Chaos at the U.S. Open

Riot police called to Huntington Beach to subdue unruly crowd

| posted on July 28, 2013

Following the conclusion of the US Open at Huntington Beach, riot police were called to the event to break up an unruly crowd that had gathered at PCH and Main Street. Bedlam appeared to ensue as the crowd tipped over numerous Porta Potties and ran amuck in the streets. According to reports, it took hours before the police were able to calm the violent crowd. Eventually, the Huntington Beach Police Department called in reinforcements to help deal with the situation.

The Huntington Beach Police Department issued this statement: “Officers encountered a large crowd at Main and Pacific Coast Highway. The crowd had gathered at the conclusion of the Van’s US Open of Surfing, an 8 day surf and skate event. A large fight broke out and when officers attempted to break up the disturbance the crowd moved into the downtown area. The crowds began fighting, damaging property and refused to disperse. HBPD requested mutual aid from other agencies to help disperse the crowd. The area was declared an unlawful assembly and officers have moved in to deal with the crowd and make arrests. The police now have control of the downtown area and the disturbance quelled.”

The LA Times is reporting that the situation stemmed from a fight that occurred around 7 p.m., after the event finished. As the events unfolded, World Tour surfer Ace Buchan tweeted the following: “Riots going on in Huntington Beach right now. Choppers and sirens everywhere. Sad end to a good week but it doesn’t surprise me.”

According to reports, HB police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. It was also reported by NBC News Los Angeles that the mob vandalized the EasyRider storefront.

“We were all huddled inside the building and we had the lights off because all the people were up here mobbing around, and I was inside and I saw them tearing down the stop sign,” said Burt Etheredge, who works at the EasyRider. “As soon as that stop sign came down, I knew that stop sign was coming through the window. And sure enough, two seconds later, it did.”

Norman Hortano was a spectator at the event and described the scene at HB as chaotic and dangerous. “It was total chaos. There were more than a hundred people going totally crazy. They were setting small fires, fighting, kicking over Porta Potties, and tearing out street signs. It felt like a mob mentality had taken over.”

After three hours, the crowd was finally subdued by the police. It’s not yet known if there were any injuries or arrests made. Every year, tens of thousands of spectators attend the event.

This was not the first time that crowds have grown unruly at the US Open. In 1986, a riot occurred at the event where a mob overturned police cars and destroyed a lifeguard tower.

  • Dolly Pangan Specht

    so sad, but no surprise here.

  • shred

    disgusting.. fucking kooks

  • Charles

    sad this has to happen at a surf event. but hey, these are the consequences when you turn things into a “mainstream” event. welcome to crowd control and attracting hordes of idiots that have nothing to do with surfing.

  • The Joker

    One step forward two steps back. This is already making national news. Thanks L.A. kooks for giving the surfing scene a negative appearance once again.

  • Guesser


  • Surfer Steve in LBC

    I’m guessing this was mostly liquored up guys from the 909, which is pretty standard for a July weekend in HB. It’s a weird scene on Main Street during summer, definitely not the local crowd. Of course the CNN headline is something like “Surfers Riot After Contest,” I doubt any of these fools ever graduated beyond bodyboarding. But nice job videoing yourselves, cops appreciate the help identifying the perp’s.

    • DKB

      F#ck off Surfer Steve….tired of your type and your tiring bodyboarding comments…agree with everything else other than your juvenile divisive comments.

  • Cl

    good job hb in making downtown the jerseyshore.. Bars n ghetto t-shops. shocker this would happen

    • right coast surfer

      really? Jersey shore? don’t make generalizations about places you don’t know.

  • Punk is dead

    Gotta pose like it’s 1980

  • surfer guy

    was it because alejo won against kolohe, in his own ‘house’ ? So f#cking sad if that’s the reason … f#cking kooks!

  • Yo mon

    That’s California ..,and that is 1 reason of many, why I will NEVER step foot their again!

    • barney

      Ya, cause Kansas is so much better.

      • Happy

        Funny! And you have no idea do you! Ignorance will get where you need to be.

  • Ricky

    typical new millennium surf crowd – a bunch of do nothings
    (who probably don’t even surf) playing with mom and dads money at the bar every night. Sad.
    This kind of thing from the surf crowd is why i don’t identify as a surfer anymore — i just get in the water do my thing and go home.

  • dude

    Typical kook-brats. Ya’ motha shoulda swallowed you.

