
 

What still doesn’t make sense to me. And maybe it’s just me. But after all these years, I thought we’ve come further than this. That is, the huge spread in the purse between the Men and Women Champions. While the first place winner in the finals earned $100,000.00 for the men, the women’s first place winner only received $15,000.00.
 

Say what?

 

In my research for this post, it looks like there are likely two reasons that might shed some light on this. One, the age span for professional male surfers may reach middle age, while most women stop competing in their early to mid twenties. It seems the womb has something to do with this. And two, men draw more crowds than women surfers.
 

That’s kinda sad. I think we need more women surfers, don’t you?
 

Yet, whether you were watching the Olympics or Surfing, no matter what type of athlete or reward, there is a certain enjoyment that is derived from competitive sports. We respect and admire these talented men and women for all their years of hard training and devotion—for they give it their all!
 

Here’s a little taste of what you may have missed…
 

 
 
So what do you think? Did you watch the Summer Olympics? What was your favorite event or athlete? Do you enjoy the beach or watch the surfers as they ride the waves? Have you ever attended the Olympics or other sporting events?
 
 
 

40 thoughts on “Olympics or Surfing?

  1. Lynn Kelley

    Hello Karen! I’ve wanted to read your post since it first came out but haven’t read any blogs for over a week. The CreateSpace cave demanded way too much time and left my brain too fried to read blogs, Twitter comments, FB comments, and even emails were tough to get to! It’s coming together and I got the file accepted by CS and received the first proof yesterday! I’ve already read through it and made revisions and need to go over it again and again. I’ll do that on the plane trip to Pittsburgh this week. Am going to a family reunion and I haven’t been there for 29 years. I won’t have any access to internet, so I need to catch up with as many of you as possible before I leave in a few days.

    This is a GREAT post, Karen! Fun and informative and that video rocks! As you know, HB is the setting of my YA novel, so I ate it all up. My MC falls for a surfer hunk. Takes place in ’71, though. Did you live there then?

    I hardly got to watch any of the Olympics and I was really looking forward to them, but figuring out CS and adding the Word doc into their template trumped the Olympics. I did get to watch a little bit of the women’s beach volleyball with Punkin sitting next to me on the couch. Wow, I really got into it. Punkin got a kick out of watching me cheer and clap!

    My favorite sport is gymnastics. Those kids are phenomenal! Actually, so are all the Olympic athletes. I love the swimming and diving, too, and track and field. I’m hoping there are lots of YouTube videos now with clips of the best highlights so I can catch up with what I missed, but not anytime soon. Still plugging away on getting the book ready. I need to get the eBook version done and the cover designer can’t get to my cover for another four weeks. My launch date is Oct. 10th. Talk about cutting it close, huh?

    I hope you’re feeling much better, Karen. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and send prayers your way. Take care.
    Lynn Kelley recently posted..Yikes! Will I Get My Book Launched?My Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Lynn! I can’t believe you made it by with all that you’ve been doing with your book and getting ready for a big trip. Thank you so much! I so hope that you have a awesome time. And yes, I did live in HB in ’71. I’m sure your YA novel rocks! I am glad that you saw a little bit of the Olympics with Pumkin. That’s so special Lynn. It seems that gymnastics is the favored game among those who have commented on my post. So you’re in good company. And thanks so much for all your thoughts and prayers Lynn and for your support! We’ll talk when you get back. Have fun! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Nigel, how are you? Yes, it is shameful that women surfers earn so much less than their counterparts, aka, the men. Well I would have to say that boogie boarding is close, but not quite surfing! LOL! But in Devon? Burrrrr! Cold indeed! No, I don’t think that Devon would qualify as a surfing capital at all. Cheers Nigel and thanks so much for coming by and for your support! Have a great weekend! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Fabio Bueno

    First of all: welcome back, Karen! We missed you!
    2,300 medals? How come I didn’t get one? I surely deserve it 🙂
    I love watching sports, and I’ve attended a couple of minor surfing competitions. I liked them, but the fact that they’re held at beaches during sunny days certainly helped.
    Oh, and I’ve surfed a bit. Can’t skateboard to save my life, but surfing is easy and much less painful 🙂
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Fabio! So great to see you! How are you? You’ve got to be so busy with a book ready to be released! You are going to have a blast and everyone is ready to support you! Can’t wait! I personally think that you deserve a gold medal my friend! I didn’t know that you were a secret surfer! Good to know! Cowabunga dude! Surfs up! Take care Fabio and thanks for coming by to support me! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Beverly J. Crawford

