Surf Bros Must Die

A special report on how to keep the U.S. Open of Surfing riot-free

Surf Bros Must Die
Illustration: Luke McGarry | Design: Dustin Ames

I was in a shitty hotel in Amarillo, Texas, trying to get some sleep after 17 hours on the road, when I received a text from web editor Taylor Hamby.

"Riots at the U.S. Open of Surfing" in Huntington Beach, she wrote. "Absolute chaos."

The first thought I had was why do OC riots always happen when I'm on vacation? My second thought: Again? Third: DUH. Fact is, no city is more closely associated with riots than Surf City, usually caused by errant bros after one surfing event or other. And while it's fun to see melees on the 10 o'clock news that harm only windows, it's not constructive in the long run.

That's why officials from the U.S. Open, the Huntington Beach Police Department and City Hall have joined together to change the atmosphere of the town during the event. More emphasis on sports, less on the scene. No alcohol on the beach. Less of a party in the streets. And keep anyone who's not interested far, far away on the Balboa Peninsula.

It's a move that has support among longtime surfers, residents and news racks, as you'll read in the stories that follow. But Huntington Beach's riotous past, present and future is hard to shake—so if you see some tatted-up guy in shades wailing on a guy who looks like him, with both mouthing off to cops, don't say we didn't warn you. Have a great U.S. Open! Drink responsibly—and don't riot, por favor. Leave that for Anacrime. . . .

*     *    *     MORE IN THIS SPECIAL REPORT     *     *     *

"The Surf This Time" by Courtney Hamilton

"Cops vs. Bros" by Nick Schou

"'Bros, Stay the Fuck Away'" by Gustavo Arellano

"True Watermen" by Moss Perricone