The US Open Of Verting: And The Winner Is…
Dylan Goodale talks us through a hectic event
Yesterday, after nine days of grueling competition, Alejo Muniz defeated Kolohe Andino to win the Vans US Open Of Surfing. Considering the event was live webcasted and social media blasted, this is already ancient news.
However there was another equally important (depending on whom you ask) bout running in conjunction with the surf contest: The US Open Of Verting. This event was unstructured, unsponsored, and unofficial—but still competitive as hell. The rules were simple: turn up, and stay out all night. And the prize? 12-month's bragging rights and a weeklong hangover.
We caught up with Dylan Goodale this morning to get his take on the US Open (of both surfing and verting), the way the final was scored, and Sunday's riots.
Goodmorning Dylan, how ya feeling?
But you're still alive.
That's what I'm saying. It's a miracle.
Are you still in Huntington?
No, I got out of there—I actually just got out of the shower at Brothers [Kolohe Andino's] house. I pulled my bed out of the wall, and I'm finally relaxing.
Describe your US Open experience in one word.
I knew that was coming. How many days and nights did you last?
I went up last Saturday to watch Luke [Davis], and he lost, so I left. Then I came back Tuesday and I went from then on, every day and night. So…that's a lot of days I just realized [Laughs].
How much time did you spend on the beach?
Quite a bit actually. I watched most of the Mens. I was a super surf fan; I'd go surf with Brother and then watch all his heats after. I even watched a lot of the girls. Crazy.
Despite the lackluster surf, the event had some entertaining moments.
Yeah, it didn't change that much from when Hurley did it, I thought Vans did a great job. The waves were actually fun for most of the contest, but I was getting dragged out to surf after the contest so I was on a different program—pretending I was still in the event, grinding it out [laughs]. It's too bad every surf event couldn't have that atmosphere, just in better waves than Huntington.
Yeah, the event always draws a massive crowd. And although a good number of people are actually there for the surfing, what do you think about the rest of the scene?
There are so many weird people. If I wasn't watching the contest, at my hotel, or at the Pope's Living Room [Surfing Magazine's bar], I was on Main Street with my camera. I would just sit and watch. It's the best people watching in the world.
What was the overall vibe you got from the crowd? Not necessarily the crowd in the grandstands for the surfing, but those folks flooding Main Street?
I was grossed out. So many times I thought, "Is this really the future of America?" If I had a 15-year-old daughter I would chain her from being anywhere near the US Open.
What's the best thing you saw all week?
A vine Balaram [Stack] sent me this morning. It's a Vine of this guy knocking out three people in six seconds. For somebody to capture that during the riots? Impressive. Especially on Vine, since you can't delete and re-record anything.
Did you witness the rioting?
I heard about them, but I didn't see anything.
What a bummer that was. A headline on CNN this morning reads: "Surfers riot, clash with police." I know Vans and everyone involved with the US Open is working hard to put out a positive product for the sport of surfing but a few scumbags started a riot, and that's what mainstream media runs with.
It's terrible. Brother was telling me this morning it started because someone poured water on a girl, and then that turned into a fight and escalated into a riot. People were pushing over porta potties, just making a scene. But I can see how it happens, the streets are so overcrowded—you can't even walk around. And it's a weird group of people—none of them are really surfers.
On a different note, what was your most memorable night?
Last night would have been the best had Brother won. I'd say the Surfing Mag party at Sutra. That one was really, really fun.
Speaking of Brother not winning, what was your opinion of the scoring in the final?
Brother's first wave was better than Alejo's. Maybe not a huge amount better, but it should have scored higher than a 7.7. And then Alejo's second wave, a left, also came in higher than Brother's first so I thought that was stupid. I thought overall the scoring was inconsistent, like do the judges want guys doing airs or turns? One heat they would score an air a 9, and the next a 6.5.
Mitch Crews' air [Round 4, heat 8] was a 7, and it should have scored a high 9. It was as good as Julian Wilson’s air [Round 2, heat 3], and that was a high 9. In the final, Brother's air was higher than Mitch or Julian's, that air he did was huge. If you look at Brother's two waves versus Alejo's, it kind of seems Brother could have won. But I don't know, and that's not to take anything away from Alejo, he was working hard and ripping the whole time. He grinded it out, and deserved to win.
In the end it probably should have been closer than it was on the final score.
Yeah, and I actually think Alejo won, especially since Brother never had another chance at a wave, but Brother shouldn't have needed an 8.5 at the end.
Between Nat Young and Kolohe, who both stayed mellow and surfed through to the final day, who went more vertical last night?
Oh, I don't know. It was a battle. If you are in the vertstagram club you probably know. [Laughs]
If you had to crown an official US Open Of Verting champion, who would it be?
John P. Wilson, Nat Young's filmer. He went huge all week.
Anyone come in a close second? Or was John the clear champion.
He took it, hands down. No one else was going as hard as John. Balaram was getting after it, but he was on a different program. He had other goals in mind [Laughs].
*Below: Dylan Goodale, far from Huntington Beach.