U.S. Open of Surfing Turns Huntington Beach Into Hotbed of Extreme Sports

The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing arrived on Huntington Beach this weekend, turning the seaside city into an extreme-sports fan paradise featuring some of the best surfers, skateboarders and BMX riders from across the globe.

The festival, which runs through Aug. 6, kicked off early Saturday morning with the first round of heats in the junior men’s division. Though the summer months typically produce sporadic wave forecasts, many are excited for this year’s iteration of the festival because of Hurricane Hillary, a Category 1 storm currently stirring above the ocean off the Southern California coast.

The storm won’t bring much, if any rain, but it will bring swells expected to produce 4-to 6-foot waves throughout the weekend and 8-to-9-foot waves by Monday and Tuesday. According to 10-year averages of Huntington Beach from Surf-Forecast.com, waves that height come around just 2% of the time throughout July and August, potentially making this summer’s competition the most thrilling in years.

There was plenty going on out of the water as well.