August 04, 2011
Like the tremendous swells the competitors hope for, the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing rolls into town this week through August 7, taking over a 14-acre waterfront stretch in Huntington Beach, California. Event organizers predict that more than 500,000 people will attend the competition, making it the world's biggest surf festival. It's a free-for-all of fun, with BMX bikes, skateboards and new Nike gear. "Essentially, it's like action-sports Mardi Gras," event organizer James Leitz told the Los Angeles Times. While surfers make a run for the U.S. Open title, land fans can unwind with performances by MGMT, Jimmy Eats World and The Sounds in what's being billed as the largest summer concert of the year. Through August 7, no tickets required. Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach, California; usopenofsurfing.com. usopenofsurfing.com.
Next step: Learn how to surf in Rio, Bali, Hawaii, and San Diego and Montauk. Plus! Brazil's Surfing Paradise and good surfing vibrations along Northern California's old Hippie Highway
Going for the gold at Huntington Beach, California. Photo courtesy of Nike U.S. Open of Surfing
August 25, 2011
You've been served. Photo courtesy of iStock.
Oh, hello. We know you. You're that country club tennis player who gloats that you could return Andy Roddick's 155-mph serve. Well, start beefing up your return game: The United States Tennis Association is giving you a chance to play the pros. Now in its second year, the USTA's men's and women's US Open National Playoffs tournament grants the tournament winner a wild card into the US Open qualifying round, which started August 23. Winning qualifiers end up in the main draw, which starts August 29. "I'm just really glad they have this, because it's gotten me into the US Open twice now," says Blake Strode, who has won the men's playoffs the last two years. If you're too afraid to walk the walk (and having hit with Andy Murray, this author advises not attempting to return a pro's serve), purchase a US Open Supreme Package, which offers Arthur Ashe loge-level seating. While the package doesn't include seats in Section 54, which is closest to the USTA President's box for good people watching, it does come with breakfast in the player's dining room. Then you can brag to your country club companions that you at least talked to Roddick about his kicker. US Open, August 29-September 11; Supreme Ticket Package, $700-$1,600; Flushing, New York; 718/760-6363; usopen.org.
Did you know: New York City cult hairstylist Julien Farel has a VIP salon at the US Open
July 05, 2012
Courtesy Gstaad Palace
With the French Open wrapping up in early June, Wimbledon continuing through July 8 in London and the US Open just around the corner, it is high tennis season. For those wanting to up their game in style, the Gstaad Palace in Gstaad, Switzerland, is taking to the court with week-long clinics led by tennis legend Roy Emerson.
Emerson—the winner of 12 Grand Slam tournament singles titles and 16 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles, and the only man to win singles and doubles titles at all four Grand Slam events—has been a fan of the hotel since 1974, when he held his first camp here. Participants will enjoy first-rate service, but the highlight is 25 hours of tennis instruction on the Palace’s four clay courts that offer panoramic views of the Bernese Alps. Emerson and a cadre of tennis pros (including his son, Anthony Emerson) demonstrate techniques and collaborate with players to strengthen their skills. The instruction is focused; one pro works with groups of three to four guests at a time. (Players fall into advanced, intermediate or advanced-beginner levels.)
Off the court, participants have access to a 25-minute sports massage at the spa and unlimited visits to the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, gym and steam bath, as well as select social events. The week kicks off with a welcome cocktail party—and ends with a much-improved game. $4,255 per person; Palacestrasse 28; 41-33/748-5000; palace.ch.
December 12, 2012
Photo courtesy of Etro
Italian fashion house Etro brings its signature paisley design to the shore in the form of these gorgeously colorful surfboards, available in red ($2,225) and orange ($2,490). Available at 720 Madison Ave., New York; 212-317-9096; 461 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-248-2855; Village of Merrick Park, 342 Ave. San Lorenzo, Coral Gables, Florida; 305-569-1669; Americana Manhasset, 1986 Northern Blvd., Manhasset, New York; 516-365-0101; etro.com.
December 12, 2012
Courtesy of Robb Gordon
You are an experienced skier, with years of season-pass practice under your belt. You might even consider yourself an expert. Still, each winter a day comes—maybe when you’re stiff and fatigued from carving through glades or after a punishing mogul run that makes your knees ache—when you can’t help but wonder if taking a few lessons would be worth it.
It can be tough to admit that your ski technique could stand some improvement. But what if you could pair up with an expert instructor—say, a former Olympian? For the first time this winter skiers at Montage Deer Valley will be able to do just that. The resort’s new Ski With a Pro program takes full advantage of the 50-plus Olympic athletes who live and train in the surrounding ski community of Park City, Utah—among them three-time giant slalom Olympian Erik Schlopy, two-time snowboarding Olympian Graham Watanabe and Phil McNichol, former head coach of the men’s Olympic Alpine team.
Skiers who sign on for the three-day program get a full day of personalized instruction with an Olympic skier; the resort assesses each participant’s ability and schedule and matches accordingly. Daily lift tickets, accommodations, breakfast and guided pre- and post-ski stretching sessions at the resort’s wellness center are also included.
According to Andy Damman, Montage Deer Valley’s director of resort activities, Ski With a Pro doesn’t just allow guests the opportunity to ski alongside some of the world’s finest practitioners of the sport—it also gives them the chance to ask questions. “What does an Olympic athlete’s training routine entail? How can children who aspire to be Olympians start to prepare? What are hints and tips to skiing that only Olympians know?” says Damman. “These are the kinds of conversations that will take place while hanging out on the chairlifts with true ski celebrities.” How’s that for bragging rights? Through April 15, 2013; three-day program, from $2,575; 9100 Marsac Ave.; 435-604-1300; montagedeervalley.com.