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US Open of Surfing: BMX action flies high opening weekend

BMX fans filled the stadium-style seating on the sand to watch some high-flying action as the Vans Waffle Cup took center stage during this week’s Vans US Open of Surfing.

The Waffle Cup is touted as an event where “culture meets competition,” developed with input from the BMX community, according to organizers.

Event platform and poster artwork connects back to the US Open of Surf’s theme of sustainability and was created by BMX star Dakota Roche, who also named the event.

The competition kicked off Saturday with finals concluding Sunday with “Hop” and “High Air” competitions.

Surf fans Bryan English, of Huntington Beach, and Ron Zimmerman, Long Beach, knew the high tide was going slow down the surf action Saturday, so they found a spot in the stands to watch the BMX action.

“I’ve watched it on TV quite a bit, it’s pretty amazing,” said English.

Teresa McKinlay, of Huntington Beach, watched the women’s practice, keeping a close eye on her niece, Perris Benegas, a Vans team rider who traveled from North Carolina for the event.

“It’s awesome. What I love about it is they have equal pay,” McKinlay said. “The prize purse is the same for men and women.”

As the women took practice runs, McKinlay cringed as they did their tricks.

“That looks scary,” she said, as they hopped over platforms and railings, one prop in the shape of a lifeguard tower. “I couldn’t even imagine.”

The same concrete course will host the Vans Showdown starting Aug. 5, when some of the top skaters will compete for the crowd and cash prizes. The Vans Showdown finals are scheduled for Aug. 7.

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