Surfers across the nation (and the globe) are competing in the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, hosted in Huntington Beach, Calif., through July 31.
All week, teen surfers will brave the waves and show off their skills. Surfers are scored on their speed, how innovative their moves are, the variety of maneuvers that they execute, combinations of maneuvers, and the difficulty of the wave they ride. It’s a challenging sport that requires a good sense of timing, balance, and strength.
Long Beach native Nolan Rapoza, 18, loves the sport for the freedom it allows.
Rapoza finished first in his heat of the junior men’s second round on Sunday, and will progress to quarterfinals on July 27.
The junior women’s event also begins on Wednesday. Spectators are welcome; the Surf Stadium is right beside the Huntington Beach pier, so you can watch from on the boardwalk. There are bleachers set up further back in the sand, but spectators can also sit along the shoreline for a closer look. (Tip: regardless of where you sit or stand, binoculars will come in handy!) You don’t need to be a surfer to admire the grace, precision, and speed with which the competitors navigate the waves.
There are also skate and BMX competitions throughout the week at the Vans Pro Park Course, a custom-designed and painted cement course on the sand.
You can go to Huntington Beach to watch the event in person, or check out the schedule and watch live webcasts of the event here.