The US Open Of Surfing: An Epilogue to the Shit Storm

Monday, 22 July 2013

Words: David “Crappy” Campbell


It seems that our brave Orange County correspondent is being overwhelmed by something far greater than the sum of all of us.

By midday the show that wasn’t supposed to arrive, yet, has arrived. This event, this happening, is something. Chances are you have never seen something like this, not many people have, although you should. You should be here, engulfed in this massive dust storm, breathing in these toxins that I am breathing in, witnessing whatever the fuck it is that is happening here. We here don’t know what it is, but it seems like a mixture of July 4th pride, Spring Break sexiness, Mall of America consumerism, Vegas capitalism and a touch of Bud Light sleaziness. Just a touch.

I’ve come to believe that the crowd that I am a part of is either the heart, nucleus, or headquarters of this beast. The surfing, the skateboarding, the merchandising, the concerts – all are mere sideshows to the crowd. The crowd is the main event, especially on a day like today, when the waves are pumping yet only the juniors are surfing.

Bros talking about the expiration date on their gym memberships; chicks asking one another, “Do you think he saw us?”; 17 year-olds pushing their teenage breasts out while the pros walk by and guys who don’t know Sex Wax from sex lubricant throwing footballs, vying for their attention.


If someone, or something is in control, is steering this beast, then where are we going? Which road are we taking, what’s the destination? Surely it’s not just to increase consumerism, to make us buy more things, is it? Is this crowd the embodiment of surf-capitalism, taking the sacred art that we all hold so dear and close to our hearts and exploiting it to sell laceless sneakers? I know the bearded fucks in Oregon, surfing in those frigid conditions, with all those famous left points and cold water and no one around, are smirking at what’s going on here. But from which authority, I wonder. They’ve never been here, examined it, taken it head on. Their beards have never brushed the belly of this beast.

All the bad tattoos and piercings are congregating around something as loveable as riding waves. As the crowd/beast kicks up more toxic sand and my ears are filled with more, and more vacuous inanities, and I feel dizzy. I need a beer; I need to touch base with something real. A friend and I navigate the toxic cloud and find a barstool. It is with relief we lap up one bottle, then another. Conversation turns to our favourite barrels, best rides, and favourite surfs. The pall drains from our faces and is replaced by the glow of surfing, of stoke, of storytelling.

Maybe it’s just the beer, but the talking takes me back to why I love surfing so much, why I give a fuck about a spectacle such as this. The US Open needs this crowd, but it’s not the main event. The crowd only cares about itself, and when you’re out of it you remember the surfing, the performances that have gone down here over the years. Now, with Vans at the helm, the setup is exactly the same, but with an added element of coolness. We will see how it pans out. The main event starts tomorrow, the waves will deliver and the crowd will continue kicking up dust, oblivious to what’s happening in the water. And I’m just fine with that.




  • The US Open Of Surfing: The Final Day

    Alejo Muniz walks away $100,000 richer and Carissa Moore takes the Women's WCT lead.

    more »
  • The US Open Of Surfing: The Chaos Before The Storm

    The Quarter Finalists are decided in time for the final day.

    more »
  • The US Open Of Surfing: Friday

    In which Kelly Slater is knocked by Michel "Spartan" Bourez.

    more »
  • The US Open Of Surfing: All About Surfing

    Or is it? Our US correspondent deciphers the surroundings of the US Open, on the fifth day...

    more »
  • The US Open Of Surfing: The Beast Master Cometh.

    The second day of competition resumes and our man on the ground brings you all the details.

    more »
  • The US Open Of Surfing: A Different Type of Beast

    There are many beasts that prowl this terrain, as our brave correspondent discovers.

    more »
  • Mitch is Cruising All the Way to the Hurley Lowers Pro

    Where it seems our Seppo scribe becomes quite enamoured with the Australian WQS superstar.

    more »
  • The US Open Of Surfing: The Calm Before the Shit Show

    The waves show for the opening weekend of the US Open of Surfing. We bring you all the details...

    more »
  • Who is JOB 2.0 - US Open of Surfing - Episode 17

    Jamie is in southern California for the Body Glove Invasion California Tour. After giving surf...

    more »


  • Sally Squares Up With The Box

    A trip with Tom Innes.
  • One of the Biggest Great Whites Ever Tagged off the Coast of WA

    At 5.04 metres, Jaws lives!
  • Alana and Sally Sign Personal Endorsement Deals

    Helloooo Samsung and Ripcurl.
  • Kelly Slater On The Project

    Kelly Slater talks competing, quiting and motivation on Australia's talk show "The Project". Skip to the 35-minute mark.
  • Shark Attack in NSW

    A woman died in Tathra this morning when she was attacked by a shark during her daily swim.
  • Diver Remains Found in WA With Shark Bites

    Alarms were raised Saturday afternoon when a man went missing off the coast of Mandurah. His remains were found last night with visible shark bites.
  • Quiksilver's CEO weighs in on Slater's departure

    Explains the impact of Slater's exit on Quik's marketing plans.
  • Fatal Shark Attack in South Africa

    The ninth attack in seven years at Port St Johns kills a 72-year-old Austrian tourist.