High Surf Could Bring Dollars to Huntington Beach

500,000 spectators are expected to descend upon Huntington Beach this weekend for the U.S. Open of Surfing event. The city hopes they spend some of their hard earned dollars.

Surf's up in Huntington Beach this weekend at the U.S. Open of Surfing.

Yet there is more to the event than riding waves and crowning champions.

The estimated 500,000 spectators are expected to spend close to $20 million during the nine days of the event, according to one economic study.  

"This is the actions sports industry’s superbowl of sorts, and with that comes the entire industry, and that industry is worldwide," said James Leitz, Senior Vice President of IMG, the company who owns the event..

The competition kicks off Saturday, followed by concerts and fashion shows.

All 157 rooms at the Shorebreak Hotel, popular with comeptitors, are booked for the week.

The 20 something crowd will open their wallets by sleeping, shopping and eating in surf city, said Marco Perry, the hotel's manager.


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"Yes, we are seeing a youth movement," Perry said. "But we're seeing people who are really taking advantage of the U.S. Open, which is bringing art, music, different ways of marketing, and they are spending."

They are also driving, which means traffic, parking and potentially people problems.

Elizabeth Burris knows she'll spend the week shuffling cars on her street, saving a spot, then moving again. Her concern is that the bars will fill up two blocks away on main street.

The trade off, she admits, is that local businesses thrive during events like the U.S. Open.

"If you walk by, you see the people are over-served already," she said. "And they're gonna spill out onto the streets, and they're gonna cause some problems."  

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