Taylor Pitz
Student/Surfer/The Inertia Editorial Intern
The crowd effect at the US Open may not be strong next year.

The crowd effect at the US Open may not be strong next year. Photo: US Open


The Inertia

Last year, the US Open of Surfing made headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. On the evening of the final day, the masses erupted into riot: breaking store windows, tearing down stop signs, and tipping porta-potties. Two-time US Open of Surfing Champion and Huntington Beach local Brett Simpson called the mob’s actions “pathetic” and stated, “It’s up to the city to find a way to never let this happen again.” Three months later, the City of Huntington Beach has come up with a plan to do just that.

In July, the city held a town hall meeting to hear from residents. Locals voiced strong support for the US Open’s return; however, they resoundingly called for a “scaled back” event. Huntington Beach Mayor, Connie Boardman, and the Huntington Beach City Council worked closely with the event’s promoter to develop a plan for the 2014 US Open that the council presented to the Downtown Task Force last Thursday. The plan both “refocuses on sport” and “celebrates the city’s 100 years of surfing.” For the first time in years, the event’s emphasis will purportedly return to surfing, and the city hopes to draw a crowd with eyes focused on the water.

According to Mayor Boardman, the event’s layout will be much simpler compared to years past. There will still be designated retail space for the event’s main sponsors, however, much of the carnival surrounding the competition will be eliminated. There will no longer be rows of booths or vendors passing out freebies to the crowd. The event will also omit the free concert series and the “dust bowl.” Despite those adjustments, the US Open will still host a pro skate bowl where skate and BMX competitions will take place throughout the week. Lastly, Sunday will exclusively feature surfing competition in order to keep the crowd’s attention on the competition, and the maximum number of police officers will be deployed to keep the peace.

Some may be disappointed with these changes, but Boardman hopes the adjustments will encourage “pure surf fans” to attend while discouraging the disorderly, drunken behavior exhibited in 2013.

According to recent changes, it looks like the party’s over, but the US Open of Surfing will live on.

  • Stu Azole

    haha, yeah.

  • Larry

    We are Anonymous. Expect us.

    • ArturoSolano

      No, you’re Larry.

  • MxJake218

    So to get this straight, NO VENDOR ROWS?! thats what makes the surfing hype. Brings new people to see the surfing world. I’m pretty bummed that the fun part is going to be taken out :(

  • going01

    Keep the concerts and Vendors.

  • supercommando440 .

    “Its up to the City”??? Gimme a break Mr. Brett Simpson…. don’t put this one the City only. Too many LOSER attendants of this event are the problem. Too much booz, too much attitude. I lived in HB 13th/Walnut for about 10 years. Lot of local scumbags, idiots, drunks, no-life, LOW-lifers. THEY are the problem. The city should simply arrest anyone who LOOKS and acts drunk. And YES, SCALE BACK. This event has become a JOKE. It’s NOT about concerts, vendors. It’s about surfing, the folks in the water competing. The event doesn’t need BMX, skating this and that. IT’S ABOUT SURFING.

  • Zack Valenzuela

    Fuck that man. I’m bandwagoning the us open this year.

  • Jenni MyVegas Johnson

    Plzzzzz don’t change anything City Of Huntington Beach, I love what this event has grown in to! I have attended every year for the last 2 decades, my kids now go every year and with the youths short attention span today you have to make it an “EVENT” for it to be successful with multiple attractions. There will always be drunks and yahoos at any big event, deal with them in a progressive manner, do not punish the true fans of surfing who know that big business sponsors are what brings in the top names in surfing !!

    • Chris

      A true fan of surfing shouldn’t need to go out to a huge carnival like event, with tons of vendors, and beer. He’s there to watch the ocean

  • Chris Warner

    We need to keep music alive, that is important for our youth. Chris – Jet West

  • stacy

    If you really love the sport of surfing you are there to watch the amazing athletes that surfers are, not to get free stuff and concerts. I loved the way the US Open operated in the past. I’m happy to see the changes that are taking place.

  • HBCASurfer

    I agree something has to be done! But I think it is the “boneheads”
    and not the true SURFERS that are the problem! SURFING IS THE THING! The
    open is the best!!! The morons & drunks who ruin it should be dealt
    with! Don’t punish the people who are there for the surfing, the sport
    & the fun! I don’t think we need to totally cut out everything else,
    maybe cut back some! You need it! Music & surfing ARE the tru
    surfing world! Other places have the fun & deal with it correctly!
    How about beefing up the security as others have said, and deal with
    losers on the spot & quickly!!!I love the Open & always
    will! I enjoy some of the stuff! You need to give to get! I think a
    reconsideration should be in order here!!! Lest anyone forget, most of the morons who started & did the mess last year, were NOT from HB! True surfers & people of HB would not do anything to damage the place we love!!!

  • Malia

    Glad to see them get rid of the concert, smart move.. Hopefully this year, HBPD will take into consideration, how easily a riot is started by gas bombing a huge crowd of drunk dudes.

  • Zoophagous

    Just give a plastic bag to anyone who looks like they might cause trouble. Then the city council will get after them!