You know how it is, you go to a big-time party event that’s been going on for many years and say to your friends when it’s now just so-so, “well it’s not as good as it used to be anymore.” We all have that t-shirt.
Or you go to an event that you’ve heard about for years, only to be disappointed in it. When you mention this to some random people they say, “well, a few years ago it was really fun but not so much anymore.” Heck, I just experienced it with the Over-The-Line in San Diego; I kept saying “I wish I would have. been at this event in its heyday.” And don’t even get me started on the Manhattan Beach 6-man.
But there is an event that still has it. In fact, after nearly 30 years it’s still at its peak and today it is even better than ever. That is Smackfest in Hermosa Beach, CA, a beach party in Los Angeles that is a combination of Halloween, Las Vegas club vibe and beach volleyball. It is also one of the few events in the world that survived the pandemic to immediately thrive. Want proof? In 2022 the team spots sold out in just 14 minutes. And there were 165 four-person teams.
The modern Smackfest has around 20 sponsors with Michelob Ultra as the main one. One can figure that out immediately as it has a huge frame with its logo at the main entrance. Oh, and the event remains free for spectators. It is traditionally held the last Saturday of July.
Games are played by teams in themed costumes ranging from flight attendants to Running Of The Bulls – wearing horns, girls “charge” the other team by chasing them around the court – a “rescue” team whose motto is “safety third” and at least one team with an inflatable pool. I took the pool plunge at the end of the day in 2022, by the way, as witnessed by this TikTok video.
@pubclub.com Everybody into piool! @TheReal_SoulCole #beachparty #oubclub #poolplunge #partytime #pool #pooldive ♬ original sound – PubClub
Bikinis and board shorts abound so this is hardly a formal affair. And it’s amazing how Smackfest Hermosa Beach has been able to maintain its momentum for so long without really missing a beat. Bill Sigler, head of Smackfest Sportswear, deserves the lion’s share of the credit for creating the event and adding to it every year but he would be the first to admit its ongoing success is a total team affair. Dean Edmonston, recognizable by his nautical shirt and boat captain’s hat, is a huge part of it and other Smackfest Events. So are dozens of other people, many of which are volunteers.
For teams and spectators, the “thing to do” is to walk up and down the rows of team tents. It’s like a Jimmy Buffett concert on the beach. Except there are tents instead of motorhomes and the soundtrack is Vegas club provided by DJs. By the way, despite what you might appear to see, drinking on the beach in California is against the law. A lot of what you see are props for the benefit of the teams.
If you want to play next year, or in any of the other Smackfest Events tournaments or its beer and wine festivals, go to its official website at Smackfest Events.
Past its prime? The heyday a mere memory? Other fun party events, yes. But Smackfest? No way. It’s still thriving after all these years.