Huntington Beach, Surf City USA: Welcome to the center of the surfing universe. From the waves to Main Street and out into the boulevards, surfing plays a huge role in the daily life of Huntington Beach and defines the city's identity.
Take it from 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, who received the key to the city on 2011 and told the Orange County Register, "Huntington Beach is probably the biggest surf town in the world. In terms of crowds that come down to the beach, in terms of surf shops per square foot, and the number of surfers in the water, it's been a really prominent place in surfing."
Here are the top reasons why Huntington Beach is Surf City USA.
Touched By the Gods
Two of surfing's icons, George Freeth and Duke Kahanamoku, rode the waves here in the early 1900's and brought surfing to Huntington Beach.
The Wimbledon of Surfing
In late July and early August, Huntington Beach hosts the US Open of Surfing, the world's largest surf competition and lifestyle festival.
Surfing's World Headquarters
Major companies, including Quiksilver and Roxy, are based in Huntington Beach. Hurley International began as a board factory here, while the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA), the Association of Surfing Professionals North America, and Surfing America (the sport's national governing body) all operate out of Huntington Beach.
There's No Better Place to Buy a Board
Gordie Duane opened Huntington Beach's first surfboard shop underneath the pier in 1956. These days, an active community of skilled board shapers works here and the city is also home to more than a dozen surf shops. As Surfline put it, "No other city in America has a Main Street with more surf-oriented businesses."
Surfline.com, the world-renowned surf report and wave forecasting service, is based high above Huntington Surf & Sport and began operations as a pay phone operation back in 1985.
We're Old School
Huntington Beach is the birthplace of Kanvas by Katin, considered the classic board short.
He's Old School
Robert August of Endless Summer fame served as student body president at Huntington Beach High School and remains part of the local board shaper brotherhood.
Just Ask Corky
Corky Carroll, the best-known American surfer of the 1960s and operator of a Huntington Beach surfing school, declared, "Orange County is the cultural center of the surf world and Huntington Beach is like the heartbeat."
Coming Soon to a Beach Near You
Surf apparel industry professionals from around the world make pilgrimages to Huntington Beach to scout local streets and beaches for trends and styles that later appear on the global market.
In The Encyclopedia of Surfing, historian Matt Warshaw wrote that Huntington Beach Pier "is arguably mainland America's most consistent break, receiving long-distance swells all year, from every available direction."
Just Ask Dean
Listen to local resident Dean Torrence. Back in 1963 as part of the vocal duo Jan & Dean, he recorded "Surf City" - the first surf music song to top the charts. Dean said, "If we were writing the song today, Huntington Beach would be the prototype Surf City USA."
Visit the spots that help make Huntington Beach Surf City USA.