    Hi, Karen! Loved your blog about Surf City! I always look forward to watching the Olympics, especially the swimming, diving, gymnastics and track & field, so I had a very enjoyable two weeks in front of the tube. I also love to watch surfing, even though I haven’t seen too much of it. In my new YA, the main character spends the summer in CA and learns to surf in Malibu, so I had to do a little research on it myself. Hope I did okay!
    Beverly J. Crawford recently posted..Southern Summer Road Trips: Part 1 – GeorgiaMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Beverly! How nice to meet you! I’m so glad you liked my post! I think it is so cool that you included surfing in Malibu in your new YA book! I’m sure you did a great job! I look forward to reading it. Thanks for stopping by today and introducing yourself. As you can see, we have a great time around here and you are always welcome to join us, or come hang out on #mywana on Twitter too! Hope to see you soon! Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      You, Jenny Hansen, a FANATIC? I can’t imagine such a thing. LOL! Have you and hubby ever attended the “U.S. Open” in HB? It can get a little crazy, but for the amount of people, its really calm. And its still free which is amazing. And yes, there is serious suckitude in regards to the pay the female winner receives at the competition. That would be why I mentioned it. I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it last year in attendance. And then I saw it again in writing. Holy Cowbell as you would say over in your neck of the woods! So not fair! I think we should start a movement. Burn bikinis or surfboards, or something. Hey, it worked in the sixties. Thanks Jenny for coming by to support me! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Lena Corazon

    Karen, I’m so happy to see that you’re back and blogging again! I have to admit that I didn’t watch anything Olympics-related except for the opening and closing ceremonies. But surfing looks like it would be a blast to watch!

    In addition to HB, I’d have to add that the Half Moon Bay area (near I grew up, just south of San Francisco) is also known for its crazy surf. The Mavericks contest happens in late winter/early spring, and is apparently an incredibly dangerous (but exhilarating?) competition for elite surfers. I just heard that there’s a documentary coming out about it, partly filmed in my hometown of Pacifica, and I’m really excited to watch it. 😀
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hey there Lena! How are you girl? I do hope your move went well. How is San Francisco? And the parents? Interesting that you brought up Half Moon Bay. There was quite the stir between Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach over the rights to call themselves “Surf City”. And a legal battle did ensue. Well I guess we know who won that fight. But I do know there is a surfing competition held every year in your area. Although I would think that the water might be a little colder up there. But still, it’s great fun to watch them surf. Have fun Lena and thanks so much for coming by to see me! 🙂

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  5. Alicia Street

    Welcome back, Karen! I love the Olympics. As a kid I did gymnastics seriously, so that’s my favorite to watch. But I’ve also been enraptured by films of surfers. Seeing them dance on surges of blue water is just so awe inspiring! How great that you’ve got the real thing live right outside your door!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Alicia! As a dancer, it makes so much sense that you would have the natural abitlity to participate in gymnastics. I would think that you were quite good at it and graceful too. If you like to watch films about surfing, you would probably love watching “Blue Crush”. And perhaps you already saw it. But hubby and I only live within a mile of the ocean, so we are so fortunate to enjoy the peaceful and serene ambiance of the area. And we also love to watch the surfers from the pier. But watching the pros is a great experience. They get more out of a wave than anyone I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much for stopping by to say hello Alicia. Please, as always give my best to Roy. I hope you both are alive and kicking and doing well in that big city of yours. 🙂

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  6. Louise Behiel

    welcome back. I watched more Olympics this year than ever before but after a few days I got tired of it. so i watched the sound bite moments on Canadian TV and ignored the rest. I was fascinated when the winter olympics were in Calgary but summer??? not so much. I find it’s just too long and too daunting. but obviously that’s just me.

    thanks for this look into another sport.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Louise! How are you? I hope that you’ve caught up on that much needed rest. I so understand. Isn’t it funny how you can get sucked into watching the games. And before you know it hours have flown by. LOL! But thanks for keeping an open mind about the sport of surfing. It’s really exciting to watch the surfers ride the waves. What a challenge. They are really quite talented. Thanks you so much for stopping by and for all your support Louise! 🙂

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  7. Kristy K. James

    Hi, Karen…nice to see you’re back! I’m afraid I don’t watch surfing, the Olympics (except a few winter events…usually involving ice skating), or any other sports. I don’t actually watch much of anything, but I do keep up a little via blogs like this one, news articles…and my daughter, who practically glued her nose to the television so as not to miss a single Michael Phelps swim (she did miss one at 10 a.m…but only because she stayed up until SIX a.m. watching him).

