We checked in with Hurley VP of Marketing Evan Slater to find out more about some changes that are coming to the Nike US Open of Surfing this year, including an interesting update to the retail format on the sand.
Evan Slater: We have 30 of the top 32 surfers confirmed this year along with Dane Reynolds. In 2008, before we were a part of the US Open, no more than six of the top 44 surfers entered with the highest-ranking surfer at No. 24. This has everything to do with Huntington Beach and the fans' support and enthusiasm for watching the world's best.
There's nowhere else like it, and that feeling of hearing thousands roar for every wave was missing in surfing for a while. I think the best surfers realized it once they became a part of the event again. It’s energizing for everyone.
The site layout is different from what we've had the past couple of years. The team has worked hard to create more intimate viewing opportunities and build more drama around the surf and skate events.
There is a 92' x 16' "Megatron" that will highlight all the action. We have bleachers and structures that allow for simultaneous viewing of multiple events. BMX has been replaced by a street skate course that will showcase the world's best amateurs along with a demo featuring some of the best street skaters in the world in the first ever Damn Am HB presented by Nike Skateboarding.
Converse has a souped-up bowl for the Converse Coastal Carnage contest, back for its fourth year.
Our biggest focus in 2012: elevate the quality of the experience for both athlete and fan. Make sure everything on offer at the US Open is positive, fun and inspiring.
I'm not sure what we can do to actually reduce the lines. That seems to be inevitable when there are so many kids who want to participate.
But we have worked toward making those experiences more quality than carnival. We had to ask the question: if you waited two hours in line for this, would you be stoked? So, spray-on tattoos are out, creative centers are in. Carnival games are out, interactive digital experiences are in. And the giveaways will be of a higher caliber.
The biggest change to the retail footprint is that we've transformed the one giant retail structure into two equal-size ones. Both HSS and Jack's will sell on the beach.
In a lot of ways, the retail environment on the sand mimics Main Street. Nike and Hurley have also eliminated their "brand experience" booths and instead integrated them into their retail spaces. Hurley's brand experience is centered around its Phantom Create platform while Nike is focusing on athlete-fan interaction with autograph signings and meet-and-greets.
Converse will maintain its brand experience booth, encouraging kids to unleash their creativity by creating custom Chucks in a public art display. Product-wise, Hurley is showcasing its newly released Phantom Fuse boardshort, Nike will be focusing on its newly released PROD VI signature shoe and Converse is celebrating the launch of Kenny Anderson and Nick Trapasso's signature sneakers.
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