Surf City USA

Rip Curl Search San Francisco

Remember when I used to write about surf contests? When I talked about the epic showdown between Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater at Pipe Masters in Hawaii when Mick won his third World Title? When I was on the beach when Kelly Slater won his record 11th World Title (and the then-ASP made a mistake and he had to go win it again the next day)? When the pro surfers came to New York City to surf — the first ever World Tour event on the East Coast?

Joel Parkinson Quiksilver Pro New York

Joel Parkinson, Quiksilver Pro New York 2011

I love watching surf contests. I love teaching my kids how to watch a surf contest and what they’re all about. I loved sharing that here on the blog since I know that most people don’t watch surf contests or know how to watch a surf contests.

Except for last week when Mick Fanning had a really scary encounter with a shark during the finals of the JBay Pro in South Africa. And the whole world seemed to know about pro surfing and watched those first few minutes of the final. I was on my way home from a morning walk to watch the finals when I came across the video clip on Instagram. I still can’t get that image out of my mind.

MIck Fanning Pipe Masters Quarterfinal win 2013

Mick Fanning clinching his 3rd World Title in 2013 at Pipe Masters in Hawaii

I’ve had a chance to watch the pro surfers in action on two occasions — one in Long Beach, NY and one in San Francisco. I even got a chance to meet Kelly Slater which might make that day in September one of the best days ever.

While there’s debate about pro surfing vs. free surfing — how the best pro surfer on the world tour might not be the best surfer in the world because of the confines of the point system. In a surf contest, you’re gunning for the most points in your heat which may mean that you take more calculated risks than you would if you were just out surfing with some buddies and you’d be more likely to try innovative maneuvers.

But I don’t really care.

I love being on the beach, feeling the energy of the crowd and watching the surfers.

Kelly Slater Quiksilver Pro New York

Kelly Slater, Quiksilver Pro New York 2011

And this week, I get to be there on the beach again.

As you read this, I’ll be heading to Huntington Beach, CA to watch the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. It’s part of the Women’s Championship Tour and it’s a qualifying event on the Men’s side (an important event for those trying to qualify for the Championship Tour and to stay on the Tour). But it’s more than a surf contest – there’s also BMX, Skate and live music and more than a million people head to Surf City USA during the event.

I was invited to attend as a guest of Samsung, the main sponsor of the WSL Men’s and Women’s World Championship Tour. I’m excited to watch the event, learn how Samsung’s mobile technology is enhancing the surf experience and community and check out some of Samsung’s newest products.

Follow me on Instagram for a peek at all the fun. And stay tuned! I’ll have a recap later this week.

You can stream the event live here.

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{Disclosure: I was invited to attend the event by Samsung  and they covered my transportation and hotel expenses. I was not otherwise compensated and was not asked to write about the event. This is the stuff I love to write about!}

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