Crazy Dress-Up Beach Volleyball Tournament Creeps Closer To The Weekend
There are but 12 courts for the 2016 event, extending for a single block. By contrast, at its peak there were 12 legends courts and the tournament stretched from the pier to close to 6th Street, or half a dozen blocks.
But at least it’s still around, and on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 4th and 5th, it returns to the Manhattan Beach Pier for two days of high-quality 6-person competition in the birthplace of modern beach volleyball.
Play runs all day, with the finals to take place at around 3 o’clock on Friday. Top indoor, AAU and collegiate players participate, along with some long-time former stars who can still spike it, in women’s and men’s divisions.
As a nod to Saikley – who started the tournament to showcase the local South Bay culture during the International Surf Festival – and the event’s history, several teams will be dressed in costumes.
There’s probably Team Fletch who dress in Lakers basketball uniforms, the WWF wrestlers who line the court with ropes as if it’s a boxing ring, and girls in flight attendant outfits.
What you won’t see is the all-out party of the recent past in which team lined tents up along the sand, DJs played and there was all manner of not-so-hidden alcohol consumed at such as pace that destroyed people’s brain cells for the rest of the month.
That was when the tournament was held on the weekend, but now the party has moved from the beach to the beach bars, in particular Shellback Tavern and Ercoles. Shellback is so packed it’s hard to get into the place throughout the day on Thursday and Friday.
A major crackdown on the fun, led by the Manhattan Beach police chief at the time, went overboard and stripped the tournament of its weekend dates. It was first moved to a Tuesday and Wednesday, then to a Wednesday and Thursday and now is creeping back to the weekend by being on a Thursday and Friday.
There is also more security and checkpoints than you find at a concert venue, all to keep people from bringing a little booze onto the beach.
But you can still have fun because the people who play and watch it are just plain fun. They like to mix volleyball with cocktails (or, more to the point, with beer) and Shellback and Erc’s are more than happy to host the partiers.