A proposed plan presented to the Downtown Task Force for next year's U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach scales down the event considerably, but safety is still a concern among committee members.
Next year's event would be more "sport-focused," according to James Leitz, IMG Action Sports vice president and executive producer of the event. The new plan calls for omitting the live music stage, village area, free giveaways and public skateboard bowl.
Instead, Leitz proposed to have a high-end surf stadium viewing area, a skateboarding bowl only open to professionals in the competition, a retail area and eight booths for major sponsors. He estimates that the footprint has been reduced to about 8 acres from 14 acres.
"I'm really happy that you formed a task force to help large events, like the U. S. Open of Surfing, find a way to exist and coexist with the residents and the businesses here in Huntington Beach, especially the downtown area," Leitz said. "This is an event that I'm very proud of. It's one of a kind, unique, across the globe. But let's be honest, it's gotten too big and we gotta find a way to fix that."