Big waves help build excitement as Vans US Open of Surfing continues in Huntington Beach

David González Image
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Big waves help build excitement at US Open of Surfing
Surf City USA is living up to its name as the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing entered its fourth day in Huntington Beach on Tuesday.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Surf City USA is living up to its name as the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing entered its fourth day in Huntington Beach on Tuesday.

Organizers said conditions have been perfect both for the athletes and the people who have come out to enjoy all the action.

David Kohn has been attending the event for more than 40 years.

"When the waves are big everything is fun," Kohn said. "Every wave they take off on is exciting."

On Tuesday, the men continued to showcase their maneuvers and aerials out in the water.

Bailey Barajas is a local who enjoys watching the competition.

"When you live here, it's just kind of part of the culture," Barajas said.

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"I take every day as a gift and I don't take life for granted," photographer Steven Ekenstam says.

Jennifer Lau, vice president of IMG Action Sports who puts on the Open, said a hurricane swell came in and pushed some big waves up to shore.

"Basically, it's allowing a lot of the surfers to be able to really work the pier and really highlight Huntington as the greatest break," Lau said.

For spectators who follow the sport, the high surf is great but it comes with its challenges.

"It's much more difficult to paddle back out and get another wave because the size and the current, so the guys are struggling and they're running back up the shore as opposed to paddling out," Kohn said.

Others attended for the first time, like John and Tammy Konzen who were happy they got to watch some of the world's greatest surfers do what they do best.

"That's dangerous stuff, but we like everything about it," John said.

"Following along as best as I can," Tammy said.

With five days of competition left, organizers and fans expect things to get better heading into the weekend.

"I think you're really starting to feel the spirit of just people coming together and really highlighting and celebrating this great event out here in Huntington," Lau said.

If you're not into surfing, Lau said they've built a city on the sand so there's plenty of things to check out including shops and a skate park.

"Come Friday, Saturday, look for a full beach," Kohn said.

The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing is free and runs through Aug. 7.