Huntington Beach officials were pleasantly surprised today in a meeting with U.S. Open of Surfing promoters that everyone agrees this summer's event must be scaled back to avoid a repeat of last year's rioting.
City officials met with promoters today to hear their plans for this summer's U.S. Open of Surfing, Huntington Beach police Capt. Russell Reinhart said.
"We're going to have the event, we're not canceling, but we don't want what happened last year to happen again," Reinhart said. "The event's going to be smaller."
Other changes include no alcohol sponsorships and no live bands with more of a focus on the surfing competition, Reinhart said.
"The bands were drawing (thousands) for a free concert on the beach and the problems were coming out of that," Reinhart said.
Also, there won't be an array of vendors handing out free energy drinks and other goodies, Reinhart said.
"Kids were coming down to get that stuff, watch the bands and it had nothing to do with the surf contest. It was drawing the wrong kind of crowd," Reinhart said.
"It's still going to be a great surf contest and a fun event, but it's not a spring break in the middle of summer on Main Beach.
"The promoter knows that if there's no change the event will go away. They want a good sporting event and everyone acknowledges it got out of control last year," Reinhart said. "We expected push back, but everyone's agreeing."
Multiple people were arrested following last July's eight-day competition, which ended with fights, vandalism and even arson.
--City News Service