Heading to Huntington Beach for the U.S. Open of Surfing? Here’s a guide

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier starting Saturday to catch a glimpse of one of the world’s largest professional sports competitions: the annual Vans U.S. Open of Surfing.

The event is slated to run through Aug. 6, featuring more than 200 of the top men and women surfers.

BMX and skateboard contests also are on the schedule.

Graham Stapelberg, the World Surf League’s executive vice president and general manager of tours, said he is expecting about 750,000 people to show up throughout the week. He said it’s by far the league’s biggest event.

Top surfers such as Kolohe Andino, Filipe Toledo and Huntington Beach’s Brett Simpson are scheduled to compete.

Simpson, a two-time U.S. Open winner, told Daily Pilot columnist Joe Haakenson this month that he’s hoping to put on a good show.

“A lot has changed [since winning in 2009 and ’10], but I still get just as excited and nervous as I did my first time in the event,” Simpson said. “I feel I may be a bit more relaxed and understand more of what it takes to win the event. You need to surf really well but also need some breaks to go your way to have a long run in the event.”

Stapelberg said the U.S. Open has become more family-friendly in the past several years as a result of a variety of changes, including beefing up security to deal with inappropriate visitor behavior. Rioting broke out following the Open in 2013.

Along with the surfing, some of the world’s best skateboarders and bike riders will battle it out on ramps near the beach as part of the Vans Park Series Pro Tour and Vans BMX Pro Cup World Championships.

For guests looking for something not sports-related, a large Vans store will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the sand. Next to the store, at the Van Doren Village, people can participate in activities including screen printing, guitar lessons and making their own surf wax.

The Pier Plaza amphitheater just north of the pier will present free screenings of the movies “Moana” (7 to 9 p.m. Sunday) and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (7 to 9 p.m. Monday).

Stapelberg said parking can be challenging at the Open, so those looking for a spot at the beach along Pacific Coast Highway are advised to get there before 9 a.m.

Others can park downtown at metered spaces or at parking structures such as the Main Promenade at 222 Third St., the Strand at 155 Fifth St. or the Pierside Pavilion at 126 Main St.

For visitors who don’t want to deal with parking, Visit Huntington Beach is offering a shuttle service with special routes for U.S. Open weekends. The shuttle will pick up people from Huntington Beach High School at 1905 Main St. and Edison High at 21400 Magnolia St. from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and drop them off at Main and Orange streets every half-hour. The last shuttle will depart downtown at 9:30 p.m.

During Open finals weekend Aug. 5 and 6, the shuttle also will pick up from the Huntington Beach Civic Center at 2000 Main St.

For more shuttle information, visit


Note: The surfing schedule for Monday through Aug. 6 will be based on surf conditions.


8 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Vans “Stoke-O-Rama” youth surfing

8 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.: Junior men surfing, Round 1

1:20 to 4 p.m.: Junior men surfing, Round 2


8 to 10:40 a.m.: Men’s surfing trials, Round 1

10:40 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.: Men’s surfing trials, quarterfinals

12:20 to 1:10 p.m.: Men’s surfing trials, semifinals

1:30 to 2 p.m.: Men’s surfing trials, finals


9 a.m. to noon: Vans BMX Pro Cup qualifier practice

12:30 to 3 p.m.: Vans Park Series skate qualifier practice

6:30 to 7 p.m.: Vans BMX flatland demonstration


9 a.m. to noon: BMX Pro Cup qualifier practice

12:30 to 3 p.m.: Vans Park Series skate qualifier practice

Aug. 2

3 to 5 p.m.: Vans Park Series select pro skate practice

5 to 7 p.m.: Vans Park Series women’s skate practice

Aug. 3

2 to 4 p.m.: Vans Park Series women’s skate qualifier

4 to 5 p.m.: Vans Park Series women’s skate final

Aug. 4

10 a.m. to noon: Vans BMX Pro Cup qualifier

2 to 4 p.m.: Vans Park Series skate qualifier

Aug. 5

2 to 6 p.m.: Vans Park Series skate semifinals, final and awards

Aug. 6

To be determined: Women’s and men’s surfing finals

3 to 5:15 p.m.: Vans BMX Pro Cup final and awards



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