Riots in Huntington Beach after the #VansUsOpen – 1986 all over again

Sad to hear about the riots in Huntington Beach on Sunday night after the US Open of Surfing. A lot of people asked how it started. One witness told KTLA-TV:

The melee started when someone was hit with a ketchup bottle from a second-story restaurant. The person threw the bottle into the crowd, triggering a fight that expanded into a small-scale riot.

It sounded like a fight in the street got out of control and spread. The Los Angeles Times posted photos of men who somehow chopped a stop sign from the street and jousted it through a store window. At least one video showed men climbing on top of portable toilets and knocking them down as people photographed and videotaped it with their cellphones. Police launched tear gas into the crowd, according to CNN.

LAT

Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Rioters smash a shop window in Huntington Beach on Sunday.

Photo: Mike Balzer Fires and riots marred the 1986 Op Pro in Huntington Beach, the precursor to the US Open of Surfing.

Photo: Mike Balzer
Fires and riots marred the 1986 Op Pro in Huntington Beach, the precursor to the US Open of Surfing.

There were no reported injuries, but what did the shop owners do to deserve this? It’s a flashback to the much talked about 1986 Op Pro. In a retrospective of that event, Transworld Surf reported:

What started as two girls’ little “flashdance” in front of some drunken Riverside dudes quickly turned ugly. The girls called for help from the police, the police were pelted by rocks and bottles, and things quickly escalated into a 5,000-strong riot that started by the boardwalk, migrated to the lifeguard headquarters, and finished somewhere behind the contest scaffolding. The end result: $250,000 in damages, two overturned cop cars engulfed in flames, a half-dozen other charred emergency vehicles.

There were some pretty amazing photos from the 1986 riots as well.

Not sure where Nat Young was during the riots on Sunday. Probably celebrating elsewhere. He hasn’t responded to a text message sent Monday morning.

Tim Reyes, a Huntington Beach native who Nat surfed against in an early round heat at the US Open, said he was not impressed with the violence. Monday, Reyes posted on Facebook:

Riots anyone? Typical idiots disrespecting our beaches. Can’t wait for winter. Police were shooting bean bags. I hope they got the right people. And blocked the street by my house. Had to hold down the fort last night with a golf club.

 

Getting back to the surfing … In pretty average conditions, Nat lost to Brazilian Alejo Muniz in the quarterfinals on Sunday. Muniz went on to beat Kolohe Andino in the final. Just because Kolohe was a local Orange County kid and lost to Muniz, it’s unclear if that had any bearing on the cause of the riots.

Photo: Rowland/ASP Nat surfs in the quarterfinals of the Vans US Open of Surfing on Sunday.

Photo: Rowland/ASP
Nat surfs in the quarterfinals of the Vans US Open of Surfing on Sunday.

Nat earned a tidy $7,000 and 3,320 points for his efforts during the US Open, moving him into seventh in the One World rankings. He is still in sixth place in the World Tour rankings heading into the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Aug. 15. Rookie of the Year looks well within Nat’s grasp. Fellow rookie Sebastian Zietz is in 11th and Filipe Toledo is in 13th overall. Nat said he plans to spend the downtime before Tahiti in Santa Cruz.

Also, Nat “spitting cobra” Young has a question for Puerto Rico’s Brian Toth in this #TourNotes video …

 

Some highlights from the final day of the US Open also are in the video at the top. Anyone from Santa Cruz see the riots in Huntington? Send us a message on Twitter @Nats_Turn @sbaxter_sc or email sbaxter@santacruzsentinel.com. Stay safe kids! Go surfing.

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