SoCal prepares for the biggest surfing competition in the world

AFP Relax News
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Gabriel Mendina

Top world surfers are making their way to Huntington Beach, California, recognized worldwide as Surf-City, USA, for a chance to qualify for coveted spots on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour.

Expected to draw a crowd of over 800,000 and bring over 20 million dollars to the Orange County, California economy, the 2014 Vans Open of Surfing might only be a qualifying event, but it's huge.

Competition starts bright and early on Saturday with the Junior Men's division and will continue through Sunday, August 3, finishing with an awards ceremony to crown the top women and men and wish them good luck on the ASP World Tour.

So far, the long range surf forecast is looking good: A South by Southwest groundswell is expected to build for the first weekend, although storm activity in New Zealand could shake things up later on.

Regularly updated surf reports are available on the event's website and via Surfline in addition to the schedule for the upcoming week of competition.

The event incorporates its brother board sport of skating and freestyle associate BMX riding in the Van Doren Invitational Pro/Am Bowlrider's Contest, scheduled to occur between August 1 and 3.

Admission is free, for the event is a celebration of youth culture in the domains of sports, fashion and music, offering numerous artistic performances and interactive vending booths at which attendees can browse and purchase the latest clothing and sports equipment.

For those who can't make it to California, and for international viewers, 28 of the 36 events are available on the competition website by means of live webcasts to reach 110 countries, made possible by youth-oriented IMG Media.

For US residents, X Games has agreed to promote the event in itsongoing TV series World of X Games, with a focus on individual athletes, broadcasted on ABC. Listings are available on the X Games website.

This year marks 100 years of surfing in the city dubbed "Surf City, USA," which began in 1914 when railroad magnate Henry Huntington invited Hawaiian surfer George Freeth to demonstrate his skills during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the city's first municipal pier.

The 2014 Vans US Open of Surfing will take part in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Huntington Beach, and nostalgia-themed celebrations to remember surfing's roots are planned throughout the week.

City-sponsored events to celebrate the anniversary are numerous and ongoing; for more information, please refer to the anniversary website.