Huntington Beach, California -- The U.S. Open of Surfing is an annual, free event the public is invited to, that has been held several almost 40 years on the beaches of Huntington Beach. Usually lasting around 9-10 days, the event begins on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday with surfing competitions that lead up to the next weekend's final winner in the World Qualifying Series 6 Star surfing event. On the last four days of the event a variety of contests commence. A large skate bowl for skateboarding & BMX competitions opens on the sand beach at Huntington City Beach and competitors vie for cash prizes, all while the surfing contest continues in the ocean next to the Huntington Beach Pier. Site: usopenofsurfing.com
Attendance estimates vary but the annual attendance has been estimated at 250,000 to one million people over the span of the event.
A professional marketing organization that manages sporting events took over the management of the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach and began scouting large sponsors, big cash prizes for surf contest winners, and more events in vendor expos to promote a variety of lifestyle products ranging from clothing to food. IMG Marketing is one such firm that has managed the event. In 2010 the title sponsor, Hurley, signed a contract for several years and also sponsored new lifeguard towers on the beach shaped like miniature versions of Ruby's, a red domed restaurant on the Huntington Beach Pier.
After a decade of annual events that culminated in riots, the surfing event re-grouped and re-invented itself into what is now the U.S. Open of Surfing & Beach Games. It is actually bigger than its previous version and contains more things to do. In the past several years concerts have been introduced into the event featuring top bands, and free entertainment, something that was slowly tested with just a band or two, then growing in 2010 to five days of concerts and with musical acts such as Weezer performing for free in "HB". Just a day later the same group stood on stage in San Diego with ticket prices beginning at $25.
The event is targeted to all ages but appeals to youngsters, teens, and young adults, plus parents with kids. Of course the "old time" surfers such as local legends Corky Carroll wouldn't miss this big event, and often announce the action to the crowds.