ONE of the most outrageous weekends ever in pro surfing folklore is unfolded at Huntington Beach. The WPS All-Stars expression session was at the very core of it, with the All Stars gladiators being catapulted into dirty, 6ft sand slammers in front of the single most frenzied crowd any of the guys can ever remember seeing. Which is exactly what the All-Stars and the entire revamped Hurley US Open was all about - giving the fans a chance to see the world's best surfers perform, live, "in front of my own damn eyes, man!" As one guy, wearing an eyepatch no less, bizarrely stated next to our tent during Saturday's autograph session. And believe you me, this is a crowd that loves personal contact. The crowd have always made this event. They move as a swarm --a single beast, with thousands of independent thoughts --a 77,000-headed Hydra. When it comes to surfing, this Californian beast knows how to put on a helluva blowout; the beach scene here is part Coachella, part Baywatch, part mental-asylum-in-crochet-bikinis, and completely and totally demented.
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A sideshow where nubile ladies in tasteful g-strings man nearby traffic intersections protesting "No Jail for Pot!", and where a guy has seriously been playing the Hawaii Five-0 theme song up on the pier for the last six hours straight... and these are the normal ones. Regardless, there were another 76,987 buzzing souls wandering through the twilight Huntington haze right now, looking for a bar, a family, a parking lot attendant, anyone at all, to share their stories about watching the world's best flying all over the place down at the HB pier. And for the rest of us? Hear thee Scottie, doth beam us up!