California Monday, August 04, 2014
My own personal Hell.
Thank you for your message, however I hardly believe I am “wrong.” Unfortunately, I don’t see much solid reasoning as to why I am either.
While I like what the event tries to showcase, that is hardly EVER the case. I was disappointed to hear about the crowds this year since Vans took over the event for the first time and had a chance to turn it around. A friend of mine who has close relationships at Hurley said that a majority of the reason Hurley pulled out this year is because it was too much of a liability. the US Open has become this devouring monster. Every year the US Open crowd wrecks the city of HB and overcrowds the beaches with their low-class acts (so I agree with you there). However, knowing that this happens every year, the event is still POORLY planned. There is the obvious nuisances like bad parking and large crowds, but some of my main issues is staffing and merchandisers. There is never enough security and people preventing these so-called “riots” (laughable) and I’ve heard numerous business owners acknowledging the rise of theft that week. Thousands of people infiltrate the area and you don’t provide enough staffing and security?
From being a teen before, I know that I didn’t want to pay for anything and I know that is a huge factor of why so many teens come. They want free waterbottles, free concerts, etc because what teen has tons of cash to pay for an event like this? Or really for anything besides a chipotle lunch? But you now run into teens coming wasted, high, having profanities written on their bodies and I would BET MY LIFE 95% of them have no idea who won the finals to this day. Or who even surfed the entire week. Merchandisers bank on these kids to carry their water bottles, carry their cheap bracelets or whatever else for free because hey, it’s shameless marketing. Kids don’t care because it didn’t cost them a dime.
I also have a problem with the amount of trash that comes into the water after an event like this. It doesn’t just affect the shoreline, it drifts out and affects WAY MORE. Plus who likes paddling out into a sea of Twix wrappers and gatorade bottles? If they don’t have staffing to make sure people aren’t trashing the beach or if they don’t have enough trash receptacles, they are not prepared to handle an event like that.
Quite simply the beach in HB cannot handle an event like that. If they wanted to continue it, I highly suggest they start charging for the event so people who want to actually enjoy the sport can do so. Staffing would be more adequate, it would have less of a festival atmosphere (I’m going to safely assume a good majority of people heard “free concert with big act” and that’s why they came. Otherwise, they need to move this event to a place where surfing can be appreciated because at HB it’s a shit show every single year.
Although the Open did do a lot to clean up their act (read: no big shows, stricter alcohol patrol, etc), I still stand by my opinion on the embarrassing nature of the week. I love what the Open represents for these athletes; I just wish the participants would respect the week as much as the surfers participating did. I admit, I didn't personally go this year but I've gotten numerous friends telling me it really hasn't changed much. I don't have a solution to this problem that hits HB every year, but there is a way to do the Open justice and be a productive participant. Here are a couple of quick tips to not be "that person" at the Open (or any festival):
- Pick up after yourself/don't litter. Your mom isn't cleaning up after you.
- Don't write profanities on your body. Damn, Have some respect for yourself.
- Don't riot about stupid stuff and don't take what isn't yours. Revolutionize about stuff that matters.
- Be responsible with your alcohol intake; bring an actual water bottle (non plastic) to refill and keep yourself hydrated.
- If you're going to an event that showcases real talent, like athletics, pay some respect to the athletes and sponsors that actually make your fun time possible and watch the heats (CONGRATS TYLER WRIGHT, BTW! Such a boss).
Simple isn't it?
Photo by me from the US Open in 2011