US Open of Surfing Makes a Splash in Surf City, U.S.A.®
There are some who come for the sun and sand, others come for the “view,” and then there are those who come “stoked” to simply bear witness to the biggest surfing event of the year. It’s the US Open of Surfing: a celebration of summer, action sports and social lifestyle, and it’s back for another awesome year of competition.
More than 750,000 people are expected to turn out this year, from July 28 through August 5, to watch 30 of the best surfers on the World Tour battle against up-and-comers trying to make a name for themselves. Appropriately held in Huntington Beach, Surf City U.S.A.® each year, the US Open of Surfing is the premier surf contest on the West Coast. Contestants will be judged on commitment and degree of difficulty, innovative and progressive maneuvers, combination of major maneuvers, variety of maneuvers, speed, power and flow.
Although it is the US Open of Surfing, skateboarding competitions make an appearance with the return of the Converse Coastal Carnage – a pro/am event consisting of 40 of the world’s premier skateboarders. As in years past, Converse Coastal Carnage will be a jam format consisting of 10 qualifying rounds with four riders skating against each other at the same time. The skate competition is free for spectators and runs Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5.
In addition to the surfing and skateboarding competitions, the event will feature interactive exhibits, public skate courses, autograph signings, giveaways and the U.S. Open Music Stage, where a variety of bands will rock the summer nights away from August 1 through August 3. Spray-on tattoos and limbo games are a few other activities you may find there this year, too. For a complete list of the week’s events, click here. Here’s the lineup of bands performing this year:
- Wednesday, August 1: Best Coast/Walk the Moon
- Thursday, August 2: Grouplove/White Arrows/ Hindu Pirates
- Friday, August 3: TV On The Radio/Toro Y Moi
The best time to get a great view of the surfing action is within the first five days of the contest. The beach is not very crowded and spectators can easily view the competition up-close.
A Brief History
According to USopenofsurfing.com, contest organizers held the first “West Coast Surfing Championships” in 1959, which quickly became the biggest surfing event in the country.
The contest evolved over the years, becoming the United States Surfing Championships in 1964, but by the early 1970s the sport’s culture shifted and contests no longer had the same appeal, which resulted in the event’s nine-year hiatus after the 1972 US Surfing Championships. The surfing championships resurfaced in 1982 as the OP Pro, founded by the clothing brand Ocean Pacific.
The OP Pro brought a new era of surfing that hit the mainstream as world-class surfers competed in front of huge crowds, and the company continued to sponsor the event until 1993.
The surf contest’s success, known since 1994 as the US Open of Surfing, is due largely to the fact that organizers created a stadium-style atmosphere where the world’s elite surfers gather to push the boundaries of surfing ability every year.
In preparation for a wild week of surfing and complete immersion in the local surf culture, I’ve compiled a short list of “surf lingo,” just in case you find yourself wondering if it actually is the English language you’re hearing from surfers and spectators alike:
- ANKLE SNAPPER/BUSTER - Very small waves
- ATE IT - Crashed
- AXED - Hit by the lip of the wave, leading to a wipeout
- BAIL - To escape immediately- to abandon your board without regard to its future
- BEACH BUM - Someone who almost literally lives at the beach
- BETTY - A surfer girl
- BRA - Bro, short for “brother” – term used when addressing a friend
- EPIC - Near-perfect conditions
- GARSHED - Tired after a day of surfing
- GO DEEP - A replacement for the term “hang loose”
- GNARLY - Something that is really awesome, crazy or unreal
- HACKED - Cut off by another surfer
- HEAVIES - Very big waves, usually higher than 12 feet
- LAND LORD - Great White shark (luckily we don’t have many run-ins with the land lord in Orange County!)
- PARTY WAVE - When more than one person takes a wave
- POUNDED - Getting hit hard by some gnarly wave sets
- PSYCHED - Thrilled by surfing the wave; excited, stoked, amped, pumped up
- RAILER - The "ultimate" cool in surfer lingo
- SHAKA BRA - To hang loose, Hawaiian-style
- SHRED - Ability to execute rapid repeated turns on a short board
- STOKED - Full of enthusiasm
- WIPEOUT - To fall or to be knocked off your board
**ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH MARKETING AND VISITORS BUREAU***