The U.S. Open of Surfing begins Saturday in Huntington Beach. The eight-day event brings surfers from around the world to compete in the waves off "Surf City U.S.A." It also brings throngs of spectators.
More than 20 people were arrested at the conclusion of last year's event after fighting broke out in the Huntington Beach business district as masses of people departed the beach. Windows were smashed, portable toilets were toppled and trash rained down on responding riot police from more than a dozen agencies.
To avoid a repeat of last year, organizers and police have made the following changes:
No alcohol: No beer or other alcoholic beverages will be sold at the event's concessions. The "vendor village" itself will also be smaller than in years past.
Bigger fines: Fines for open alcohol have been doubled to $250.
No music: The bands and live music that serenaded visitors and competitors alike in previous years will no longer be present.
More security: More police on horseback and bikes will be on hand; an expanded system of surveillance cameras has been installed. And bags, coolers and backpacks will be searched.
Competitions in skateboarding and BMX cycling will also be held. For event and visitor info, check out the U.S. Open of Surfing website.