Walk the competition

High schools around the nation are competing in a Hurley-sponsored contest that involves the arts, business and technology.

March 29, 2010|By Tom Ragan

On the surface, Hurley’s annual Walk the Walk competition among high school students modeling board shorts, hats, T-shirts and tank tops in Web videos would seem like nothing but a marketing ploy to gain an edge over the other surf and sports wear lines in Southern California.

Yet there’s a catch — $25,000 in grand prize money the winning school can compete for at this summer’s U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.

Since June 2006, Costa Mesa-based Hurley has dished out roughly $140,000 to California schools for participating in Walk the Walk.

But this is the first year that the campaign that combines marketing with help for struggling school coffers involves videos, and it’s the first time that it has gone national, with more than 30 high schools competing in three regions.


“With the economy tanking and funds being cut from our schools, we could use that money,” said Allegra Thaler, a junior at Corona del Mar High School, one of eight participating Southern California high schools.

“I swear,” Thaler adds, “If I was doing community service, I’d have about 200 hours so far. That’s how much time and effort I’ve put into this project.”

So far, Corona del Mar is in the lead in its regional bracket.

To date, the high school has racked up 13,300 points over Huntington Beach High School’s 12,800 for the first two videos, outscoring all the other participating high schools from Seal Beach to San Diego. Last year, Lincoln High School in San Diego won.

To participate, each high school has to shoot three videos:

 one showing its school’s “DNA,” that is to say, what the school is made up of;

 a commercial-style video in which students wear men’s trunks and women’s low riders; and

 a demonstration of students’ ability to create a retail presentation, such as they type of display advertising one would see in a mall window.

Although the videos seem like commercials geared toward Hurley, the students at Corona del Mar argue that they’ve been learning a great deal about combining business models with art, not to mention picking up a lot of technical expertise along the way.

“It’s not easy as you think, shooting videos, editing them, putting them up on the Web and making sure they look professional,” said Blake Zimring, a Corona del Mar senior who’d like to become a filmmaker.

Corona del Mar students hope to win the grand prize for their high school’s Performing Arts & Multi-media Academy, a small learning community within the high school and set aside for those students who want to pursue careers in the arts, school officials said.

PAMA, as the arts school is called, is full of students who wish to pursue a career in the arts.

The general arts program at the high school has joined forces with PAMA as well in an attempt to win the prize during the U.S. Open of Surfing, where four high schools from around the country will participate in a fashion show, not a video.

Anybody who has access to a computer can vote for their favorite videos at

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