Vans U.S. Open of Surfing

Huntington Beach, California

The Van Doren Invitational happens to be one of the best BMX contests of the year for a multitude of reasons. It’s backed by Vans and the man himself Steve Van Doren, it takes place on the sand in Huntington Beach, California in front of thousands of people and it features riding from some of the best in the world. It is about nothing more than having a good time and shredding in the name of BMX. It is reminiscent of the old King of the Skatepark contest series from the early 80’s when comps were held in cement bowls at skateparks all over Southern California. Although there has been some sort of BMX contest during the U.S. Open for quite some time now, this year seemed to have the perfect vibe from start to finish.

For 2015, the format went a little something like this. Thirty-five riders were invited to come out and ride and five of those were already pre-qualified leaving 30 riders to compete for 15 open spots in the finals making a total of 20 riders left to battle it out for $10,000. A group of fellow pros and industry icons make up the judging panel and overall impression is key. This allows the riders to simply have a jam session and ride exactly the way they want to without any pressure of landing a single best run. They have time to put in multiple runs and do their thing, which happens to lay the groundwork for the best possible riding and one hell of a show for the fans.

With that said, I wanted to touch on a topic that always seems to come up as of late and that is whether or not contest coverage is relevant after the fact and if it is…for how long? With more and more online outlets popping up and less and less print options for thousands of BMX fans worldwide it is interesting to think about. Essentially it brings up the question of who makes that choice? Is it the BMX industry as a whole? Is it an unsaid rule that people take seriously since the online takeover? Is it simply because that’s how things are in 2015?

BMX media has been constantly evolving since the early days of print where riders would wait patiently for the next month to pass by to get copies of their favorite magazines and then study them cover-to-cover reading every single word and dissecting every single photograph. Currently you would be hard pressed to find a kid under the age of 18 that understands that not too long ago there was no Twitter, no Instagram and no Facebook let alone find one that understands what it is like to wait a month or more for new content to come out. It is interesting to see media evolve and adapt to the times. No one seems to be waiting around for good coverage anymore. The industry is littered with content that is watered down while well thought out features and interviews seem to be lost in the mix. With coverage being so similar across so many platforms these days, how is anyone supposed to stand out?

When it came time to put this piece together I wanted to voice my opinion on the situation. As someone who has worked in print as well as online media for the past decade and personally adapted to the changes as they have presented themselves I feel as though I have some ground to stand on. If contest coverage is as disposable as people make it seem then we have a problem. We all need to be reminded that even though the dust has settled, the tweets and Instagram posts have been long gone, and everyone has seen all of the other galleries by now that it is still OK to do something different after the fact. Just because an event happened weeks ago, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The initial buzz is gone and people seem to forget how amazing it was in the moment.

If this gets anyone thinking on any level or anyone enjoys a single photo in the gallery or any part of this article then I feel as though the entire process from shooting to writing was well worth it. If anything I want people to think about how they enjoy their daily dose of BMX coverage, think about what articles and features really stand out to them and voice their opinions to help shape the future of BMX media. Now sit back, relax and enjoy some unseen snaps from what is and will continue to be a lot of your favorite pro riders favorite contest of the year. I want to give a huge thanks to Vans TM Jerry Badders for giving me the chance to come out and do my thing for the weekend. The dude is all-in for BMX and understands the importance of doing things right and I cant say enough good things about anyone who is down for the cause.

Final Results

  1. Dennis Enarson (90.23)
  2. Gary Young (87.56)
  3. Daniel Sandoval (87.22)
  4. Larry Edgar (86.84)
  5. Sergio Layos (86.28)
  6. Pat Casey (85.06)
  7. Scotty Cranmer (83.65)
  8. Chase Hawk (82.50)
  9. Dan Foley (82.01)
  10. Matt Cordova (81.90)
  11. Clint Reynolds (81.73)
  12. Kevin Kalkoff (81.65)
  13. Corey Bohan (80.99)
  14. Kris Fox (80.48)
  15. Kevin Peraza (79.88)
  16. Tyler Fernengel (77.64)
  17. Alex Hiam (77.36)
  18. Sebastian Keep (76.86)
  19. Matt Roe (74.98)
  20. Trey Jones (74.44)

Click HERE to go straight to the gallery.


Written by admin