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U.S. Open of Surfing starts Saturday

July 30, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Huntington Beach is bracing for hundreds of thousands of people arriving to watch what organizers are calling the "Super Bowl of action sports."The U.S. Open of Surfing gets underway Saturday in "Surf City U.S.A.," Huntington Beach.

Officials say most if not all hotels in the area are already booked up for the next several days because of the U.S. Open of Surfing.

It's a time of year Zack's, a popular beachside business, looks forward to, when half-a-million people arrive in Huntington Beach for the U.S. Open of Surfing.

"Provided they bring money to the beach, they'll bring money to spend," said Mike Ali, owner of Zack's. "We look to gain about 20 to 30 percent."

The weeklong event draws some of the best surfers around for the largest surfing competition in the world, with more than $350,000 in prize money.

Work continues to get booths ready. The U.S. Open not just about surfing but behind the stadium seats to watch surfers, a small city has sprung up on the sand ..50 vendors?offering everything from fashion to energy drinks.

"This really is a true kind of collective that showcases art, music, fashion and action sports," said Jennifer Lau, IMG. "So this is the Super Bowl of action sports."

From the Converse Coastal Carnage with the super mini-bowl for skateboarders, to BMX riding, with top athletes competing for a $100,000 purse.

Free music concerts on the sand start next Tuesday.

"It seems like every year it gets a little bigger and bigger, said Huntington Beach resident Gina Bonner.

"It's really grown to be just a pure representation of what it is to live here in California," said Lau.

Parking is expected to be a nightmare starting Saturday, so officials advise bringing patience. There will be shuttle service at City Hall running every 15 to 20 minutes.


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