My boss, TransWorld SURF Editor In Chief Chris Cote at this year's Nike US Open Of Surfing. They 1. must have got him really drunk, and 2. paid him lots of money to do this (or promised ads). And yet, it was probably pretty damn funny to see. Photo: Jack English

Sometimes I miss California: a chest high wave everyday, always some kind of party somewhere, and the best burritos on the planet. But seeing how I got a few chest high-to-head-plus peaks these past few days in New Jersey with some elbow room, I’ll pick apart something I didn’t like all that much about California: The US Open.

Which has now become the Nike US Open Of Surfing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one giant party and if you’re in a bender sorta mood then it’s the place for you. But last year’s event was easily the most amount of people I’ve ever been around at one time. Easily 500,000 over the weekend, most probably to see the sell-outs called Weezer and Green Day (last year’s musical acts at least) nauseatingly perform for free. Because we know damn well that every one of those damned souls (and yes, mine is damned, too) was not there for just the surfing—the majority probably didn’t even see a single heat. And it looked even more crowded on the webcast this year. How that is possible I do not know.

Just what is that accomplishing I must ask? Will more people start surfing after having seen the US Open or will there just be more ‘roided-out-909ers-in-frats saying that they now surf and brushed shoulders with Kelly Slater as we stride towards a repeat of the 1986 riot? Yes, there are huge strides being made in the professional surfing realm right now to make surfing appeal to the masses, which is fine and well. And yet, we are a long ways off.


is this really what we want happening on the beaches at the highest level of professional surfing?

But in surfing’s attempt to become seen as a legitimate sport are we just becoming their dancing monkeys? Do we see the dollar signs and say, “Yes, I will put on a stars and stripes speedo and dance around on a stripper pole in the sand amidst thousands of people, probably making fun of myself.” Are we just a spectacle for them that will do what they say because we know it’ll be better off for surfing in the long run?

That downward look above is the acceptance of surfing’s inner slut, and the hope that the continuous stream of green from Nike continues to fall at our feet and in our g-bangers. Truth be told, I did watch the majority of the surfing heats on the webcast (and turned it off when some other extraneous event came on), and that part was pretty damn exciting—and a lot less claustrophobic.

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