California 2012 – Part Three | US Open of Surfing | Huntington Beach, CA

Continued from Part One, here.

Day Four: We woke up at Malibu Creek State Park to a bit of rain, which surprised us because we heard it practically never rains in Southern Cali. It was our goal to be on the road by 7:00am since heats at the US Open started at 8:00am, especially since Kelly & Dane’s heats were the first of the day. But due to the rain, we neglected to get out of our sleeping bags until closer to 8, putting us in Huntington a little after 9:00am. Another reason we wanted to get there early is because we knew parking was going to be an issue, so we were pretty stoked to find a metered spot fairly close to the pier. We got there just in time to see the tail end of Kelly taking out Jesse Mendes and I meet up with my Buddy Micah from La Verne, CA. Me and Micah hung out on the pier shooting the Men’s quarter finals and a bit of the Noseriding Invitational while John and Allie headed back to the car to fill the meter and John wanted to go for a surf. After me and Micah did a little shooting and walked around the contest area, we headed back down to meet up with John and Allie. Once John was done surfing, we all crammed into our little corolla and headed to our home for the night to check in, the Best Western. Showers. Beds. Heaven. We stopped at a phenomenal little mexican place next door to the hotel called Fiesta Grill, regrouped at the hotel, hung up our wet camping gear, then walked back down to the contest area, a good 3 mile trek.
The US Open of Surfing is a pretty big deal, they close Main St that runs perpendicular the beach because of the large volume of people, it’s quite the experience. So we navigated through all that, walked on the pier, checked out some of the shops, took some photos, then stopped at a little pizza joint for beer and pizza. On two separate occasions, someone put smoke bombs in the port-o-potty, causing the fire department to come. It got pretty late, and Micah had to make the drive back to La Verne, we walked back to Micah’s car and he gave us a ride back to the hotel. We all got showered, nursed our sunburns and climbed into our big comfortable beds.
The next day was pretty much the same story, we hung out on the pier watching the contest. By now the crowds have come in a full force, so there was no way I’d be shooting from the pier. John went for a little surf on the north side of the pier, so we watched him until the Mens finals. Miguel Pupo took out Kelly in the Semi’s and Julian Wilson took out Gabe Medina so it was Julian and Pupo in the Final. I made my way down to the water, which was the only available place to stand and shot some photos as Julian took out Pupo for the win. I always watch the live webcasts of these events online, but it’s so different being there, while it’s awesome feeling the energy of the crowds, I couldn’t hear the scores, so I didn’t know who had won until Julian took a wave to the inside and put his hands in the air. I tried to get a video of him coming onto the beach. Bad idea. Everybody that was standing on the beach behind me mobbed the water trying to get close to the 2012 US Open champ. So we left pretty much right after that. We had to make it to Tami & Michael’s house in San Clemente for dinner!

That’s it for Part Three. Stay tuned for Part Four as we made our way back down the coast to San Clemente.