With a nickname like “Surf City, U.S.A.,” Huntington Beach is the obvious place for the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, a 9-day sun-and-waves extravaganza that is said to be the world’s largest surf event. Esteemed pros such as Kelly Slater and Rob Machado have taken the top title here in years past, so you know you’re bound to see some amazing moves on the water. Granted, you won’t be alone—over a half-million surfing fans typically fill the beach and town every summer during this massive series of events—but the shared passion for the sport makes the vibe all the more intense.
The surfing competitions see some of the world’s best surfers, in men’s and women’s categories, vie for the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series 10,000 (the 10,000 represents the number of points up for grabs that count toward qualifying for a coveted spot on the next year’s World Surf League Championship Tour). Also taking place are the Pro Junior events for the sport’s up-and-coming talent, the Stoke-O-Rama youth surf event, and the Duct Tape Festival longboard competition, which will feature over two dozen of the world’s best male and female loggers.
In addition to all the wave riding that will be on display waterside, the event offers a full calendar of activities across the sand to enjoy, including gear customization workshops, surfboard-shaping classes, skate and BMX demonstrations, live music, vendor exhibitions and giveaways, and art installations.
In short, it’s a mega-beach party in every direction. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out such Huntington Beach highlights at the Surfers’ Hall of Fame, the Huntington Beach Pier, and the International Surfing Museum.