Take one step onto Huntington Beach, and it’s no surprise why the city has been coined "Surf City U.S.A." Not only is the beach a crowded spot, with 365 days a year of high-level surfers preparing for competition, it’s also been home to the U.S. Open of Surfing since 1994.

Spectrum News 1 visited Huntington Beach to talk to one local who’s name has gone down in history in the Surfers’ Hall of Fame. 

“There’s 500,000 people that come to the beach. You have the pier. It’s that stadium atmosphere which you don’t really get around the world when you compete. So that’s what makes it so special,” said Brett Simpson, commenting on the U.S. Open. 

Simpson’s won it twice.

One of the world’s first surfing championships, the West Coast Surfing Championships, was held in Huntington in 1959. Along with countless other competitions, Huntington’s surfing legacy can be seen, more tangibly, through the Surfing Walk of Fame and the Surfer’s Hall of Fame, where Simpson was inducted in 2018.

Having made his own mark on surf history in Surf City USA, Simpson’s shifted to helping other athletes do the same by coaching the Olympic surfing team and the junior Olympics. 

“For me now, it’s kind of giving back and trying to lift them up to get these opportunities,” Simpson said. 

Click the arrow above to watch the video.

Watch the Spectrum News 1 special “Swell Beaches” at 9 p.m. on July 6 and 7 to find out what makes Southern California’s coast so special.