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SURFING

Amateurs Look Strong as They Go East for Championships

November 24, 1994|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

The West Coast has sent one of its strongest contingents of surfers, including 22 from Orange County, to the U.S. Amateur Surfing Championships, going on through Saturday at Sebastian Inlet, Fla.

And, according to U.S. Surfing Federation officials, the state slate includes probably the strongest group of juniors (age 15 to 17) assembled, said Jane Moysa, secretary for the U.S. Surfing Federation's Western Region.

"I think that the East Coast is really scared. We're sending such a strong juniors team," said Moysa, who is also the mother of San Clemente surfer Geoff Moysa, 19, who will be defending his masters long-board title, won last year in Oceanside.

On the downside, however, is that most of the 62 surfers will have to compete away from their families during Thanksgiving time. Falling into that category is our own Rockin' Fig, a top-ranked amateur and former national short-board title holder. He'll be going wave to wave with some of the top seniors, guys 35-44.

I'm pumped up . It may be my last time to compete, though, because if I don't take the title, I'm hanging it up next year. It's getting too grueling to be competitive year after year.

Fig, you're lucky it isn't still churning from last week's Tropical Storm Gordon?

I called the other day for the surf report, and it was 8 feet and breaking over the jetty at Sebastian Inlet, but it was all stormed out. They said it's probably gonna stay big but stay a little stormy, and that's pretty much what happened. The surf is about 6 feet, but the weather's rainy and humid, with the water temperature about 72 degrees, while in California it's a chilly 55.

You got any predictions?

Yeah. I'll tell you who's going to take it in long boarding. That's Geoff Moysa, who's got all the talent and hot moves. He was named the "Iron Surfer" winner last year for competing in four events.

How about for the overall short-board crown?

Well, Oxnard's Tim Curran, despite being a junior, has got a good shot to take it because he's got it going right now. This is the first trial for the 1996 world amateur surfing championships, which will be in South Africa. The only thing is how many of these guys will still be amateurs by then .

The hot juniors from the western region representing Orange County include Mikey Reilly, of Seal Beach; Jon Rose, Laguna Beach; Justin Harcharic, Huntington Beach; Travis Acosta, Laguna Niguel; Travis Potter, Seal Beach; Iain McPhillips, Capistrano Beach; Chris Ward, San Clemente, and Troy Tecklenburg, Seal Beach, the defending junior's champion.

Kim Hamrock, 34, of Huntington Beach, will be defending her women's championship.

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In other news, it looks like Prime Ticket will be sealing its purchase of the U.S. Bud Surf Tour soon. Don Meek, Prime Ticket's marketing vice president, and the man who helped push the network to buy last summer's U.S. Open of Surfing, said, "It's still tentative, but we do have a handshake agreement."

With the Aug. 5 sale of Prime Ticket to Texas-based Liberty Sports, a division of Tele-Communications Inc., Meek said Prime Ticket will change its name and logo to Prime Sports beginning Jan. 1.

"We took the event-development group of Prime Ticket that ran the U.S. Open," he said, "and put it with another group which is part of a new job I have to develop sports events around the country."

Meek said adding the Bud Tour to the Prime Sports lineup would increase the new company's equity and set the stage for a growing list of potential acquisitions, including tennis, golf, soccer or in-line skating events.

Fig's all for the idea.

It sounds like the Bud Tour could go bigger because Prime Ticket might be willing to better bankroll the contests. It could mean more purse money (possibly upgrading the contests from two stars to three) and bonuses for the tour crew!

Say, Fig, aren't you, as a Bud Tour announcer, saying this could mean more bread for YOU?

Heh heh heh.

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Kudos: To Charlie Moore of Belmont Shores and a group of Surfrider Foundation surfers who gave $500 to Eco Soul (Ecological Economic Solutions), a nonprofit corporation that has chosen to help reforest kelp beds off Todos Santos Island in Baja, Mexico. For more information, contact Skip Staats at (714) 721-8747.

Bummed: Mike Kingsbury, who through his Huntington Beach public relations firm publicizes the world tour and U.S. Bud Tour, left California last week a very unhappy camper. It seems Mike and his wife, Barbara, bought non-refundable airline tickets to go snorkeling in Florida. Yup. When Tropical Storm Gordon was on its path of destruction. "I'm so bummed," Kingsbury said. "Don't ever buy non-refundable tickets!"

* Times Line: 808-8463

For a daily surf and beach report, updated by 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., call TimesLine and press *5000

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