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Camera in Place, So Show Goes On


When Irvine multimedia outfit Bluetorch decided to put live Webcasts of pro surfing events on the Internet, they didn't envision all the logistical problems involved.

Anyone know how to build a scaffolding in a lagoon halfway around the world?

The Gotcha Pro Tahiti began Tuesday with Bluetorch's camera perched atop a 12-legged structure that had been erected in six feet of water almost 400 yards offshore, and just inside the barrier reef that makes the hollow left wave at Teahupoo one of the world's best surfing vehicles.

"The judges used to be on a 100-foot catamaran that was anchored in the lagoon," said Ian Cairns, Bluetorch vice president and Panasonic ShockWave world-qualifying series tour director.

Last year, the judges' tower was built . . . and then smashed by the surf. "We had to have a solid structure," Cairns said.

So local engineers found the place in the lagoon where the energy of the powerful southwest swells dissipated and then embedded each scaffolding leg in 1,200 pounds of concrete. Their first effort was only semi-successful. A huge swell knocked out a couple of legs.

"But it's solid and safe now," Cairns said. "A 20-foot swell came through the other day and it stood strong."

Live coverage of the event at Teahupoo (pronounced CHO-poo), which is under way and could run through May 19 (depending on daily surf conditions) is available at


Dave Parsel of Costa Mesa won the Southern California Hillsea Footrace Saturday at Central Park West in Huntington Beach. The unique 7.57-mile cross-country race features a staggered start that is handicapped depending on age and sex of the runner.

Parsel, 45, crossed the finish line in 39 minutes 8 seconds, 41 seconds ahead of second-place Hank Munoz, a 65-year-old from Orange. Parsel's actual time was 44:08, a course record for the 45-49 age group. Munoz's time was 57:49, a course record by nearly five minutes in the 65-69 age group.

Chino Hills' Teresa Vega was 10th overall and the first woman to finish. Vega, 25, broke the women's course record by more than 1 1/2 minutes, finishing with an actual time of 50:10.

Staff writer Martin Beck contributed to this story.

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