Formerly the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’neill, it will now be known as the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing as Hurley has just signed on as the new title sponsor.
IMG is pleased to announce that Hurley has signed on as title sponsor to the world’s largest professional surfing competition, the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing… …”Hurley brings a fresh perspective to an already rich U.S. Open of Surfing heritage,” said James Leitz, Vice President of IMG Action Sports. “With the 50th anniversary of competitive surfing in Huntington Beach as a backdrop, the 2009 Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing ushers in a new era for the event and its lifestyle components. Together, IMG and Hurley will take this authentic surfing event to new and exciting heights for the participants and the community.”
It’s a pretty far stretch to call the U.S. Open an “authentic surfing event.” Since acquiring the U.S. Open of Surfing back in ‘01, IMG it has pretty much turned it into a zoo. I don’t even think the main focus is on the surfing anymore. It seems like it’s more about herding a few hundred thousand people to the beach to see all the sponsor banners that line the beach and peer. Combine that with the fashion shows, FMX/BMX/Skate demos, and all the other mindless entertainment going on and you hardly have any focus left on the actual surfing.
If you really want to make a significant change the U.S. Open of Surfing, move it somewhere else. You could sign Playboy on as the title sponsor and that still wouldn’t make up for the boring Huntington Beach ankle snappers. You need actual waves to make a surf event exciting.