From last month's Puerto Escondido Challenge to the Fiji Pro at Cloudbreak, the Vans World Cup at Sunset to beach breaks in France and reefs in British Columbia, you can pretty much always find a surfing webcast to watch. You can study the instant replays, listen to Pottz’s commentary, and otherwise waste time at work.
But it’s not the same as being there. It’s not the same as being on the beach, feet in the sand, watching the competitors, the crowd and the ocean. Here’s all you need to know to catch the pro surf action (in person) this summer.
The WSL Women’s Qualifying Series comes to Oceanside Pier with not only 6,000 points on the line, but also the Supergirl Skate Pro on the vert ramp, plus a concert and full female-focused action sports festival. Great chance for the groms to see some ripping lady role models, as well.
Huntington Beach swells to max capacity (and there have only been two riots in the competition’s history) although it’s a much more mellow event these days. The US Open is technically a WQS qualifying event, but it brings out much of the elite World Tour making it an amazing opportunity to see Slater, John John and Gabriel Medina.
There is also the Women’s Pro, part of their World Tour, men’s and women’s Junior Pro, a Vans Park Series skate event, the Invitational BMX Bowl contest and Joel Tudor’s Duct Tape Invitational, which is as cool as it gets. Just don’t set a Jeep on fire like they did in ’86.
What Virginia Beach might lack in summer swell, it makes up for with a massive gathering. The Vans Pro, with 3,000 qualifying points on offer, is for top surf talent. But there’s also dozens of amateur surf divisions as well as flag football, volleyball, a 5K, swimsuit competition and boxing, if you want to compete in something.
Hell, there’s even a corn hole tournament. With the Vans Off the Wall BMX Invitational and bands, it’s basically five days of no sleep. This year, watch to see if local boy Michael Dunphy can repeat his 2014 title among an international field.
Although it brings surfers from all corners of the country for the 1,000 qualifying points, it’s something of a showcase for East Coast professional surfing talent … And hush puppies.
Beware that Trestles is located in San Onofre State Beach, so you’ll be paying to park and then doing a 30-minute hike in. There is also a tram, but either way, it’s a long wait. But it’s worth it, considering this is the one event you are sure to catch surfing’s top dogs — and by this point in the season, the world title race is starting to come into focus (although who the hell knows what that means in 2016).
Perhaps you remember when epic surf graced these beaches in 2011, when Quiksilver came to town with the New York Pro? This event is no longer sanctioned by the World Surf League, but has been run by Unsound Surf Shop since the late 90s. Volcom does a nice job of hosting this event now and the fact that it’s in the shadows of NYC with all this city has to offer always makes it exciting.
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