Tuesday, September 21, 2010

IMG Event Staff at the Hurley Pro

By Victoria Hoe (SMBA '11)

Just back from 8 days in San Clemente at the Hurley Pro surfing event and I've finally had time to digest the experience. The 2010 Hurley Pro took place on San Onofre State Beach - Lower Trestles, one of the best surfing spots in North America. It represented the only ASP World Tour event on mainland U.S. shores, where the very best surfers in the world fight it out for the world title. I was offered the opportunity to work on the event staff by Lisa Jenkins (SMBA '06), who currently serves as the Director of Events for IMG's Action Sports division. IMG's event staff teamed up with representatives from Hurley and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) to run the week-long competition.

Founded in 1999 and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nike, Hurley describes itself as an authentic 'Microphone for Youth' brand rooted in surf, skate, art, music and beach cultures. My position at the event was that of Athlete Concierge, a very unique role for an ASP surfing event. Both Hurley and IMG set out to create a one-of-a-kind experience for the athletes and provide them with an extra level of service that they are not accustomed to. Going above and beyond for the athletes included providing complimentary valet parking, tickets and discounts to local events and attractions, warm showers at the beach, VIP access for friends and family, beach-side internet access, board check, and complimentary ding repair. In my opinion, Hurley and IMG succeeded in pulling off an absolutely first-rate event. The branding of both the competition and the experience for the athletes was so unique, many were in shock at the level of service. Many surfers were overheard saying that Hurley Pro was their favorite stop on tour and that they had nothing but great impressions of the Hurley brand because of it.

Another major undertaking for the event was the state-of-the-art webcasts broadcasted worldwide everyday from the competition. Trestles is not an easy site to access by any means and the Hurley crew did an amazing job securing multiple camera angles (and water cams!) to deliver live competition heats and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. The Hurley Pro also offered an official App for iPhone and iPad so that fans could track the action anytime and anywhere in the palm of their hands. Overall, it was an excellent event to learn from and witness. The folks from IMG and Hurley are true professionals and it was an absolute pleasure getting to work with them for the week.

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