Cultural Bonanza: Huntington Beach gets worldly and shows off with perfect, offshore barrels for the Lost Energy Drink ISA World Surfing Games

Soccer balls flying. Peaky, offshore waves barreling. More flags waving than at a World Cup game. And bikinis parading up and down the beach cut significantly skimpier than we're used to. This is definitely not your average day in Huntington Beach. With 33 countries infiltrating the sands on the south side of the pier, we may as well have our own rings, fire pit and torch. Each country and their competitors are camped out under their respective tents preparing for heats and cheering each other on, turning a walk up the beach into a jaunt through an atlas.

The Brazilians are heading soccer balls 50 feet in the air. The Swedes are applying sunscreen nonstop. And right next to them the Jamaicans are psyching up about their possible trip to Magic Mountain. "Man, my life needs 6 Flags in it!" Joked Luke Williams of Team Jamaica. Next to him, Dan Malloy gazes out at Catalina island which is looking surprisingly close thanks to the offshore Santa Ana winds, and cannot understand how there isn't more waves off it. "You would think that place would pick up so much swell," said the Shark Park trailblazer. "Are you sure they've checked that place out enough?"

Dan Malloy has to be Team Jamaica's biggest fan. Standing at the water's edge crating the Jamaican flag he gives 16 year-old "Lili" (Imani Wilmot) a few pointers before she paddles out into the afternoon dredging wind chop. Not a bad guy to take a few pointers from. With Dan's support the Jamaican team proudly made their way to Ecuador for the 2004 World Surfing Games, and now to Huntington Beach for the 2006 games, becoming one of the most recognized teams thanks to their refreshingly stoked attitudes. They're all truly enjoying every moment of every surf and each moment in between them.

With Brazil, the US and Australia dueling it out for the top spot in the overall team competition, there's a big run of heats lined up for this weekend that include WCT stars {{{CJ}}} and Damien Hobgood, Chris Ward, Tom Whitaker (Aus), and Luke Stedman (Aus). With a solid swell on tap for the finale, Huntington Beach should continue to surprise the world with its peaky display of schralp -able waves and hot, sunny weather.

The ISA World Surfing Games are a far cry from the corporate collisions and chaos of the U.S. Open in Huntington, and you'll find a much more enthusiastic crowd lining the sand in support of their favorite surfers. So, if you do make it down this weekend, break out the banners, the flags, the face paint, the bells and all the whistles to support your favorite region. Just remember to be prepared to see some skin if the sun's out. Most countries like to wear a little less than us Americans. That goes for boys and girls.