    I have to say that I’m a little disgusted by the 1st prize given to female surfers. Wow. Can we say… discrimination?
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    1. Karen Post author

      Nice to be back Kristy! I can understand where you’re coming from girl. I do not watch much TV either. But I think most people here in the US were a little irritated that NBC made the decision to telecast the games into the late evening. It made it really hard for some people ot watch them unless they had a DVR. I’m sorry your daughter missed some of the swimming event. Michael Phelps is an amazing swimmer. As I told someone else before, there was someone I went to high school with that participated in the swimming event, she actually brought home a gold medal from the Olympics. That was very cool. And thank you very much for your thoughts on the pay-out for 1st prize female surfers. I can’t agree more with you. I thought it was a lame excuse using “the womb” as a reason why females don’t receive a bigger purse. What is that all about? Very sad Kristy. So not fair. I so want to see that change A.S.A.P. if you know what I mean. Thanks as always for coming by and leaving a comment. 🙂

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Sheila! It’s great to be back! Now see, it’s that inner Gidget thing we girls have Sheila! You’ve made the third “Surfer Girl” today on my blog! I think you’d make a wonderful surfer! And as you know, we need more women surfers. So go for it! Oh, that’s right. That’s Nike’s slogan. LOL! Get it? The Nike U.S. Open of Surfing. Just excuse me Sheila. I’m getting giddy here. You take care and have a great week. And thanks so much for stopping by to see me! I really appreciate your support! 🙂

      Reply
  8. Shannon Esposito

    Welcome back, Karen!! I grew up in Fl, so yes, I’ve tried surfing. Unfortunately, I just sucked at it and gave up. I blame being goofy-footed 🙂 BUT, I did get to meet Kelly Slater back in 1986. I was at a beach modeling shoot at Merrit Island and he was surfing there. The photographer knew him and introduced us. I have to say, he’s still as hot today as he was back then!

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Shannon! Say what? You met Kelly Slater? How cool was that? And you were a model? Why am I not surprised about that? We have another “Surfer Girl” here on my blog! Love it! Pat O’dea has got us thinking about old Beach Boy songs Shannon. LOL! I can’t get them out of my head now. Thanks Pat! Anyway, so glad you shared that experience with us. And thank you so much for stopping by and for your support girl! Have a great week! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Lynette M. Burrows

    I am an Olympics addict. I watch everything I can summer and winter. I caught a bit of the equestrian events, the swimming and diving, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, beach volleyball, and . . . well, you get the idea. I cry, I cheer, I am inspired. I’d known about the surfing, I’d have watched it too.

    It’s great to see you back, Karen!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Lynette! I’ll say you are an Olympics addict! LOL! I don’t think you missed much, did you? But if you think in terms of every four years and you average your time spent watching an Olympic game, I don’t think that makes you an addict Lynette. But I’m sorry you missed the surfing. I have a feeling that you would have watched it. Thanks Lynette for coming by to see me. I missed you and everyone! Take care! 🙂

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  10. Julia

    Hi Karen,
    Cool video. We have an in-lawish relative (husband’s widowed step-mother’s grandson) who is into big waves coast and teaches surfing in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Brrr. Wonder if he made the HB event? I’ll have to check. Big track fans at my house (Olympic trials were here in June), and swimming fans. We not only watched people swimming up and down the pool, but re-watched some of the recorded races in slo mo to check out technique. (See, look at the glide, how the elbow lifts Zzzz…) I fast forward to gymnastics when the macho half is out of the house. Your surfing event looked much more fun.

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Julia! How are you? Glad you enjoyed the video! It was quite exciting around here. Ha, you got my on the “in-lawish” thing girl! Ooh, surfing in Cannon Beach?. It’s cold Julia! Let me know if he made it. And I can see that you and your hubby are Olympic aficionados. But may I just say that I loved the surfing the best. Thanks so much for coming by to see me Julia and for all your support! Take care! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hey August! I hear ya. If you let it, the Olympics can really suck you in and take over your life. LOL! I too tried to keep up with the recaps and watched some of it with the hubby. But it was also on so late in the evening. I hope some day that you might come and visit the “hood” and check out the surfing for yourself. It’s quite interesting to watch. And the surfers aren’t that bad to look at either, as you might have noticed. Thanks for stopping by today. I really appreciated your support. 🙂

