Anticipating Big Waves and Hotties in Bikinis, The Event Is More Like the ESPN X-Games Than a True Southern California Experience
When I first moved to Los Angeles, one of the first things I wanted to do was go to was the U.S. Open of Surfing, a week-long surf competition that occurs the first of each August in Huntington Beach. In 2018, it’s happening through Aug. 5.
What could be a better introduction to the local culture, I reasoned, than a huge tournament of surfing on California’s most famous beach?
It took a few years to get there due to conflicts with other events happening the same time, but eventually I made it. And the event was not quite what I expected. In fact, it was far less gnarly than I anticipated.
I had eagerly expected the beach filled with hotties in bikinis, a bikini contest highlighting a day and seeing some really wild surfers and surfing. California’s version of Fort Lauderdale or Daytona Beach’s Spring Break. But upon arriving, the event seemed to be less about surfing and more like the X-Games. There were skateboarders dropping into a bowl, motorcycles jumping ramps and so many corporate tents it took some effort to actually find the actual surfing.
The waves were modest at best – I had envisioned something like Hawaii’s North Shore but instead there were sets that even this squid could handle – and there was no bikini contest. About the only girls in bikinis I saw, in fact, looked as if they were on summer break from Huntington High School. (They actually had a bikini contest back in the 80’s, but there was rioting one year and that changed the face of the event. Hard to believe the bikini contest was to blame for a riot, though!)
I then took stock of those around me and noticed that those girls were hardly alone. Just about everyone at this event was a teenager. I gave it another shot a few more years and it was more of the same. In fact now, with all the X-Games activities, free concerts the final three nights (4:30-6:0) and all the X-Gen non-surfing related activities, it’s even more so the case.
There’s 100,000 people on the weekends, and Main Street is lined with bars for two blocks so obviously not everyone is too young to shave. I’m just offering this advice for adults (that is, anyone over 21) expecting to go down looking for a raging 6-man type of party: Don’t get overly excited.
For more on the U.S. Open of Surfing, click here.