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SPECIAL EVENTS : Surf Competition Promises a Swell Time

July 25, 1991|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition.

Surf's up in Huntington Beach, where the biggest surfing event in the U.S. continues through Sunday.

Now in its 10th year, the Op Pro Surfing Championships feature top male and female surfers competing in one of the premier stops on the Assn. of Surfing Professionals world tour. Preliminaries continue through Saturday, with semifinals and finals scheduled for Sunday.

Surfers are competing for $100,000 in prize money, with the top man getting $14,000 and the top woman $4,500. In all, 250 men, women and youngsters will compete in two-person heats, with the winner from each heat advancing.

Big winners in past competitions who will compete again this year include Frieda Zamba of Flagler Beach, Fla., who won in 1990, '89, '86 and '84, and Tom Curren of Santa Barbara, who won the event in 1988, '84 and '83.

Last year, spectator attendance topped 160,000 for the seven days. Because of construction at the Huntington Beach Pier, however, the event will be moved a bit south of its traditional site this year. Taped coverage of the competition can be seen on cable sports network ESPN Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 7 a.m.

A schedule of events:

* Thursday: 7 a.m., round 2 of women's trial heats; 8:20 a.m., round 2 of men's main event.

* Friday: 7 a.m., round 1 of women's main event; 10:20 a.m., round 1 of Miss Op sports model contest; 11:20 a.m., round 3 of men's main event.

* Saturday: 8 a.m., men's quarterfinals; 9:40 a.m., finals of Miss Op sports model contest; 10:40 a.m., women's quarterfinals.

* Sunday: 8 a.m., women's semifinals; 9 a.m., Op junior semifinals; 10 a.m., men's semifinals; 11 a.m., women's finals; 11:45 a.m., Op junior finals; 12:30 p.m., men's finals; 1:15 p.m., awards presentation.

What: Op Pro Surfing Championships.

When: Through Sunday, July 28. Events start at 7 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Where: Near Lake Street and Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach.

Whereabouts: Take Pacific Coast Highway south from the Huntington Beach Pier or north from Beach Boulevard.

Wherewithal: Admission free for both beach and grandstand seating.

Where to Call: (714) 731-3100.

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