The U.S. Open of Surfing recently hit Huntington Beach, CA. It's a week-long sea-and-be-seen competition, presented by Hurley and sponsored by SPIN, that draws more than 500,000 fans and celebrates SoCal beach culture.
The event peaks with a blowout party during the surfing finals. This year, Kelly Slater scored the $100,000 first prize and MGMT, Surfer Blood, Jimmy Eat World, and Los Angeles up-and-comers Dead Country rocked out for fans on the beach, where BMX and skateboarding competitions were also held on mobile freestyle courses.
SPIN contributing photographer Michael Flores was on the scene to record all the action. "This is California beach culture," he tells SPIN. "This is how we live."
Halfway through Ruban Nielson’s explorative third LP, Multi-Love, the bipolar “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty” fractures momentarily into reverberating shards, creaking like a bridge collapsing as a murky guitar yowls in the background. Coming so soon after a silky smooth, Steely Dan-referencing guitar solo courtesy of his equally musical father Chris Nielson, it’s a tonally… More »