The Wimbledon Of Beach Volleyball Tour Dates, Times, Location & Social Scene
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Manhattan Beach Blogger
While most people look at the Olympics as being the pinnacle of competition in sports, in beach volleyball there’s another event that reaches the gold medal standard.
It’s the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Manhattan Open in Manhattan Beach, CA.
Long known as the tournament that every pro wants to win the most, it has earned the nickname of “the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball” because it is such a revered tournament and Manhattan Beach is the birthplace of the modern game. There’s even a series of plaques on the Manhattan Beach Pier to recognize the winners.
Here’s all about the event with everything you need to know about it.
THE EVENT: Professional beach volleyball players in a double-elimination tournament on the sands of this Southern California beach. Play is on outer courts where spectators can put down beach chairs and towels and sit within a sandal of the action, as well as a main grandstand court for premier matches. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed on the beaches in California.
DATES & TIMES: Friday, Aug. 14-Sunday, Aug 16. Friday and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
LOCATION: South side of the Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach CA.
TICKETS: It’s free to attend if you sit in the first-come, first-serve GA seats and on the side courts on the beach. For the finals, you’ll need to be there a good 45 minutes ahead of time or have a good die-hard beach volleyball friend save a spot for you. There are courtside and upper “box” seats available for sale ($90 Saturday, $140 Sunday), available at: avp.com
WALK OF FAME CEREMONY: The Manhattan Open always officially begins with a ceremony to unveil the plaques of the previous year’s winners on the pier’s Walk of Fame. This is free and open to the public. It takes place at 3:30 p.m.
THE PLAYERS: Olympic Gold Medalist Phil Dalhausser is paired with Rio Olympics partner Nick Lucena. The top women’s name is April Ross, longtime partner of Kerri Walsh-Jennings, whom is not playing (Ross is partnered with Lauren Fendrik). Plus, local hero Sean Rosenthal is in the field and is being supported by his rowdy band of faithful followers known as “Rosie’s Raiders.”
THE SCENE: Locals play a lot of beach volleyball and are very knowledgable fans. They also live by the true California beach lifestyle mantra of what PubClub.com calls “exercise and socialize,” which is to say they combine athletic activity and events such as the AVP with heavy socializing in the bars. Shellback Tavern, a dive bar and Strand House, an upscale bar, are two places right up from from the the courts that will be socially active from Friday afternoon thru sunset on Sunday.
THE LOCATION: Manhattan Beach is a small town (a little more than a couple of square miles) south of LAX airport in the Los Angeles South Bay. It is a beach volleyball paradise, with courts all along its 45-block beach featuring local recreational players, some of whom seem to play morning, noon and even into the night.
THE PRE-PARTY: Smackfest Events is hosting the official pre-party on Thursday, with drink specials, at Sharkeez on Hermosa Beach’s Pier Plaza starting at 5 p.m.
THE POST-PARTY: This, too, is at Sharkeez Hermosa on Pier Plaza, starting at 6 p.m. Expect to see a few players at this party.
PARKING: You’re better off arriving via Uber or Lyft or, in the style of the locals, by bicycle. There is a public parking structure off Manhattan Beach Blvd., at 12th Street at the Metlox shopping plaza and limited street parking throughout the downtown area.