Although Cypress, Calif.-based Vans originally rolled to fame as a skate shoe brand, the VF Corp.-owned action sports label is set go big in its debut as the title sponsor of the U.S Open of Surfing when the event returns to Huntington Beach on July 20-28.
In addition to men's, women's and juniors' surfing competitions, the eight-day event will include a longboard event called the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational, the details of which we're a bit unclear on. (What we are clear on is that the duct tape part has nothing to do with sponsorship -- since that partiular event is being sponsored by Pacifico.)
Other components include a lineup of bands on a dedicated music stage and skateboarding and BMX competitions for both men and women called the Van Doren Invitational with a total prize purse of $130,000. According to Vans' announcement, the bowl jam will take place in an all-cement bowl on the sand in Huntington Beach inspired by (and we quote here because it seems significant) "the legendary bowlriders' mecca the Skatepark du Prado bowl in Marseilles France."
For noncompetitors of every stripe and checkerboard there will be also be something called Van Doren Village, with what's being billed as the world's largest photo booth (hopefully it won't spit out a single strip of photos 6 feet wide and half a mile long), a DIY art exhibit and the Van Doren Kitchen, a barbecue grill manned by none other than Steve Van Doren, the son of company cofounder Paul Van Doren. We've seen the man flipping burgers and tossing dogs for hours at a time. He likes it so much he's even got a custom pair of Vans slip-ons decorated with sizzling grill meats.
This year's title sponsorship is the first in a three-year deal with the U.S. Open of Surfing's owner and producer IMG Worldwide. Last year's title sponsor was Nike, which sponsored the surfing competitions alongside the Hurley brand (which it also owns), while the Nike-owned Converse brand was the title sponsor of the skateboard competition.
Full event details, as well as daily live webcasts once the competition begins, can be found online.