  • Joe

    lots of stupid people in the world…

  • Michael Daniels

    More proof that Santa Cruz is the true “Surf City”

    • cleanSooke

      You tryin’ to start a riot here? lol

  • paul

    the US open was just a backdrop for a crowd of Richards….that ran amok, unfortunately the surfing community will be tainted by this event and the contest itself which had some great surfing will be lost in the discussion
    update on the if you don’t surf don’t start, how about, if you don’t surf don’t come

    • tranquillo

      definitely a horde of Richards.

  • BT

    Thanks for living up to your reputation as the most ghetto surf town in California HB. Move back to Riverside

  • georgie


  • shacked

    Best guess they were not surfers there to enjoy the contest, rather hoodlums looking for an excuse to cause trouble. To bad surfing gets a black eye for this.

  • M109

    name and shame these fools.

  • 20ftat20seconds

    These fools don’t look like surfers. These are degenerates who probably never have had to work in a day in their lives yet. These worthless kids will all probably be sucking down social services money funded by taxpayers within a few years, and/or will be cycling in and out of the costly penal system.

  • 20ftat20seconds

    These spoiled kids deserve at beat-down and reality check that only an underpaid and pissed-off Third World police force could bring to a riot.

  • Sleepy

    Some kids kicking over toilets. That’s one helluva riot. CHAOS! Yawn.

  • jeff

    the joys of inviting the 909 to the beach for the summer. fucking tattooed inland empire scum. keep them out, they dont have any $ to spend in town anyway.

  • Camel Rider

    They can start by getting rid of those hippies putting on a drum concert right at the entrance of the pier. HB is soon going to turn into Venice if you let these freaks gather and do their weird shit on a regular basis. Then, get rid of the ghetto bars, so many gross looking DE-generates walking around, tattoos from head to toe, smoking, drinking, ugh. White trash USA. Oh well, keep the trash in north OC, at least the wave isn’t even that good.

  • Juliana

    Sorry, but this article is meaningless. The most important thing is not clear, what did they want? Why are they fighting? “Unruly crowd’, “mobbing around’, ” unlawful assembly’, all bullshit terms of the the Police State!

    • joe

      Police state? Really? are you serious? this is not about some social injustice!?? just some idiots looking to take advantage and act the fool while lost in the crowd thinking they are getting away with something.

    • Ted

      You sir are an idiot

  • tranquillo

    wow. seems about right. that entire scene is a shit-show.

  • local HB resident

    I have been a resident for 15 years in HB downtown area and have watched the event escalate each year. I am tired of people with little respect piss’ing in my front lawn. Yelling obscenities in the middle of the day at full volume. Asking if i can spare a beer as they walk by and confronting me while my 10 year son is standing with me in our front lawn playing catch. I have had enough.. I love the beach and our city, yet this is enough of what I refer to as hell week in HB. Let the surf contest continue…..please move it to riverside at a wave pool… No more!

  • Dryjoint

    Wow, these guys are so hardcore!!!. Kicking over porta potties and roadsigns….and there I thought I was mental staying in Africa for a surf…

  • tranquillo

    how many were sporting Vans?

  • Repliquant

    Dumb fuc***ks

  • Trent Jackson

    LOL CNN “complete chaos and near anarchy” no reported injuries, 1 fight and some portable toilets tipped.

  • Matt

    Tbh, I would hope for the idiocy that these posers and wackjobs are…that they cancelled the surfing event just to make a point to lack patience and tolerance for nut jobs like these kids are… pure face-palm stylee on this one. This isn’t how surfers and surfing culture drifts.

  • Matt

    not a surfer in the bunch… just a bunch of meat-heads…

  • LIAN


  • Seabass120

    Stupid kooks. They should be punished by tying them inside one of those port-o-lets and pushing it over on the door.

  • Wayne

    I’m an Aussie who live in the USA for 11 years. I love the US, but this is in part why so many people around the world hate you guys. Wake up.

    • Happy

      Yes, Wayne the Aussie although this is a California thing or any liberal state. The rest of the country is not as such. But unfortunately with the ignorance and progressive ideology it looks like the future ♻

  • Sbt Surfboard Tracker

    Round em up drop them off in the Rockies and tell them to walk home….

  • MF .

    people = SHIT!!!!

  • Joey

    No surfers there. Just skaters . Go figure !

  • Kohei Matsuda

    So stupid……

  • Hunter

    Events like these are just a confirmation why my friends and I moved from HB. Its a culture that is still living in the past. Its not what it used to be….especially with all those idiots that show up thinking its their town.

