Corky Carroll

Pros put on a swell show at U.S. Open

When the big show ended last week in Huntington Beach I was left with pretty much a one-syllable impression of the whole week, "WOW."

This year's Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing was really amazing and the whole vibe during the week was so positive and productive for surfing that I was in a great mood the whole time. So much just flat-out amazing surfing going on and so much positive energy all around.

The new Shorebreak Hotel was the perfect "base camp" for all the action.

I get out of the car and there is Kelly Slater. "Hey Kelly." "Hi Corky." Geeze, El Rey remembered who I am. Whew. Then I see Rob Machado in the lobby and a whole slew of new dudes who are all "pro" looking but who I have no idea what their names are.

I have to admit that I don't read the surfing magazines anymore but I do look at the photos. Kinda like being a kid and claiming that you actually read the articles in Playboy magazine and don't pay any attention to the photos. RIGHT!

Well, I look at the photos but they seem to have made it harder and harder to read the copy so I don't bother. The result is that I have seen pics of these dudes surfing but don't know their names. In any case it was great to see some of these guys surf and experience how good they really are. I was rooting for Rob as I have always liked the way he surfs and have always admired him. He had some fantastic heats but went down in the quarterfinals, unfortunately.

When the swell came up on Thursday, the whole level of excitement went up. It's really a great show when there is good surf. Some years it has been small and choppy and, even though the surfers can make something out of it, it is probably boring to the untrained eye. Not this year.

A couple of my favorite moments came during the "A little love to the legends" ceremonies. One of my favorite surfers of all time, Mark Martinson, got a star on the Walk of Fame on Thursday. I was really happy about that and also got to introduce him. Mark is one of those guys who has never really gotten the recognition that he deserves in surfing. He is truly one of the great surfers and great guys ever in the sport.

The other one came during the inductions to the Surfers Hall of Fame on Friday morning. I was one of the Masters of Ceremonies and it was my job to add color and filler during the times when Dave Stanfield, the play-by-play guy, was done with the "details," so to speak.

This year one of the guys getting inducted was Bruce Brown, the surf movie icon and maker of the legendary "Endless Summer." During the part where the inductees put their hand and feet prints into the concrete they also write a little something and sign their name. It was my job to read what they were writing.

Now do not take me wrong in explaining this, nor think that I am in any way, shape, or form making fun of Bruce - although I really owe him one for that whole "El Rollo" thing that he laid on me in the movie. But this was a wonderfully funny moment and I am actually very proud of Bruce for pulling it off.

What happened was he started writing "Thanks Everybody" as his comment in the cement. But when he did it he spelled it "Everbody." I kinda whispered, maybe a little into the microphone, that I thought that maybe there might be a "y" in there.

"Huh, oh yeah. Oops. Can I do it over?" says Bruce. Sure. The cement dude smoothes that spot over and Bruce starts over. He got the "y" in this time but spelled it "Evreybody."

"Uhhh, not quite right either, amigo," I have to say.


"The r and the e are in the wrong spot." I point out even though I am actually thinking that we should leave it like that. We could have fun with this for years to come.

"Oh. Hmmm. Can I try one more time?"

So the cement dude smoothes it over again but warns that it is starting to harden and this will be the last try.

Making a glorious recovery Bruce writes, "Thanks Folks." I loved it. The crowd went crazy and everyone was all warm and fuzzy and all was good in the surf world at that moment.

What a perfect way to pull that one off. Bruce has always been wonderful with words.