Welcome to the Manhattan Open!
The 2011 Manhattan Open had a bit of look and feel of the AVP days.
The 2012 Manhattan Open was Aug. 25-26
Action during the 2011 Manhattan Beach Open.
Players take a break during the 2011 Manhattan Open.
The Bud Light Lime girls at Ercoles; the bars were packed on Sat.
The scene from the Strand during the 2011 Manhattan Open.
We now return to our regular Manhattan Open programming...
The view from the
Strand when the AVP ran the Manhattan Open.
and socializing come together like waves to the sand at the annual Manhattan
Beach Open pro beach volleyball tournament. Talk about a beach party!
Once an AVP
Association of Volleyball Professionals event, this tournament
has been around long before there was such an organization.
It is such
a part of this Southern California surfside city that people turn out
by the thousands, sitting on towels, in beach chairs or just on the
sand cheering on the pros of the game they play on these same courts
the rest of the year. In fact, the sport was born on this very beach.
Photo: Scott Petersen.
Home is where the heart is beach volleyball's birthplace is in MB.
Photo: Scott Petersen.
Life really is a beach in Manhattan for the Manhattan Open.
Beijing Olympic Gold Medalists Todd Dalhausser and Todd Rogers.
Bikinis at the beach are all part of the Bud Light Manhattan Open in 2011.
For this event, the outer courts and much of the grandstands were free. The only tickets being were are for courtside seats. While some feel the beach and the tournament should always be free – after all, the sport was invented right here in Manhattan Beach – others like the fact they can roll up at any time and have a great seat for the weekend.
In the beachside bars, the fans enjoy the setting of the Manhattan Open.
Anyone who can get down on Friday is rewarded with the ability to walk right up to a court and watch the pros only a few feet away from the action. This is one of the great pleasures of this sport.
Karch Kiraly celebrates hi s '04 title with fans in the bar.
The Manhattan Open is to Manhattan Beach what the Masters is to Augusta,
the Rose Bowl is to Pasadena, Wimbledon is to England. It's the sport's
premier event, beach volleyball's Super Bowl, its Daytona 500. To win
the Manhattan Open defines one as a true player you haven't
arrived in this sport until you've won Manhattan.
In the beginning years of the Manhattan Open, the victors won dinner
and a pitcher of beer at a local restaurant. Most importantly, however,
they became "Kings of the Beach" for a year. Modern-day winners
get a few more dollars but definitely covet being the "Kings"
and now "Queens" more than a paycheck.
It has become so popular
that the AVP needs to add a few more rows of seats to accommodate the
fans. Added entertainment, such as testing the speed of one's volleyball,
serve and slot-car racing give the event an NFL Experience type of atmosphere.
Except, of course, it's on the beach. And it's Manhattan.
On the sand and
in the stands, the action is hot at the Manhattan Open.
"This is the biggest tournament we've got," said Kevin Wong,
who teamed with Stein Metzger to win in 2001. "It is so special
to win here. This is so wonderful!" In 2004, Karch Kiraly spoke
for everyone who has ever played this tournament when he said, "You
talk to any player and if they were told they could only win one tournament
in their whole career, everybody would choose it to be here in Manhattan.
There's an extra fire among all the players."
In 2005, Jake Gibb teamed with Metzger to win and couldn't contain
his emotions afterward. "This event is so special," Gibb said.
"it means to much to the sport. I can't believve it can't
fathom it. This is a sweet one." He added, "Other tournaments,
I go in thinking about the volleyball. I came into this one thinking,
this is Manhattan!"
With no grandstands, people could get this close on Sunday in 2010.
prepare to party at the Shellback Tavern. Watch out!
They know as do all others who came before them and who will
come after them Manhattan is THE beach volleyball victory.
matches and in particularly victory in Manhattan the players
mingle with the fans. In the bas.
More specifically, meet them in Shellback Tavern, the legendary
This, more than anything else, defines this tournament. It's tradition
for the winners to go to the bars and party with the fans. The people
are probably the most knowledgeable sports fans anywhere and the players
like hanging with such cool folks. Imagine Vladimir Guerrero doing this after
an Angeles game. Or Kobe after a Lakers game.
It certainly fits right in with the area. In this part of the world,
cocktails and volleyball go together like the beach and bikinis. People
park it on the sand and fish cold ones out of coolers while sitting
only feet away from star players like Rogers and Dalhausser or Walsh and May-Treanor. In between
matches, it's off to one of the two beachside bars. Then it's
back to the beach, then back to the bar, the beach again, then the bar
Shellback's is the top place to celebrate on Sunday after the tournament. On Saturday it's packed, as well, but because it's bigger, there's even more of a crowd at the other bar off the beach, Beaches. It has two levels and much of the action and entertainment (that is to say, the locals partying) is in the main bar downstairs.
Manhattan is such a cherished event that legendary star Sinjin Smith
picked Manhattan to retire after some 25 years of action. Sinjin is
a true local hero, and not just because he won Manhattan five times
(more than 250 events in all). He and onetime partner Randy Stoklos
were the undisputed Kings of every beach, winning an incredible 113
of 225 tournaments. "Smith and Stoklos" were as synonymous
with the beach as Montana and Rice were with football.
it was off the sand where Sinjin made his biggest mark on the sport.
Eager to earn more than dinner and beer for winning tournaments, he
hired his own PR guy, began to get media attention, and, eventually,
sponsors. At first, this alienated the game's traditionalists, who felt
volleyball should stay true to its low-key roots. They felt otherwise
when, by the early 90s, prize money was in the hundreds of thousands
and beach volleyball became an Olympic sport. Sinjin was to beach volleyball
what Babe Ruth was to baseball, what Arnold Palmer was to golf.
A few years ago he retired and it was only appropriate that Manhattan
was his final tournament. Oddly, it wasn't on center court, where he
starred for so many years, but on an outer court as darkness approached
and a chilly wind began to blow. Most people who watched him all day
were in the bars by this time, unaware of the historical moment that
transpired just a block away.
Now, however, the torch has been passed along to players like Metzger
and, possibly, Gibb. It must also be pointed out that Kiraly has won
Manhattan a record eight times, including an incredible four in a row
from 1990-93 and his first with Smith in 1980. And they all keep the
long-standing appreciation for what it means to win the Wimbledon of
Manhattan Open Photos
Best seats in the
Scenes from the 2010 Manhattan Beach Open.
Sunday afternoon at the 2010 Manhattan Open (finals last two photos).
We'll take two (trays,
And what's a beach volleyball tournament without the bars!?
The players celebrate at the post-event party Sunday.
The winners must party, right!? Heck yeah!