I stopped by the Hurley Pro this weekend at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, Calif. to chat with Hurley’s Evan Slater about all the effort the brand put behind the contest.
Besides producing live video feeds, video heats on demand and social media web updates, Evan said Hurley put a lot of effort into creating an event that catered to the athletes.
At the event, all the athletes had valet parking. Their spaces were numbered in order of their tour ranking. There were “mules,” or large golf carts to take athletes from the parking lot to the beach.
There was an athlete lounge with designated spaces for each athlete and a place for each of them to store their boards overnight. Hurley provided the athletes hot showers (not easy to do given the location), catered food, Pacifico on tap and each athlete’s jersey was printed with their names on back, a first for an ASP contest.
Not only was the event catered to athletes, but for the athletes’ friends and families and other VIPs, there was a large section with flat screen TVs showing the heat breakdowns and an array of coffee, hot food, fruits and drinks flowing all day long.
“We have the greatest athletes and we want to treat them at the highest level,” said Evan. “When you do that, they seem to perform at the highest level as well and that’s how they have been performing all week.”
Besides the Hurley Pro, Hurley also sponsored the US Open this past August, but the events are quite different.
The US Open is a Men’s Prime event whereas the Hurley Pro is a World Tour stop, the only ASP World Tour stop on the mainland USA.
The US Open draws a lot bigger crowd than the Hurley Pro, which draws a maximum of about 15,000 to 20,000 people for the weekend.
Trestles is a tough location to get to for a spectator. It’s located at the bottom of a dirt trail at a state beach. There is not a lot of parking. Spectators either have to park in San Onofre and take a shuttle to the event or park on the street and walk down a long trail to get to the beach.
There are no convenience stores, restaurants, or surf retailers, like there are by the Huntington pier where the US Open is held.
While both boost record-breaking prize purses, Evan said, “The US Open is more of an action sports festival, and the Hurley Pro is less about mass consumer and more about showcasing and elevating athletes at the highest level.”
Because the US Open is so much more consumer-friendly and accessible, there are more brands, more booths and more live events like music shows and fashion shows.
The Hurley Pro is more of a core event that relies on web coverage to reach consumers.
Evan said the Hurley Pro live web videos and heats on demand draw about 400,000 to 500,000 unique visits during the entire contest.
The US Open was also webcast and received a similar amount of hits, but Hurley boosted their multimedia efforts even more at the Hurley Pro.
The prize purse for the Hurley Pro ($460,000) is also bigger than the US Open ($340,000).
See Page 2 for the strategy behind having two contests close together, cost