Oil City Showdown

Huntington Pier, late 1950s
1966 US Championships. Photo: Ron Stoner
1959 West Coast champion Jack Haley
1965 US Champion Joyce Hoffman. Photo: Ron Church
1964 US champion Ron Sizemore. Photo: Grannis

The first West Coast Surfing Championships were held in 1959 at Huntington Beach Pier. Four years later the meet was upgraded to become the United States Surfing Championships, and it was the only West Coast surf event where spectators had a real presence: hundreds came out for the debut event, and turnout during the mid-'60s often hit ten-thousand or more. The contest took place in September, which invariably brought the kind of warm early fall weather guaranteed to pull a crowd on any South...