By Dylan Lightfoot
California is amazing over the summer period, with warm weather every day and the schools are on holiday so the best place to be is at the beach! The US Open has one of the biggest fan bases for any event in the world. Thousands of people are all around the festival and along the pier stretched out into the ocean. Not only is it a surfing event but the worlds best Skaters and BMX riders compete in a Bowl Challenge set up on the beach. It blows me away to feel the amount of energy there is on the beach.
You get all types of different people that come to the event, girls that write there numbers on their bikini bodies that say "Call me ;)" or even some that are brave write "tap this" and "freehugs and kisses". Then you get your religious fanatics standing with signs saying "Repent Now" and shouting out scriptures from the Bible and telling people how the world is going to end! I could people watch for hours at the US Open, it's so interesting.
The best thing about it, is that people are so hyped on surfing. After a couple of my heats people were just so stoked to meet me or have a photo taken for instagram, was refreshing to see. I had a good run in the Pro Junior division making it to the Semi Finals. Every heat I felt so in rhythm with the ocean, picking off good waves, but unfortunately my luck ran out in the Semi Finals - hen I needed the best waves the most!
An amazing contest nonetheless. I had the Fox Surf crew, Frankie D Andrea and Christian Saenz, based here in California, so they helped me out a lot and gave me some insight into Huntington.
My main focus was on the US Open but I mentioned to Frankie from Fox Surf that I would be in California for an extra 2 weeks, so he said "Well, why don't you participate in the Surfercross!" At first I was hesitant as I have not ridden my bike in 2 months and after California I head to Europe for a 4 week leg of 4 QS surfing events. So if I injured myself, it would not reflect well on my career. But I could not resist the opportunity!
So you have a pro class which is all the riders who are pro in either surfing or motocross, then you have the industry which is all the guys in the motocross or surf industry. You then get paired up, so all the pro surfers get paired up with pro motocross riders, so the twosome who does the best in both surfing and motocross wins the overall event.
I got paired up with freestyle maniac Blake Williams AKA Bilko. Remember when Nitro Circus came to South Africa? Yep he was part of that crew! One of the guys doing the backflips and flying through the air on a motorcycle. It was so cool to hangout and get to know his sporting background, he is a absolute legend!
The motocross was held on a scorching hot day, which made wearing our heavy gear that much more difficult. The criteria was to race around the track and tag your partner, after you have completed your lap then he would go and race his lap and so it went on until you completed 6 laps between each of you. It was judged on 2 rounds and based on who was the fastest pair, which would give you the overall result. We got a 12th out of 25 riders in the motocross which was a fair result.
The day was all about chilling in the shade, drinking cool drinks and joking around underneath the gazebos, nothing to prove, just there to have a good time! The next day we headed to surf Trial 6, about a 15 minute drive from Lower Trestles. We had super fun 2 foot waves. We had to paddle out in 15 minute heats with our paired partner, and they scored you on your best wave, but there was one obstacle, Bilko had never surfed before!
We went to try and teach him in a free surf before our heat, he managed to catch a couple waves so we thought he was ready. We started our first heat, I managed to get a bomb in the beginning, scoring a 9, so I was happy!
Bilko caught his first wave, rode it all the way to the beach perfectly, I was blown away by his surfing talent, he then managed to catch a bomb out the back, not only did he ride it all the way to the beach but managed to pull off a head stand, right in front of Sunny Garcia who was walking out for his heat. It was hilarious!
We made it to the surfing finals and both caught a couple good waves and won the overall surfing division. It was classic, Bilko's first time surfing and he won himself a trophy! It was the funnest event I have participated in.