  • Val Alexander

    Its sad that people can’t contain themselves when something does’nt have the outcome that they want!((
    let’s get violent and trash something) idiots!!! Grow up!

  • larkstan

    The scary thing to me is that if I think about this honestly and dispassionately, I come to some uncomfortable conclusions about myself, my family, my country, my culture, and the rest of humanity in general. It’s depressing- fuck it, I’m going surfing…

  • martin ginsburg

    Surfing is eating it’s own children.
    The overcrowding popularity with little or no release other than overcrowded mainstay breaks where you can’t even get a wave, is a reflection of how selfish surfing really has become. The day that it became one man/one wave is the day the surf spirit started to DIE! Huntington is a symbolic place for some of the worst of this Me mentality of the selfish surf industry/and Me people. Surf contests are the epitome of surf selfishness one man, one wave. Surf contests steal a public resource, by a profitable permit to the politicos.
    Yes YOU, Joe public, can’t surf Your Ocean during the CON-test…. so profiteers can bag the gold to run their commercial enterprise. So with that in mind….
    The simple solution after a big event, be it surfing, soccer, Oakland raiders etc is to provide an enclosed arena with Port-o-potties, stop signs and other detritus. Let the Games begin if you venture in the pit. 12 hours later let the street sweeper clean up the mess. Darwinism at it’s finest. hmm…pay/view, more profits…
    BUT there is Aloha in surf, even in Huntington,
    It’s in the cracks and you gotta look for it.
    And the way you are going to find it IS REALLYSIMPLE…….

  • Surfsicko

    That’s nothing. You should see the riots at the soccer game in England or Brazil. People are killed. The hooligans at the soccer game should have been in HB to show those pussy how to really riot!

  • RH

    Enough with the “degenerates”, “inland scum”, “skaters” nonsense. These were, at root, boring young people, “desperate” to NOT be bored. Somehow acquire some base culture, California… or continue to face (or to ignore, whatever)… THE BROPOCALYPSE.

  • Eric

    An iconic contest, held in the sh**iest surf on Planet Earth, has an 80’s flashback. Everything that was wrong with the pre-Dream Tour ASP surf conditions, epitomized in one event, and decorated by Southern California’s finest fans. Doesn’t happen in Oz….

  • Paolo

    These fools are no surfers, and so clever to make sure their faces are clearly on camera to guarantee an inevitable police visit at later.

  • Jack

    How does this even start? Its supposed to be an awesome event of surf, skate, and BMX Not “tough-guy” kook mosh pit.

  • Ho’oponopono

    I’m not sure what I find more disgusting, the kind of people who can revel in destroying another person’s property, or the surf contest that allows itself to be mutilated to resemble an inland swap-meet with a couple musical performances, in turn attracting these hateful little sub-humans. HB didn’t deserve that, but I think in some ways the surfing world did. Take a cue from Lowers and make it about the comp again.

  • Joshua Caudill

    Having attended the event for three days, the people that did this and we’re walking around Main St. Didn’t watch a second of the contest and weren’t even there for the actual surf. They couldn’t have named two surfers at the event.

  • HB kid

    Im an HB local. I have yet to find someone that lives here that is not disgusted with everything that happened. Turns out all the arrests being made are of people that came from inland cities including 2 firefighters from fullerton. The surf crowd is mellow for the most part (there’s always gonna be a handful of morons) unfortunately the tent city that is the open brings thousands of pieces of trash. HB has contests that don’t get a crowd all year long. Keep the contest about the contest and you will eliminate 90% of the people that don’t belong.

  • Innocent bystander

    Not the first riot in Huntington Beach and certainly not the last. Check 04-July headlines all the way back to the 60’s the OP in the 80’s. It has nothing to do with surfing and everything to do with accesability to 20 million LA and OC A-holes. Hold it at trestles and get it over with. The surf is better and the access limited.

  • Greg

    I surf the in OBX the Outer Banks of NC. I am Glad I don’t Have to put up with that shit! I like surfing because it is relaxing and fun. I can do without that. I thought surfing was laid back out there.Move to somewhere you will be happy,money isn’t everything I like my head to stay screwed on right.

  • HBLoke1959

    Unfortunately, the summer scene in HB is never gonna stop. The corrupt surf industry loves this $h!t. More valleys to sell plastic gear to. Hopefuly the entire industry goes the way of Billabong, after acquisition by KMart.