Featured above is a panoramic night shot of the Long Beach Mobile Wave. To the left is the stage where live bands and DJ's kept the party moving. To the far right is the Swatch-Wave Loch three tiered special guest grandstand. And in center stage is the custom Flow Rider® with 10 foot barrelling curl, aptly called 'Bruticus Maximus'. In this photo, the wave is at half speed and you can see the huge form behind the water. Click photo for larger version.
Long Beach, CA.- An alternative entertainment to those attending the ASR Trade Expo was the first and only U.S. stop on the global Swatch Wave Tour, which just completed four successful days of fun riding, demonstrations, as well as both pro and amateur competitions on the world's largest portable wave.
Following two major events in Munich, Germany last August and Florence, Italy last September; the Wave Loch was shipped from Rotterdam to Long Beach for the third stop on the tour. After two weeks of non-stop rebuilding the structure, the incredible 10-foot barreling wave was set to flow… with the bow of the Queen Mary as the backdrop. Top board riders from around the world competed in this entirely new sport, one that takes place on a man-made dream wave, reminiscent of the Banzai Pipeline.
World Champion skateboarder Tony Hawk, world champion snowboarder Terje Haakonsen and top surfers Rob Machado and Conan Hayes were among the pros competing in the finals on Sunday, February 6th to a capacity crowd estimated at 2,500. While outside the gates another 1,500 people had to be turned away for the finals.
As if the Swatch Wave Loch wasn't a big enough draw, there was a huge stage alongside the 'wave' that featured the musical talents of Common Sense, Run DMC, Mick Taylor Blues Band and celebrity DJ Perry Farrell, among others. You can thank the head of sports & sponsorship for Swatch International, Bernie Bernthal, for all this fun and excitement coming to Long Beach. "The tour enjoyed an enthusiastic crowds in Munich and in Florence, but being here in heart of Southern California's surf culture has made it truly a spectacular event," said Bernthal.
The guess-timated prize tag for all this fun was a staggering $4 million dollar free-to-the-public extravaganza that provided plenty of amusement and officially announced the much-anticipated opening of Wave House. From the minds of Tom Lochtefeld and Dr. Albert Liu will come a radically new destination sports/entertainment facility coming to Mission Beach, San Diego in July 2000.
The event saw hundreds of Surf Industry people in attendance and many were given the opportunity to experience the Wave Loch, including amateurs representing the Coalition of Surfing Clubs. Various surf heroes like Nat Young, Mike Doyle and Randy Rarick had to give it a go. And a strong contingent of skimboarders from the Laguna Beach area quickly adapted to the Wave Loch.
Press Day was Wednesday, and from then on the Wave was open for public viewing from 1pm to 11pm everyday Thrusday through Sunday. Non stop action! Actor Peter Fonda was in awe of the wave and Playboy's 40th Anniversary Playmate Anna-Marie Goddard actually did some bodyboarding on the Wave Loch. Three major television shows will originate from the competition. Hour-long specials for EuroSport, USA Network and Fox Sports Net will air during the month of March. Also in attendance was Laguna Beach based film crew MacGillivray-Freeman, filming in 70mm for an upcoming IMAX release entitled Wild California. Production Company DynoComm was seen capturing some of the action, along with Film/Video makers Bill Ballard and Sonny Miller. One of the more unusual cameras was a 3-D Betacam being used by a Venice, California based crew shooting for a upcoming 3-Dimension cable television network.
When the 4-jet pumps were turned on, and the 145,000 gallons of circulated chlorinated water began to flow out at 25 mph, everyone's adrenaline kicked in. The practice sessions were exciting to watch, but when it came to the pro competition finals, it was downright electrifying. Champions from every core board sport were represented; a total of 16 world class athletes defining a new form of board sport called "Flowriding," while challenging the amazing Wave Loch wave nicknamed Bruticus Maximus!
by David Stanfield
SWATCH WAVE TOUR - Television Airings
USA Network - "Core Culture" - April 8 - 11am - 1-Hour
Fox Sports Net - "Board Wild" - March 7 - 4:30pm - 1/2-Hour
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