Of the action sports featured over the weekend at X Games 17, one of the most popular remains absent: surfing. That is where the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing comes in, beginning Saturday and extending through Aug. 7, at Huntington Beach.
The annual event attracts more than half a million fans and the top surfers in the world, as well as skateboarders and BMX riders who join in on the action next weekend.
"Essentially, it's like action sports Mardi Gras," said James Leitz, the event organizer from IMG, which owns and operates the U.S. Open of Surfing. "Action sports have evolved. From subculture and counterculture, this now is the culture.
"This is the new ballgame."
Two-time defending champion and Huntington Beach native Brett Simpson will headline the surfers as he pursues a three-peat.
"There are a lot of good surfers from around here and we're all competitive," Simpson said. "We've all pushed each other.… There's a lot of guys who have done well in the event, but I've been the one who's done the best."