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Things seem to be getting back to normal

August 15, 2002

WET AND WILD WITH ROCKIN' FIG

Things are getting back to normal as the surf event of the season

rolled up and out of town. It still has been pretty packed on the

sands and in the water though, as summer's still going big time.

Surfing has been gaining more and more popularity, as all shapes and

sizes, young to old, male and female, have been flocking to one of

the coolest spots around. I've been seeing a lot of shoppers looking

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for boards nowadays. With the opening of the new movie "Blue Crush"

this week -- about a couple gals who turned into pro surfers in

Hawaii -- it's even going to go more mainstream. As the movie will

give people across the nation a view into waves and surfing and what

they're missing.

A few lucky members of the Huntington Beach High School Surf Team

-- Brad Ettinger, last year's team captain; wonder kid, Brett

Simpson; ripper, Chris Waring; Bryan "Rhino" Paullins; up-and-coming

Matt Taylor and coaches Andy Verdone and Barry Deffenbaugh -- have

gone on another surfing safari, this time to South Africa. They're

heading to Durban, where one of the longest running pro events was

held, the Gunston 500. They're also going to various spots like Cave

Rock, Seal Point and Jeffreys Bay -- that killer super long right.

It's kind of an exchange program, with the team staying with some

locals there. South Africa just won the world amateur titles

recently, and have shown they have some of the hottest up and coming

talent. They plan on surfing with Warwick Wright and Ricky Basnett

who placed one and two in the juniors division, which is high school

age. They've also planned some photo sessions to document the trip of

a lifetime. The only thing they have to worry about is the sharks.

They have al lot of those things over there and there are a few

attacks every year.

The United States Surfing Federation held its first event of the

season last weekend down at San Onofre at Trail One. Nice conditions

were to be found. They ran the Coastal Gran Prix series first, Surf

City transplant from Japan Tayachi Maruyama won the open mens and Jay

Boldt took fourth in the Longboarding.

In the Championship tour event, in seniors Jeff Combs made a good

run at it with a solid left, three-maneuver wave half way through the

final, ending up third overall. He pulled a second in the expression

session, too. James Webb came in equal fifth with a tough loss in the

semis. In the grandmasters, Pat Schlick, who's been on a roll after a

win at the U.S. Championships a couple weeks ago, won again with some

nice moves. While yours truly, the Figster, placed second at San

Onofre and a third place finish at Oceanside, in the U.S. Some other

winners at the U.S. Championships were East-Coaster Shane Upchurch in

juniors, Justin McBride from San Diego in mens, Brad Chang from

Hawaii in Masters and Mike Gillard of Imperial Beach in seniors.

Congrats, that's it for now, see ya.

* RICK FIGNETTI is a six-time West Coast champion, has announced

the U.S. Open of Surfing the last eight years and has been the

KROQ-FM (106.7) surfologist for the last 15 years where he's done

morning surf reports. He owns a surf shop on Main Street. You can

reach him at (714) 536-1058.

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