It has been billed as the place to be, worldwide, for action sports enthusiasts. Year in and year out, it hasn't failed to live up to that claim.
The Nike U.S. Open of Surfing launches nine days of continuous action Saturday at the Huntington Beach Pier. Many of the world's top surfers and action sports athletes are in Surf City for an event that last year drew record crowds to the pier, plus a record more than 3.6 million webcast viewers.
This year, the Open, which runs through Aug. 5, is coming up bigger and better, said James Leitz, vice president of IMG which owns and produces the U.S. Open of Surfing.
The 14-acre site at the south side of the pier, which began construction July 9, will showcase surf and skate competition, art, fashion and music.
"There is a certain 'wow' factor going on here right now," Leitz said Monday. "The structure, the actual footprint, is awe-inspiring. We're creating a new experience for the fans who come down and for the athletes themselves.