San Francisco News
Rip Curl Pro Search contest comes to San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Professional surfing is taking an urban turn. Depending on conditions, the world's best surfers could begin competing at San Francisco's Ocean Beach as soon as Tuesday. San Francisco is somewhat of an unusual location for a contest of this caliber, but organizers wanted a change of pace.
The world's best surfers practiced until the sun went down on Monday. They've come to San Francisco's Ocean Beach for the Rip Curl Pro Search competition. The world's number one -- Kelly Slater -- thought conditions during his practice run were so-so.
"Actually it's really similar to the waves I grew up with in Florida. So, but it's just kind of small, there's not a lot of shape today, but we'll see. It's supposed to be bigger tomorrow," said Slater.
Surfers were well aware of Ocean Beach's reputation before they arrived. Conditions are known to be cold, unpredictable, with strong rip currents. Even so, surfers say they're happy to be here. Taj Burrow is ranked fifth in the world.
"You wouldn't think they'd pick San Francisco, but it is a really cool place to visit and I'm more than happy to get it off my list of places I've been," said Burrow.
There'll be four days of competition over the next 12 days. Not everyone, though, is thrilled to have their beloved beach taken over.
"I think there's a handful of people that live around here who think that it's exploiting the area, you know having the big business come in and set up a big tent on the beach and do the whole contest scene, but I think a lot of us think it's really interesting," said local surfer Shane Long.
And that seems to be the prevailing sentiment. Many are excited to see what the pros can do.
"It's a great thing to see how the world's best perform at a local beach break that we've all been dreaming about like 'What would Slater do on these waves?' And then now we can see what Slater can do," said local surfer Nathan McCarthy.
As for Slater, he's just hoping the conditions will get better. If they don't, this surfing legend is certainly capable of knowing how to adjust.
"It just comes down to finding the right wave and picking the right equipment so it's a little different than some of the other spots, but each spot we surf it gives us a different challenge," said Slater.
Organizers will gather around 7 each morning to make the call as to whether there'll be a competition that day.
ocean beach, san francisco news, lilian kim
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