A Mission Viejo video production company will broadcast the finals of this weekend's OP Pro Surfing Tournament at the Huntington Beach Pier, apparently the first-ever live cablecast of a major surfing tournament.
Dynocomm Productions, which specializes in making sports videos, will be broadcasting the contest on MTV in two-minute segments every 10 minutes throughout the weekend. MTV is the New York-based channel which broadcasts music videos to about 32 million cable subscribers nationwide.
Alan Gibby, founder and president of Dynocomm, said the $70,000 OP contest contract will be the biggest effort for his concern. He expects to have a crew of about 50 working the contest, some of them on the sand, others on various camera platforms and two more in the Goodyear blimp.
"It's sort of an end-of-summer party," Gibby said. "It will be great for surfing."
The contest also is a big effort for Ocean Pacific Sunwear Ltd., the Tustin-based maker of casual clothing. Before the last wave is caught Sunday, OP anticipates it will have spent about $350,000 and reckons it will be worth every dime.
OP expects the Huntington Beach event to draw the largest-ever television audience for a surfing event, said Jerry Crosby, OP's executive vice president for advertising and marketing.
Crosby and Craig Correll, an attorney for OP, were at the beach checking out the preparations and preliminary heats earlier this week. Dressed in coats and ties and apparently not planning to surf themselves, they trudged across the sands to inspect details and consult with contest officials.
Contest organizers and OP executives are listening with intense interest to weather broadcasts, which are forecasting weekend waves as high as 10 feet, spawned by a hurricane off Baja California.
Prospects of big surf and the size of the potential television audience bring a smile to the face of Ian Cairns, executive director of the Huntington Beach-based Assn. of Surfing Professionals, the sanctioning body for the contest.
"We'll reach our target market--a bunch of kids," he said. Live television coverage is "part of a long-term campaign to educate the public that surfing is a great sport," said Cairns, a former world surfing champion himself. "Surfing is one of the coming sports because of its independence and freedom from rules and stadiums."
Organizers are predicting a turnout at the beach of at least 100,000 during the weekend.
There will be seating for about 10,000.
In all, the contest has drawn about 225 entrants from the United States, Australia, England, Japan, Brazil, South Africa and Mauritius.
Contestants will be vying for a total of $55,000 in prize money; $35,000 for the men's division, $10,000 for high finishers in the preliminary heats and $10,000 for the women's division.