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  11. Rachel

    Hi Karen, good to see that you are back. But, ahem. I beg to differ, but I live in HAWAII… where surfing was INVENTED. And I must say, this is the first I’ve ever heard of the Nike event, but then I couldn’t name all the big surfing events we have out here, either. But I will be attending Duke’s Oceanfest, it is a festival of all things beachy and surfy. As for the Olympics…. I always get teary-eyed at both the winners and the losers. Thanks for a great post.
    Rachel recently posted..Where I Write: The Pacific ClubMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Now Rachel, I know, I know, I know, I will not argue with you about Hawaii. Afterall, you do have “the Pipe”! Wahoo!!! But the Nike U.S. Open (previously sponsored by Ocean Pacific) is a huge event here. It’s been held here, well, ever since there’s been a U.S. Open of Surfing. All the big surfing champions are here. And by the way, there’s a “Duke’s” restaurant at the “HB” pier. LOL! That Duke guy really got around, didn’t he? Thanks for coming by Rachel and for all your support! Have fun at the Oceanfest! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Natalie! Thank you so much for your support today, well you are always a support! But truly, thank you for sharing my post on Facebook. That was really cool of you. And I can totally see surfing as part of the Olympics, can’t you? I can also see you up on the crest of the wave on your “Pink” surfboard riding a wave! It’s so you! Thanks Natalie and have a great week! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Coleen! So glad to see you? And I’m happy to be back! What is it about Gymnastics? The way they swing about from the parallel bars and their routine on the mat. They are amazing to watch. And of course the swimming is always exciting. When I was in high school, we won’t mention when that was, but we had an Olympian at our school. That was pretty cool. And of course, there’s always surfing. Why is it not a part of the Olympics is what I want to know. Anyway, thanks for stopping by Coleen and for your thoughtfulness and support! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Tameri Etherton

    I love the Olympics ~ winter or summer, I watch as much as I can. I can’t believe I’ve never been to HB for the surfing championships. I take my dogs there on occasion (awesome dog beach!), but I need to head up for the surfing one of these years. Seeing that pier so close to where they surf freaks me out. Once, when I was young and stupid, we tried to ‘shoot the pier’ and, well we didn’t make it. Ouch! No major injuries, just my pride.

    The video was great. Kelly Slater is such an awesome guy, so is Tony Hawk. Not just because he’s from my hometown, because he gives so much back to the community AND he was the only one I saw wearing a helmet. Those skaters are crazy.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Tameri! Don’t you love that Doggie beach? Do you know that the upkeep on that beach costs $150,000.00 a year? I know. I thought it was crazy when I heard that figure too. Ouch, Tameri. You tried to “shoot the pier”? You little “Surfer Girl” you! Hey, Pat has me coming up with all these Beach Boy songs in my head now. LOL! So glad you enjoyed the video. I went to the event last year when my hubby could still get around a little bit. What a crowd, but it’s free and exciting and so much fun. And yes those skaters are crazy. I don’t know how they do it without a helmet. So happy to hear there is a sane skater in the bunch and he’s civic minded. That’s cool. Thanks Tameri for coming by and for your support! Have a great week! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Every four years, I say I won’t watch the Olympics, and every four years, I watch, cheer, and get teary-eyed-and all across political and georgraphical boundaries. What a spectacle! That said, I wish I’d seen a bit of the Nike U.S. Open. Hey, Karen, now you’ve got me humming Beach Boys’ songs.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Hey there Pat! Boy, do I ever like that new gravatar girl! And I am so like you. Every time the Olympics roll around, I say the same thing and they suck me in. LOL! Sorry you missed the Nike Open Pat, but we alll can’t be California Girls. Great to see you and thanks for coming by! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Jennette Marie Powell

    Going to the occasional MLB baseball or NFL game is about the extent of my sporting event attendance. My favorite summer Olympic sport to watch is probably gymnastics. But I like the winter games better – and one of the best events is snowboarding! Surfing looks much more interesting to watch than people swimming up and down the pool – I wonder why it’s not part of the Olympics. Maybe the need for the right beach and great waves would limit the choices for host cities too much.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Oh wow Jennette, look at you girl. You should get a prize for the first one here! One could only wish, eh? But how sweet of you. Thank you so much! How did I know our Camaro girl is a MLB and NFL fan? Yes, watching surfing is so much fun. It’s quite a challenge and takes some talent. It would be cool to see it at the Olympics. Perhaps Brazil. I do believe the next Olympic summer games will be held at a city along the ocean. Hmm? 🙂

      Reply

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