Positive Vibrations: Jamaica sets the mood as the Olympics of Surfing parade into Huntington Beach for the 2006 ISA World Surfing Games

You knew it right when they stepped up on the stage. They had beaming bright smiles, a rhythm and strut the whole way down the pier and enough energy to light the sun as they enjoyed every moment of the parade. Draped in green, yellow and black, the Jamaican surf team rhythmically swayed onto the introduction platform and the fun began. Grabbing the mic from Rockin' Fig, they busted into a swaying, good vibrations chant that had everyone watching feelin' good, man. They, without a doubt, are one of the most passionate and genuinely stoked to be here groups in attendance at this year's ISA World Surfing Games and aren't afraid to show it. Pouring sand into the collective sandbox, they grooved off the stage and illuminated the afternoon like hearing a Bob Marley song on a Sunday morning.

With hundreds of surfers from 34 countries across the globe lined up on the Huntington Beach pier the 2006 ISA World Surfing Games officially got underway today. The opening ceremonies included the always colorful "Parade of Nations," which features an alphabetical country march down the pier with enough national colors to leave the pier looking like someone spilled a big bag of Skittles. Each team carted along with them a jar full of their respective countries sand for the symbolic "Sands of the World" ceremony, which symbolizes unity and brotherhood through surfing. After the parade each team awaited introduction onto the platform.

With teams ranging from Aruba and Sweden, to Argentina and Switzerland (Who let out a yodel on stage!), the parade had some definite national pride winners. The best team jumpsuits award has to go to Aruba and South Africa. The Aruba competitors strutted onto the podium in buttery electric blue jumpsuits that couldn't have looked smoother, while South Africa donned phenomenal pine green blazers right there on the sand. For best dance, you have to go with the traditional warrior chant from the New Zealanders, who took the stage shirtless and grunting. Best vibe would have to be hands down that Jamaican team, while Venezuela and Puerto Rico both left the stage with warm vibes and new fans thanks their celebrations on the stage.

So with good vibes still radiating from the opening ceremony, the shredding will ensue Sunday morning at 8a.m. and will run daily through Saturday. The event will be webcast every day at www.surfingamerica.org www.surfingamerica.org so you can paint your face like a star spangled banner and cheer on the US team, or your favorite world surfing region. The US chances look as good as ever with a stacked team that includes WCT surfers Chris Ward, Damien and {{{CJ}}} Hobgood joined by Pat O'Connell and Colin McPhilips. With the International Olympic committee recognizing the event, this is as close to the Olympics as surfing can get right now, so light the torch and wave that flag as the entire world's best battle it out for gold in the shadow of the barnacle encrusted HB Pier.