Surfing, skateboarding and BMX fans flock to the Vans US Open

World’s Biggest Action Sports Festival Ends in US Surf City

HUNTUNGTON BEACH – The 2022 Vans US Open of Surfing wrapped up in Huntington Beach last week after nine days of world-class surfing, skateboarding and BMX competition. Celebrating the epitome of Southern California beach culture, the world’s largest action sports festival saw large crowds flocking to the pier to cheer on their favorite surfers and filling the Vans Skatepark across the sand . The anchors of the nine-day festival were the World Surf League’s Challenger Series, the Vans Duct Tape Invitational and the Vans Showdown. The event footprint spanned 13 acres on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier from July 30 to August 7.

The theme for this year’s Vans US Open of Surfing focused on the importance of environmental responsibility with an eco-consciousness built into activities, showcasing the connection between sustainability, surf culture and surf products.

Hawaiians Bettylou Sakura Johnson and Ezekiel Lau were crowned winners of the World Surf League Challenger Series at the Vans US Open of Surfing on Sunday August 7 in Huntington Beach. Valley News/Kenny Morris, WSL Photo

After their huge final days of competition, the Hawaiians Bettylou Sakura Johnson and ABC’s “Ultimate Surfer” Champion Ezekiel Lau, were crowned winners of the World Surf League Challenger Series. Sakura Johnson and Lau scored critical wins midway through the Challenger Series season on their mission to join the Championship Tour. Australian Macy Callaghan and Brazilian Joao Chianca came second.

“I’m so happy, I always wanted to win the US Open, it’s an event I’ve watched since I was young,” Lau said. “Andy Irons won a few years ago, he was my role model, and this is for him, Sunny and all Hawaiians. When Bettylou won it (final round) I thought to myself, this is mine now I have to put this away.

“It’s been a long week here in Huntington, but I have all the support and everything I need; I’m healthy, I’ve been training for this, I’m very lucky to get the win,” said Sakura Johnson. “It gives me a ton of confidence (winning the event). This is one of the biggest events we have on the Challenger Series, everyone is watching here. I’ve always wanted to win a comp here and I’m super happy I was able to do it today.

For the second time in Huntington Beach, the local skate community attended the Vans Showdown, a unique and “useless” street skate contest, far removed from traditional skate formats. Aiming to promote the playful and cultural side of skateboarding, while showcasing the best skateboarders in the world, it was Hayley Wilson and Jhancarlos Gonzalez Who won.

Two-time WSL Longboard Tour champion and defending winner of the Vans Duct Tape Invitational Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) and three-time world champion Taylor Jensen (USA) made it to the podium on the second of three stops on the WSL Longboard Tour. Kaleopa’a defeated three-time WSL longboard champion Honolua Blomfield in a one-on-one Hawaiian final. Kaniela Stewartalso representing Hawaii, finished second to Jensen in the men’s competition.

Finally, the very first street competition Vans BMX Waffle Cup held on American soil has concluded its final rounds, rewarding decorated riders Kevin Peraza and Perris Benegas as the big winners of the event. The course featured obstacles designed by BMX partners and associated nonprofits, The Bloom, Radshare and Cult BMX. Featuring over 50 of the world’s best BMX riders, the Vans BMX Waffle Cup also celebrates originality, style and innovation.

Recognized as the world’s largest professional sports competition and action sports festival, the Vans US Open of Surfing is currently sanctioned by the World Surf League and hosted in conjunction with event owner IMG. Official partners for this year’s event included Vans, Visit Huntington Beach, Red Bull, Flying Embers, Hydro Flask, Shiseido, 805, Pacifico, Sambazon, StillHouse, Youtheory, BF Goodrich, Fu Wax, Boxed Water and Just Egg.

For full results and additional information, please visit: VansUSOpenofSurfing.com. Article contributions provided by Vans US Open of Surfing.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at [email protected].