2014 Vans US Open Of Surfing Survival Kit

Not a bad turnout. Photo: Corey WilsonThe belly of the beast. Photo: Corey Wilson

Like climbing Mount Everest, braving the black-throated winds of the Nairobi desert or being male and watching Sex And The City on television, the US Open of Surfing is not for the faint of heart. It's wild and it's dangerous — an untamed social wilderness of day-glow, half-riots and poor critical thinking skills. But like many other situations with elevated risks, the US Open offers a high reward. A successful stay in Huntington Beach is arguably better than a vacation in Dubai. Still, the threats loom. We want you to come to the US Open and we want you to be entertained, happy and most of all, safe. The event kicks off this weekend, so here is our official checklist of what to bring to get the most out of your time in Huntington Beach.

Dan Fogelberg's Greatest Hits on Cassette Disk: Picture this: You're at the Open, slurping a strawberry smoothie and watching Filipe Toledo surf. Isn’t this great? Suddenly, a group of hoodlums stampedes towards you maliciously. What do you do? Scream? Cry? Call the cops? No, no, no. You take out your CD and watch them scurry like little neon bunnies. There is nothing that today's youth fears more than the croons of Daniel Grayling Fogelberg. Alternate options for parents trying to keep their kids safe: dress them in Dan Fogelberg 1984 world tour shirt, ideally from Indianapolis show. Fuck Indianapolis.

White sunglasses: So that you may blend in. Good looks, Fred Durst.

A live Cape Buffalo: You're probably going to drink excessively, which means you're probably going to be hungover, which means you're probably going to experience the paralyzing anxiety that accompanies the world's cruelest hangovers. Store the buffalo in the bathroom of your seaside hotel — when you wake in the morning and open the door, the buffalo will charge you. The petty problems that your mind is creating and labeling as anxiety will melt away as your awareness shifts back to the here and the now. That being a large African mammal trying with all its primal might to impale you.

A Russian Alcoholic: The ultimate wildcard. A drunk from the motherland will inject life to your night like nothing else. Is Sergei going to do a flip off a building, parkour style? Is he going to throw a Molotov cocktail at that police car? Why is he eating a hard-boiled egg at the bar and did he just take it out of his pocket? The fun never ends.

Running shoes, inhibitions, self-promises, great advice and a large Greek salad: So you can think about them and laugh.

Sheepskin condom: Look around. Men are wearing long beards and writing in leather-bound books, women are wearing headdresses and crafting things out of wood. Everything is regressing to the days of old. So why not stay a few steps ahead of the pack and reintroduce the sheepskin condom? Your buffalo would probably be pretty stoked on you having it, too.

152 Cans of Campbell's tomato soup: Listen, I've been sprayed by plenty (10+) of skunks before and a tomato soup bath is a surefire way to ditch the stink. After a week of alcohol, sweat and secretions at the US Open, a soup bath is in your best interest. Plus you can eat the soup when you're done bathing. Boom, free meal, you're welcome.

Brendan Buckley: I'll be patrolling the streets of Huntington Beach like a vigilante, citizen arresting anyone and everyone (try me, Jeremy Flores) that disturbs the peace. You'll be safe around of me and you’ll be safe at SURFING Magazine's bar, The Pope's Living Room. See you there.