Summer at the Beach: Chilly Waters, the Inland Empire and the (Insert Sponsor) U.S. Open of Surfing

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We SoCal folk have a knack for knowing things: When to take surface streets, where to find parking, how to get a bro-deal on just about anything. And right now, we know summer is just days away. It doesn't even take a calender. Cue the gloom and the little brown bugs with the ten-ton grip, and the stand-still march of cars down the 55 freeway (which seems to include the entire population of the Inland Empire).

For a surfer, summer is a time of mixed feelings. The days are longer, the temperatures warmer (well, typically-more to come on this later). But the crowds bring congestion in the line-ups and the Black Ball flag (meaning no hardboards) in Newport Beach. 

Sean Collins, the chief forecaster over at Surfline.com, has a knack for predicting what most of us find unpredictable, and for the upcoming season, he has a mixed bit of news.

Remember last summer when summer water temperatures never arrived, leaving the waters somewhat empty and surfers in full wetsuits from June through August? In his North Pacific Summer Outlook, Collins says we should expect much of the same, until about mid-August. While you may think you can rid yourself of any unflattering wetsuit tanlines by spending time on the sand, Collins countered the bad bit about water temps with the welcome news that there should be a fair bit of southern hemisphere swell activity in June and August, while July is expected to be slow. So keep the surfboard wax fresh and the wetsuits from getting grimy. 

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Don't forget where you parked your towel.
​In other surfing news, that massive surf contest/festival that invades the beach just south of the Huntington Beach pier has a new official title. Nike has expanded its involvement and this year the event will be known as the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing (formerly the Op Pro and Hurley U.S. Open-Nike now owns Hurley). Though the nine-day festival also includes skateboarding, BMX, music, fashion and parties, the mainstay has always been the surfing. Some years there are waves, other years, not so much.

While the event traditionally attracts crowds in the tens of thousands, whether there are waves or not, there will be added attractions this year, including the possible crowning of the women's world champion. The event is the seventh and final on the ASP Women's World Tour schedule. Currently, an 18-year-old Hawaiian named Carissa Moore is sitting comfortably in the ratings lead, with two events to go. And though local surfer (and the lone surfer repping the USA) Courtney Conlogue is out of the title chase (she's currently 7th), she'll have home-wave advantage and the chance to celebrate on home soil.

Now that you know what to expect for summer, prepare accordingly: wetsuits and IE repellent are essential. 

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