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.
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.
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?