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2016 VANS US Open of Surfing Review and Recap

August 16, 2016

It's been one week since the 2016 US Open of Surfing concluded. It takes time to comb through and compile over a week's worth of photos, interviews (read: surf shop gossip at HSS over Java Point coffee) and notes. The consensus? The US Open has changed.

What was once the biggest show on sand has become a bite-sized version of its former self. And that's a good thing.

With each passing year since the 2013 riot, the show has become more of a surf contest. Seems like a redundant thing to say about the World Surf League's 6-star World Qualifying Series event, but anyone who attended the US Open between 2005 and 2013 knows what I'm talking about. If not, Google each year and see for yourself. Promo girls in string bikinis, fashion shows, alternative rock concert stages, motocross backflips, Red Bull skydivers, swag, and lots of testosterone. Surfing fit somewhere in there, but no one is sure where.

In 2014 the foot came off the gas as VANS took control to return the event to its saltwater roots. In 2015 families realized that their tots could come to the event without over exposure to implanted tatas and FTW tattoos. In 2016 FAMILY was stamped on the backs of event tees. The US Open isn't gangsta' anymore. Good.

To be honest, I was concerned that the crowd reduction I witnessed this year could threaten the future of the event for Huntington Beach. What was once 750,000 attendees strong has dropped down to the 300,000 range. Would this satisfy the higher-ups at VANS? Enter surf shop gossip factoids.

According to management at Huntington Surf & Sport, VANS reported that while official event village attendance was down significantly, on-site product sales were up, providing them with the perfect balance of brand exposure and hard sales. No security concerns, no fires, no bad wrap. Not bad at all. Public perception is positive too. Search the #usopenofsurfing hashtag on Instagram and see for yourself what people saw and had to say.

The US Open of Surfing surf contest will be back and better than ever in 2017. See you there. Bring the kids.

2016 US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach Tatiana Weston Webb

Winner of the all-Hawaiian Women's final, Tatiana Weston Wabb (above), being chaired up after her win over Malia Manuel (pictured below)

2016 US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach

2016 US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach Stephanie Gilmore

With great talent and ever greater sportsmanship the women, Stephanie Gilmore (above) included, ruled the competitive side of the event 

US Open of Surfing - Kainoa Igarashi

Local hero Kainoa Igarashi put together a strong showing with a semi-final finish

US Open of Surfing Strider Wasilewski

World Surf League's Strider Wasilewski running to keep up with the competitors

US Open of Surfing Hall of Fame Induction

Event festivities are also found off the beach, including the Surfers Hall of Fame induction ceremony at HSS on Main and PCH

Stay tuned. More pics to come!

Wish You Were Here - Marcus Maraih, Editor, YAHglobal.Com

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post by : Editor - YAH Yaps