The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, considered one of the largest surfing and action sports competitions in the world, will once again descend on Huntington Beach this week. The nine-day event, which features BMX and skateboarding competitions, kicks off on Saturday and runs through Aug. 4.
Two Southern California natives highlight the field of surfers hitting the waves near the Huntington Beach Pier: 2018 men’s champion Kanoa Igarashi, of Huntington Beach, and women’s champion Courtney Conlogue, of Santa Ana.
Igarashi, 21, is the two-time defending champion in his hometown event.
“I feel really comfortable in Huntington,” Igarashi said in an interview on the event’s website during last year’s event. “Luck always seems to be on my side when I compete here. Every year I have all my friends on the beach and that fires me up. It fires them up too, to see a hometown boy making heats.”
In international competition, Igarashi represents Japan and is vying for a spot in the sport’s Olympic debut during the 2020 Tokyo Games. In the meantime, he is trying to become the first male to win the U.S. Open three straight times. Last year, he beat out fellow Californian Griffin Colapinto in the final. Colapinto will also be in this year’s field.
Conlogue, meanwhile, will be aiming to win the World Surf League’s Women’s Qualifying Series 10,000, which will award prize money equal to the men’s event. The week will also feature men and women’s Pro Junior events, plus the longboard-style Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational series.
The U.S. Open of Surfing has been held annually since 1959 at Huntington Beach, a stretch of coastline known for its usually strong surf. This week’s forecast predicts average waves in the 2- to 4-foot range, with the possibility for bigger swells at the end of the competition next Saturday and Sunday, according to surfline.com.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Huntington Beach community again this year,” Kristy Van Doren, Vans Senior Director of North America Brand Marketing, said in a release. “To showcase and honor the evolution of surf culture and the talented personalities that have made it what it is today.”