Words and Photos by Kory Archuleta
The U.S. Open of Surfing is still about surfing right? Well, for the first time in a while, that’s exactly how it felt. The athletes and spectators unanimously shared that sentiment. The Van Doren Invitational is a surf contest held in the heart of Southern California. With perfect temperatures, knee high waves and enough people watching to satisfy even the most curious of eyes, it truly is Surf City, USA.
While family vibes flew through the air along with the surfers trying to make heats, many concerned surf fans anxiously tried to keep up with their favorite athletes. Many of us watch this event every year but what exactly is it like to attend this summer hotspot as an athlete? This year, I learned the answer to that question as I had the pleasure of housing South African professional Beyrick De Vries along with several other competitors.
The regular footer from Durban quickly established his routine; up by 5:00 am and in the water free surfing by 7:00 am regardless of his heat time. Beyrick explained that his body needed to get in the habit of feeling that 10:00 am alertness by 7:00 am. He continued this schedule for the next week, only pausing for the occasional Corona and lime to ease the afternoon sun. Beyrick agrees that hard work is important but you must still make the time to enjoy life. I mean c’mon, what’s not to enjoy in Southern California for a professional athlete? When you and your best mates take over Surf City, it makes for an epic adventure.
As the madness ensued, Beyrick explained “I liked the family theme this year. It was enjoyable in many ways…like keeping the adulterated activities minimal. As a surfer, that was noticeable. I was more stoked to surf this year because I could just feel the support and good energy from the crowd.”
Beyrick ripped heats landing him a 9th place finish at this year’s US Open with a promising season ahead. As for me? I will miss my international friends and their accents that drive women crazy but I am excited for Southern California to quiet down. Plus I look forward to watching my friends surf bigger waves all from the comfort of my computer chair.