Costume Beach Volleyball Tournament To Continue As Part Of Surfest
The city council unanimously approved moving the dates to Friday and Saturday, Aug. 4-5. It had previously been scheduled for Thursday and Friday the 3rd and 4th.
“I had always assumed that we were not trying to kill the tournament,” Mayor pro term Amy Horworth said.
In its heyday, the 6-man – a costumed beach volleyball tournament in which players of all skill levels dressed up in themes for teams – was held on a Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was the big day when all the teams competed and a few thousand South Bay mostly singles showed up to soak up the scene. As well as whatever they put into their squirt bottles.
Sunday was for the teams that advanced to the final rounds and were comprised of some of the top volleyball players in the world (plus, a few Los Angeles Lakers like current coach Luke Walton). They produced some of the most incredible 6-person volleyball you could see outside of the Olympics in the Los Angeles seaside city in which the sport was born.
So don’t get too excited, for the Saturday of 2017 won’t be back to its somewhat recent past. And Police Chief Eve Irvine said there would again be a huge presence from the department.
The 6-man’s heyday, which ran basically from the mid-90s to 2010, was the South Bay’s biggest annual party for South Bay singles. In addition to the teams, which set up tents that ran from the pier to 8th Street, it attracted some 20,000 people who were there to meet, mingle and take full advantage of the liberal enforcement of the “no alcohol on the beach” law.
Then, the police chief at the time led a crusade to if not shut it down then to at least spike it deep into the sand. Crowd estimates grew like Pinocchio’s nose – 30,000, then 40,000, 50,000 and finally to a whopping and almost laughable 70,000 – and eventually the tournament was moved to Tuesday and Wednesday, the Wednesday and Thursday and then this year initially to Thursday and Friday.
With barricades, a “command center,” security checking purses and backpacks and enough of a police presence that it looked like a president was about to arrive, the enforcers soon outnumbered the fans and eventually the teams.
In fact, so many teams pulled out that the tournament was in danger of going away, which would have ended a 50-plus year tradition started by Saikley, who wanted to add a bit of Manhattan Beach touch to the international lifeguard competition known as Surfest. That caused the city to act before it was but a distant Manhattan Beach memory.
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