Fourth Of July Kickoff Starts With Beer Chug & Mosh Pit
In some circles, an Ironman competition is an athletic endeavor developed to determine the best overall athlete in three disciplines.
The most famous of them all, held each year in Kona, Hawaii, consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon run of 26.2 miles.
But there’s another Ironman that, while involving three activities (two of them athletic with the third being a true social element) is unique among them all. It’s the annual Hermosa Beach Ironman, held the 4th of July in this coastal Los Angeles town. This Ironman involves running a mile, paddleboarding a mile and then drinking a 6-pack.
Yes, it’s a party. And it’s free and open to spectators.
In a true reflection of the society in which it is located, the Hermosa Beach Ironman kicks off a wild 4th of July that involves house parties with bands, “drink and draw” beach volleyball tournaments and a scene on the beachside walkway, the Strand, that is one of the celebrations our forefathers would definitely salute.
Hermosa Beach Ironman Location & Details
The Hermosa Beach Ironman occupies the sand at 28th Street in Hermosa Beach, and it goes from about 9 a.m.-noon. About a thousand people are in place by 9:30 to watch the competitors run onto the beach and pound their 6-pack. In 2019, the Fourth of July is on a Thursday.
A few years ago with rumors of the police wanting to slow down the party by breaking up the Ironman early and having a huge presence, it was pretty much party as usual. The police have four officers on horseback – an unusual sight in Hermosa Beach, to be sure – but they just observe the action.
That’s because there’s nothing for them to do; while the event is definitely wild, it’s in control and confined to a small section of the sand. The competitors hve their beer-drinking area taped off and the mosh pit celebration starts at about 10:30.
By 11:15, the police politely move on and the party breaks up at about 11:30. Many people from the Ironman then go to the host bar, North End.
And the Hermosa Beach City Council and any others worried about this event being out of control should know that as people leave, they gather up all their empties and put them in plastic trash bags. It’s proof these are just local people having a great time to start celebrating the country’s birthday in a unique, South Bay beach event.
They laugh, they party and they enjoy watching the competitors run up on the sand, somewhat lost and confused looking for their judge, who is holding up a clipboard. Yes, there are judges! Some people have gotten clever and plant flags to mark their spot, giving the event a bit of a flavor of Jazzfest in New Orleans. There’s music, beer and a great party vibe.
The “athletes” cannot do anything until they pound that 6-pack of beer. Frequently, stomachs explode so it’s best to stand clear.
The highlight is when everyone is finished and “God Bless America” blares over the loudspeakers. This inspires competitors to form a circle and run around in circles in a mosh pit. It looks angry – especially later when the punk band plays (which in the past has included Hermosa Beach’s own Pennywise) – but ladies don’t be intimated.
This is the beach, after all, and it’s just guys testing their testosterone. Later, when at the many house parties along the Strand, they are distinguishable only by the numbers on their arms and Budweiser-inspired funky slogans on their bare chests.
Despite the fact it’s gone on for nearly 40 years, it’s an unofficial event and PubClub.com is unaware of who organizes it and how it happens. Our best guess is that tradition prevails, everyone knows when and where it’s happening and so it does happen. And that’s good enough for us.
In reality, it’s just another good, fun, clean event in this fun beach town.