The U.S. Open of Surfing, sponsored by Vans, has taken on its own life entirely. What was, at the beginning, just a nice, pleasant surf competition in lackluster waves at the Huntington Beach Pier has become a cultural phenomenon, full of riots.
Don’t believe me? Check out this video of a riot that broke out on Main Street after the 2013 event. It is undeniably much more than a surf competition.
The 2016 event will run from July 23rd-31, which seems an unusually lengthy amount of time for competition. But fear not, Vans and other sponsors have ensured that crowds will be entertained, in numerous ways, in between the main surf competition.
The event will have everything from movie screenings, to BMX , to skating, to DIY sunglass making, and even a viewing of Toy Story for families (or adults who love the movie, i.e.: me) to attend. So here is a quick run-through of events at this year’s US Open that are definitely worth checking out!
First and most obvious is the actual surf competition. The trials begin Saturday, July 23rd and run through the weekend. After the trials are over, the event window begins, ranging from July 24th-July 31st. To ensure the competition runs in the best waves, the decision to run heats will go on a day-by-day basis. This uncertainty may be a touch unsettling, but what can be assured is that the best heats will run early in the morning, when the winds are best. So keep an eye on the forecast and check out the event’s website to see what’s going down on any given day.
Outside of the main men’s and women’s events, there are also junior events that will run all day on the 24th and for all you longboarders, the annual Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational is scheduled for July 29th and 30th. In past years, the Duct Tape event has stolen the show and is definitely is worth a visit to see some of the world’s most progressive longboard action.
After the heats end in the morning, make sure to check out all the vendors and other events going on around the south side of the pier. For surf fans, there are always a number of meet-n-greets going down that can be found by scouring the social media accounts of surf sponsors like Quicksilver, Vans, Billabong etc. But don’t keep your eyes glued to Instagram–many of pro surfers, skaters, BMXr’s and other A-listers walk the event and can be stumbled into as if they were, you know, actual people!
Speaking of BMX and skating, Vans has built a full size recreational space for both sports and both of the pro events, BMX and skate, will begin on Friday the 29th and run through the remaining weekend. With big names skaters like Curren Caples and Kevin Kowalski set to compete.
There will also be tons of free giveaways going down every day and if luck is on your side, you might just walk away with some pretty legit gear. Also, more than likely a symptom of the out of control, public drinking and rowdiness that characterizes free, open-to-the-public events, Vans has made a solid effort to make this year’s event one the whole family can attend. The Gudauskas brothers have brought their Stoke-O-Rama (click here to see what stoke-o-rama looks like) event to Huntington so that young surfers can see try out competitive surfing in a pressure free environment. And, as mentioned, there will be family movie screenings, including Toy Story, Indiana Jones and Van’s new BMX film Illusion.
These are just a few of the highlights expected at the 2016 U.S. Open. The best way to find the other hidden gems is by making your way down to Huntington to see the event for yourself. Check out the main event website and do your best not to turn this year’s U.S. Open into one big Coachella–you know what I mean.