In 2017, early-morning clouds broke as most of the competitors were entering the water, providing sunshine for nearly the entire event. In addition to the competitors, a couple hundred spectators stood watching from behind yellow caution tape.
The energy of the event could be felt on this small spot of sand at 30th Street. The scene was one of the usual harmless craziness, which is as big a part of the Ironman as chugging beer and running around in a mosh pit.
The event began with everyone singing the national anthem. The competitors then dashed off for their mile run, then grabbed their surfboards for the paddleboarding aspect of the Ironman. The top competitors added a bit of Southern California culture to this by rising up on their surfboards and surfing into shore.
Then began the beer chugging, which is watched carefully by judges. There’s some puking, yes – quite a bit of it in fact – so it’s wise to be a safe distance away from the action behind the yellow caution tape.
Then the real wildness starts – when the punk band played the competitors raced around bumping and tackling each other in a mosh pit. The other competitors formed for a ring around them and often had to shove the others back into the mosh pit.
Then the male and female winners were lifted onto the shoulders of others, proudly holding up their trophy, a yellow sign street sign that said Ironman 2017 Winner.
All this took place under the watchful eyes of the Hermosa Beach Police Dept., which allowed the beer drinking on the beach for only the duration of the event. When the band stopped, word quickly spread anyone caught drinking would be ticketed. Despite the wild scene of the mosh pit, there were again no incidents of violence or other trouble from participants or spectators.
This year’s event brought out some media. In addition to PubClub.com and Art Mann Presents of AXS TV (two Ironman regulars), KTLA Morning News was on the scene. The reporter appeared a bit squeamish when she first arrived on the beach and later had some splashes of beer land on her. Then she was standing too close to the beer chugging and the result was predicable.
When it was over, everyone picked up their empties and went home before going out to 4th of July parties.