U.S. Open of Surfing Huntington Beach
Surf and Party Scene At the Pier and Beach Bars
It's a rip curl during the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.
In the world of surfing, the US Open in Huntington Beach is what Wimbledon is to tennis, the Masters is to golf, the Super Bowl is to football. Sponsored by Nike in 2012, it runs from July 28-Aug. 5.
This is the biggest championship, the one all surfers want to win, the most awesome tournament of them all. Huntington Beach, with its signature pier, Surfing Walk of Fame, much-traveled Main Street and those California girls, is the idyllic setting for such a scene, the perfect place to search for the perfect wave. Or at least one good enough to propel a competitor to victory. For a look at Huntington Beach's bars and nightlife, click here.
The world-famous Huntington Beach Pier during the U.S. Open of Surfing.
Surfers have 15 minutes to catch as many waves as possible to impress judges.
Surf's up for this annual giant event.
The beacn scene with tents and thousands of people at the Huntington Pier.
Each summer, the planet's top pros paddle out in this famous surf to claim their most cherished championship. And the setting could not be more ideal. Huntington Beach builds itself as "Surf City USA" – although Santa Cruz some five hours up the California coast contests this title – yet on this summer weekend at end of July it's the surfing capitol of the world.
There are babes in bikinis on the beach watching the surfers.
Sometimes, the babes in bikinis on the beach are just, well, sunbathing.
These girls are no doubt discussing their favorite surfers.
Somewhere around here, there are surfers in the water.
Huntington Beach provides the scene for the U.S. Open of Surfing.
Yes, there's the world famous surf, but also other attractions for men and women.
As proof, tens of thousands of people stroll to the strand, making it as much of a scene on around the beach as out on the ocean. On the weekend, as many as 100,000 converge at the city's famous pier, making it one of Southern California's largest events.
Surfers work their way through preliminary rounds, competing for the same waves in groups of four, in order to advance to the final rounds on the weekend. In the semifinals and finals, just two surfers take to the water at the same time.
The U.S. Open of Surfing as seen from the Huntington Beach Pier.
There are grandstands – free seating – to watch the surfing and the scene.
Waves crash at the Huntington Beach Pier while people watch for surfers.
The beach has sunbathers and grandstands; right behind this are all the tents.
The surfers hold autograph sessions on Main Street.
There are demonstrations about surfing, such as how to make a surfboard.
They have just 15 minutes to catch as many rides as possible, with the goal of impressing judges with their creativity and style. Short boarders are the most exciting to watch, as they make hard cuts like a race car driver attacking a hard turn on a road course, and as the wave rides itself out, the surfers often pound their board by bouncing on it in an effort to maximize the ride – and the points.
Prize money is nearly half a million dollars and it's the marquee event on the ASP World Tour.
Free concerts take place on the beach the final three days from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Then, as one can imagine, Main Street's bars, restaurants and surf shops become packed with people.
A world record of number of people surfing on one board was set here.
There's some incredible sports happening on the beach away from the surf.
It's a wild ride at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA.
A popular place to party on Main Street is Sharkeez Huntington Beach.
There is much more to the US Open Surfing Championships than simply surfing. The beach is like a modern-day carnival with sideshows, entertainment and huge tents welcoming and even educating visitors.
There are as many corporate tents as grains of sand, or so it seems. A large stage features live bands. It's between two high grandstands, one featuring BMX bikers and another skateboarders, each performing on a specifically-built platform.
And oh yeah, there's surfing. And there are grandstands for that, as well, though some people prefer to suntan on the sand.
Because of all the corporate involvement, all this is free and open to the public.
Up on Main Street, surfers gather at the Surfing Walk of Fame to sign autographs and people fill the streets, plus the restaurants and bars, to spend the day and go deep into the night. Among their favorite places are Sharkeez, with its fun-friendly attitude and buckets of drinks, Hurricane's with its upstairs balcony and the traditional dive Perq's. After all, this is a beach and the Huntington Beach Open is also a party.