The California coast is not readily accessible, so the Wild World wave pool in Largo will have to suffice as the site of the surfing competition in the Potomac Valley AAU championships, one of 24 competitions to take place this weekend as part of the first annual Capital Area Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Games.
Nationally ranked surfer Bruce Gabrielson, 39, who recently moved from Huntington Beach, Calif. to Dunkirk, Md., will be among the competitors to battle the man-made waves when competition begins today at 11 a.m.
"I went over to check it (Wild World) out, and I caught 5 to 6 waves without any trouble," said Gabrielson, who was third in the 1979 U.S. Surfing Championships in the masters division.
Gabrielson is one of more than 1,000 junior, senior and masters athletes from the area who will be competing in the multisport festival. Tennis, track and field, karate, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting and basketball are among the events that will take place simultaneously at three different locations in Largo -- Prince George's Community College, Largo High School and Wild World, which also will be the site of the diving competition.
Opening ceremonies are at 9 a.m. today at Largo High School. The games continue through Sunday.
"We want to capitalize on the idea that the multisport concept is the way to go," said Josh Henson of Falls Church, president of the local AAU chapter sponsoring the games.