Big Change for the Upcoming Summers in Huntington Beach
by Meghan Jacinto
With the school year coming to an end, many students are counting down the days till summer arrives. And in Huntington Beach, there is one significant event that has been occurring every summer since 1959- the US Open of Surfing. This big-time surfing event involves free music, skateboarding, and various vendors that never fail to attract people to the golden sands and glittering waters of the city’s beaches. Each year, more and more people take notice of this event and gravitate toward Huntington Beach. However, everyone knows that last summer’s competition brought some unwelcome visitors that instigated riots in the downtown area. Destruction, robbery, and vandalism resulted. A city council meeting was held three months after the riots, at which locals urged the administration to make changes for the event to focus almost exclusively on surfing. In response to the debacle, the City of Huntington has now implemented restrictive laws that will significantly affect the US Open of Surfing experience. Alcohol will no longer be permitted in the VIP areas, live music will be abolished, and the size of the vendor village will be reduced. The event will strictly focus on surfing
Locals and non-locals have many different opinions about these new restrictions. Some people think it will be better for the environment downtown. Others worry these changes may reduce the economic benefits of the competition for the city and its residents, and that they will interfere with the spirit of the event. However, it cannot be denied that a financial toll was also exacted by the riots, which cost some small businesses over $1000 dollars in damage. And according to City Council member Connie Boardman, the new plan for the US Open of Surfing will continue to celebrate the city’s 100 years of surfing history. She also hopes these new adjustments will encourage safer behavior among festival goers and help prevent a repetition of the drunken chaos of 2013. If all goes well, this year’s US Open of Surfing event will be beneficial to locals and non-locals alike.