If you don't approach it right, the Vans U.S. Open can literally be the most overwhelming week on the calendar of surf events. The hordes of sweaty people, the endless lineup of must-see heats, parties, and surf movie premieres, and again, the hordes of sweaty people. But, if you stick to a well-planned itinerary, you can skip the indecision and actually have a lot of fun enjoying contemporary surf culture. Plus, it's a great time to see some of the best surf films of the year. Just remember to stay hydrated and to avoid, at all costs, those people who stand on the corner in hippie/Burning Man clothes, holding signs that say "Free Hugs."
Here's our recommended itinerary for your visit to the 2017 Vans U.S. Open, starting today:Event: Vans Stoke-O-Rama
When: Saturday, July 29th, 8:00am- 3:00pm
Where: 9th Street Beach
Why: If you have kids, or are a grom yourself, this is good chance absorb some positive vibes before the start of the event. The Gudauskas trio started these free surf competitions for young kids six years ago. The event is open to the first 100 Huntington Beach residents. Sign up at Jack's Surf Shop at 101 Main Street.
Event: Train like Sally Fitzgibbons
When: Sunday, July 29th, 9:00am (Register here)
Where: 5th and PCH
Why: Just in case you feeling like working out before the parties commence. Plus, have you seen Sally's washboard abs? The event will include a 45-minute work out led by Sally herself, and at the end of it, you'll receive a goody bag full of healthy stuff—stuff you can maybe use to cure your forthcoming hangovers.
Event: Men's QS Trials
When: Sunday, July 30th, 8:00am
Where: The Pier
Why: The trials will decide who will get to compete in the main QS 10,000 event. It'll be a 32-man format, featuring talents such as Jake Marshall and Parker Coffin.
Event: World Premiere of Shadow Company
When: Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Where: Bungalow for 21-and-older, Pacific City for all ages
Why: Surfline's new flick features some of the most skilled barrel riders in the business. Koa Rothman, Billy Kemper, Luke Davis, and Nathan Florence spent the past six months hunting down cylindrical perfection all over the planet in places like Fiji and the Caribbean, and the result should be one banger of an edit.
Event:Vans Park Series
When: Wednesday, August 2nd through Sunday, August 6th
Where: Vans Pro Park
Why: If you feel like taking a break from the surf action, cruise on over to the skatepark, where some of the best talents (both men and women) will go head to head in the final stop before the World Championships event in Shanghai. We recommend stopping by on the 5th, to catch Greyson Fletcher and Curren Caples show of their style in the semifinals.
Event: Surfing Walk of Fame
When: Thursday, August 3rd, 9:00am – 11:00am
Where: Jack’s on Main Street
Why: The Walk of Fame (different from the Hall of Fame, somehow) is an annual event where six people are honored in the categories of Surf Pioneer, Surf Champion, Woman of the Year, Surf Culture, Local Hero, and Honor Roll. This year, Jeff Hakman, Barton Lynch, Pam Burridge, Jim Jenks, Timmy Reyes, and Huntington Beach High School 50th Anniversary Coaches will be honored this year in the respective aforementioned categories. Tickets for the luncheon following can be purchased at Jack's Surf Shop.
Event: House of Vans: Guitar Lessons with Jared and Jonathan of The Mattson 2
When: Thursday, August 3rd, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Where: Van Doren Village
Why: Because this might be the coolest event on the entire schedule. If you're not familiar with The Mattson 2, go to Spotify or your local record store or wherever you get your music and get familiar with their jazzy tunes. Anyways, the duo is really into surfing—they even live-scored last year's SURFER awards.
Event: Talk Story with Quik’s Top Athletes
When: Thursday, August 3rd, 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: The Quiksilver store on Main Street
Why: For a few hours, Mavs charger and CT commentator Pete Mel will host a panel of Quik ‘CT-ers and freesurfers. Stop by to hear what Leo Fioravanti, Zeke Lau, Jeremy Flores, Koa Rothman, Wiggolly Dantas, Connor O’Leary and Kanoa Igarashi have to say about their careers. Event: World Premiere of Greetings!
When: Thursday, August 3rd, 7:30pm
Where: The Bungalow
Why: Open to the public and all ages, this event should be a good time. Expect a 15-minute edit of Dylan Graves, Wade Goodall, Dane and Pat Gudang exploring the Caribbean in search of good times. Event: Root: Mikey Wright Web Series Premiere
When: Thursday, August 3rd, 8:00pm to 2:00am
Where: Holiday Bar, Costa Mesa
Why: Right after Quik’s Talk Story, you can head straight to the Quik party, which will showcase Mikey Wright’s new web series. Anything with Mikey, we’re guessing, is sure to be chock full of sky-high airs, unhinged carves, RATM and/or middle fingers.
Event: Snapt 3 Reloaded World Premiere Party
Where: The Observatory in Santa Ana
When: Friday, August 4th, Doors open at 7:00, Tickets $20:http://www.observatoryoc.com/node/3147
Why: The long awaited part three of the Snapt trilogy will surely be as good as its predecessors, thanks in part to its all-star cast. Featured surfers include Bruce Irons, Mason Ho, Jack Robinson, Bobby Martinez, Asher Pacey, Josh Kerr, Ian Crane, Dustin Barca, Seth Moniz and Zeke Lau, just to name a few. We're guessing the after party will be as good as the on-screen footage.
Event: Mick Fanning and Bethany Hamilton Hall of Fame Induction
When: Friday, August 4th, 9:00am – 11:00am
Where: Huntington Sport and Surf on Main Street
Why: It's about time these two were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Jeez. As cliché as it may sound, both are two of the most inspirational humans in the realm of surf—not only for their supernatural surfing abilities, but also for their persevering and humble characters. Show up and pay some respect.
Event: SURFER Magazine "All Together Now" Party at the Bungalow
When: Saturday, August 5th, 6:00 pm until late
Where: The Bungalow
Why: In conjunction with Flor de Cana, we're gathering together surf fans (and rum fans) to celebrate the launch of our newest issue: the "Community" issue. Bring your friends and mosey on down to The Bungalow to enjoy the festivities. This is the one event you obviously can't miss.