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After last year’s riot, a tamer, gentler US Open of Surfing comes to Huntington Beach




Huntington Beach is busy with beachgoers on a recent afternoon. The beach will host the U.S. Open of Surfing starting Saturday.
Huntington Beach is busy with beachgoers on a recent afternoon. The beach will host the U.S. Open of Surfing starting Saturday.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC
Huntington Beach is busy with beachgoers on a recent afternoon. The beach will host the U.S. Open of Surfing starting Saturday.
Crews erect the stands for for spectators to watch the U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, which begins this weekend.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC
Huntington Beach is busy with beachgoers on a recent afternoon. The beach will host the U.S. Open of Surfing starting Saturday.
Daniel Lopez checks the surf at Huntington Beach. The scaled-down U.S. Open of Surfing set to start this weekend is a good thing, Lopez said. The event will return to the roots of the contest, which should be about surfing instead of a raging party, he said.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC
Huntington Beach is busy with beachgoers on a recent afternoon. The beach will host the U.S. Open of Surfing starting Saturday.
Alana Blanchard competes at the U.S. Open of Surfing on July 21, 2010.
Courtesy of U.S. Open of Surfing


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The U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach kicks off tomorrow. The biggest surfing competition in the world brings in millions of dollars for Surf City, USA and local businesses. But this year, event organizers and city officials are scaling back the event in an attempt to prevent a repeat of what happened last year. After the competition, thousands of people flooded Main Street and a riot ensued that ended up costing the city over $30,000 in damages. 

Fast-forward to this weekend, where alcohol sales and consumption will be banned. It also won’t feature a live music stage, and there will be an increase in police presence. 

The competition attracts tens of thousands of spectators every year. Has last year’s riot taken the bloom off the competition?

Guests:

Mitch O’Brien, Lieutenant, Huntington Beach Police Department; for four years, Lt. O'Brien represented the city's interests in organizing the US Open of Surfing

Dave Brooks, Founder of Amplify - a new media company in the events business; and surf enthusiast