It is what Manhattan Beach, CA is all about here in the South Bay of L.A.
The annual Surf Festival may be curiously named as it is primarily a whacky volleyball tournament, but it combines outdoor competition, a very loose atmosphere and an all-day/all-night party to make it the quintessential Manhattan Beach event.
World-class volleyball players, top college stars and disguised AVP pros don costumes as if it were Halloween. In addition to a loose attitude, they bring their incredible skills to a 6-man beach tournament started when a fun-loving guy named Charlie Saikley wanted to add a bit of local flavor to the International Surf Festival held in Manhattan and neighboring Hermosa Beach.
Among the teams are the “Lakers” in Afro wigs, Magnum P.I., nurses, Matrix (girls in all leather), Boy Scouts, Abraham Lincolns, the Mullets and the Sex Kittens.
The event is held the first weekend of August (well, on a Thursday and Friday in 2016), and is an annual rite of party passage in the South Bay.
This is some seriously-skilled volleyball in a definite non-serious setting. The Lakers (officially known as Team Fletch) travel with a portable basketball court and bullhorn and a local Mexican restaurant has Team Bikini, a collection of very scantily-clad cheerleaders. Their cheer – “Drink more beer because you like our rear” – needs no further encouragement.
Congratulations to Smack Sportwear-sponsored Magum P.I., which wins just about every year; in 2009 the team was no doubt, inspired by having the PubClubettes as cheerleaders.
The PubClubettes cheers include, “Shot shot, what a shot. The PubClubettes are really hot!” And “Win or Lose, We Booze!”
Each team has a tent serving the types of beverages which inspire creative costumes and play, and Euro-style dance music puts the party-minded crowd in full swing. After a day on the beach, then it’s a short walk to get spiked at the seaside bars where everyone spends the rest of the day and night trying to be King or Queen of the Beach.
By far, Saturday is the biggest party day. Sunday, most of the party-heavy teams have been eliminated and their tents are empty as they nurse their hangovers.
But, when the quarterfinals and semis roll around, people pack the few remaining courts, well stocked on beverages, and kick back to enjoy the show.
One thing that not even the partying can hide is that the 6-man is primary made up of outstanding volleyball play and by Sunday’s quarterfinals, semis and finals, hundreds line the beach and roar with approval at the amazing shots made by the players.