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Collins Promotes an Attitude Against Drugs

June 03, 1993|Rick Fignetti and David Reyes | Rockin' Fig is Rick Fignetti, a Huntington Beach surfer/shop owner. Times staff writer David Reyes has reported on U.S. surf teams competing in Bali and Brazil. and

Pro surfer Richie Collins has taken on a new assignment--promoting the first professional surf contest with an anti-drug theme, going on now through Sunday.

Collins, of Newport Beach, is teaming with Byron Scott, the Los Angeles Laker guard, for the Richie Collins-Byron Scott Drug Use Is Life Abuse Surfing Championship.

For Scott, it's a chance to communicate that top athletes are anti-drug use advocates, an idea that Figgy supports.

It's a good statement to put out to the kids. And anything you can do to promote that, it's OK by me, said Fig.

Collins, who is currently ranked third in the U.S. Bud Surf Tour, is the son of surfboard shaper Lance Collins, founder of Wave Tools.

Richie was one of those Southern California surfers who was able to get some instruction on how to surf at a young age from his dad. He started to make some big contest moves at an early age and, at 14, was one of the youngest surfers to turn pro.

Don't they wait longer now, Fig? Like, until they're 18 or so?

Yup. Everybody was kinda blown away by Richie going pro so young. Usually you surf as an amateur and go up the rankings. But his pro debut went well, and he hopped on the world tour and has been in the Top 16. He's now one of an elite group of U.S. surfers from California who have been able to crack the Top 10, joining Tom Curren, Brad Gerlach and Joey Buran.

Those who have followed Richie's career know that he's had back problems that have hampered some of his contest performances. Figgy said it's questionable whether Collins will make all world tour events.

But he's definitely a candidate to win the U.S. Bud Surf Tour title.

Richie said he's hoping that the contest that bears his name will become an annual event.

"Surfers have been given a poor image in motion pictures like 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' and teen-agers have a false image of the sport and the surfer," Collins said. "We're trying to get the message out that surfers are like other professional athletes: health-conscious and drug free."

In the 1960s, surfers dictated to a generation social trends in clothing, music and attitudes, Richie said. It's time for surfers "to take back that position of positive social responsibility," he said.

The contest will be held at Huntington State Beach at Brookhurst Street. KROQ radio station will broadcast live from the venue. Richie's agent, Brian McInerney of San Juan Capistrano, has arranged a special family day for Saturday that features a surfing battle among soap opera stars from "Days of Our Lives," "The Young and the Restless, "Santa Barbara," and "General Hospital." Jerry (The Beaver) Mathers will serve as a celebrity judge.

Other activities include a classic-car exhibit, children's entertainment and a kite-flying exhibition. The event will be taped and nationally televised by Prime Ticket on July 8 at 7 p.m.


Ball buzz: SIMA, the Surf Industry Manufacturer's Assn., is still gassed about its Waterman's Ball held in Costa Mesa. The estimated $75,000 raised will go toward ocean environmental projects. . . .

Figgy said he's still wondering how those scantily clad mermaids with the Madonna cone-shaped bras kept from freezing. . . . Legendary surfer Greg Noll said the annual Legends Costa Rica surf trip has been canceled. Instead, Noll, who is known as "da Bull," is planning a big wingding in Bali next May. . . . Figgy and I said hello to Herbie Fletcher and his wife, Debi. Herbie, said Figgy, was looking like the ball's guru with a wild Hawaiian print shirt and several puka-shell necklaces.

Wasn't Herbie wearing bell-bottoms too? Bring back the '60s, brah.

Some of the other guests were Steve Pezman, publisher of the Surfer's Journal, and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach). . . .

Figgy liked the surfboards with the built-in CD players for those lonely paddle-outs. . . . *

Amateurs: The final U.S. Surfing Federation Western Regional Championships were held May 22-23 in Ventura Harbor. Figgy says this was the last qualifying opportunity for the U.S. championships in August at Huntington Beach.

John Zimmerman won the men's division. Jason Harcharic took second at the contest but won the overall men's division for 1993. Both are from Huntington Beach.

In seniors, Pat Conway of Ventura took first at the contest, but our very own Rick Fignetti, who was second, captured the seniors division for the year. Jay Boldt of Huntington Beach, president of the Western Surfing Assn., bagged fourth in the finals.

Others from Orange County included Travis Potter of Seal Beach, who was fourth in the boys' division; Connie Clark, who won junior women's, and Regina Monetti of Newport Beach, overall women's bodyboard winner.

John Taylor of Huntington Beach and Mary Gallo of Whittier took first in tandem with a beautiful sweeping lift, with Gallo in a swan-like arch.

Contests: Derek Ho of Hawaii took first place--and $4,000--at the U.S. Bud Pro Surf Tour in two- to three-foot surf at Imperial Beach. In second place was Rob Machado of Laguna Niguel, followed by Taylor Knox of Carlsbad and Renan Rocha of Brazil.

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