Beach Volleyball Tournament Is A Halloween Party In July
It was Halloween in July in Hermosa Beach, CA, otherwise known as Smackfest.
A coed beach volleyball tournament by nature, Smackfest is an annual rite of summertime in this heavily-single Los Angeles beach city, the biggest singles party of the year on the sand, especially with the demise of the once-legendary 6-man tournament in neighboring Manhattan Beach.
In all, there were more than 30 courts utilized and at four teams per court. The teams set up tents in between the courts and used them a refueling stations. A couple hundred locals who did not play came out to soak up the atmosphere.
But not the sunshine.
Last year, a freak monsoon hit late in the afternoon, nearly flooding The Strand and Pier Plaza and causing play to be suspended (the bars picked up the slack). This year, a huge brushfire an hour away created an eerie-looking black cloud that blocked the sun. The sky looked like a solar eclipse was taking place, but it hardly slowed the partying pace of the participants.
In all, more than 1,000 people were on the sand just south of the Hermosa Beach Pier in this annual event, which has now reached 23 years. And counting.
One of the primary reasons for its success is a growing number of sponsors, which have tents lined up along the sand giving away energy drinks, water, energy bars and even massages. Smackfest manages the unique trick of having corporate sponsors without smacking of corporate stodginess.
This is primarily a locals’ event, as few people come in from out town for it, primarily because they don’t know about it and what they are missing.
Smackfest, besides making Hermosa Beach the focal point of South Bay singles the third or fourth Saturday of July (it was July 23 in 2016), brings a needed boon of business to Hermosa Pier Plaza bars. Throughout the day and into the night, Sharkeez, The Deck and Mermaid were packed with patrons, most of then straight from Smackfest and still in their team costumes.
Flip cup games broke out on the back deck of The Deck and Sharkeez provided the party atmosphere for people to do what they could not do on the beach – consume mass quantities of alcohol. (Note to do-gooders: the Smackfest people are veterans and are quite capable of handing mass quantities of alcohol; it fuels the fun and not bad behavior).
Smackfest 2016 is over and it was great, as usual. You can still get a small taste of it with the Smackfest beach volleyball and kickball lessons and leagues. Sign up at SmackfestEvents.com.