Hermosa And Manhattan Open, Smackfest, 6-Man And The Gills 2013
It’s not summer in Southern California unless there are beach volleyball tournaments and here’s the dates for the key pro (and fun) ones in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach.
• SMACKFEST: JULY 20
North side of Hermosa Beach Pier to 15th Street
What a way to start the South Bay summer of beach volleyball! It’s the best of them all, in part because the people can actually participate. Coed teams of 6-person volleyball takes up the entire north side of the beach at the pier for an all-day event that’s fun even if you don’t play in it.
Like 6-man and The Gillis, Smackfest features teams in themed costumes, and they set up stations on the beach. Between games they run into the bars – Sharkeez on the pier is the official host establishment – to down Bud Light specials and make it back (usually) in time for the next game.
• THE GILLIS: AUG. 10-11
Dockweiler Beach, El Segundo
The Gillis is the original 6-man, a fun tournament where people originally showed up to play the tournament in costumes. This it the 43rd annual event and for that, the organizers deserve a big round of cheers. They even have a beer sponsor (Bud Light)! That’s something they never would have believed in its early years.
The location is actually where they should hold the 6-man, on the “no man’s land” stretch of beach between north Manhattan Beach and Playa del Rey. There’s no houses to trample through in the area, no residents to disturb, few regular beach-goers to obstruct and no one, really, to interrupt. You could put Jimmy Buffett out there and not bother a person. In fact, last year the Gillis did have a band on the beach.
• SURFEST/6-MAN: JULY 31-Aug. 1
South side of the Manhattan Beach Pier
Once the wildest and most fun event not just of the volleyball, or even the summer, but the entire year, the “6-man” as its known to locals has retreated from its recent party past like waves at low tide.
Instead, the focus is back on the volleyball which frankly, was always spectacular even during its zany zenith. Fortunately, there’s still costumes and entertaining (and talented) teams like Smack Sportwear’s super-popular Magnum p.i.. And the Bud Girls going through the bars on the pier during the daytime.
The 2013 event has edged a day closer to the weekend; it’s on Wednesday and Thursday rather than Tuesday-Wednesday like last year.
• HERMOSA BEACH OPEN: AUG. 16-18
North side of Hermosa Beach Pier to 13th Street
This is actually called the West Coast Championships, and it’s part of the pro tour for the National Volleyball League. No matter; locals will always call it the Hermosa Open.
It’s professional beach volleyball. Among the players is Hemosa Beach local Sean “Rosie” Rosenthal, who will have his group of groupies known as Rosie’s Raiders cheering him on (and drinking in the bars). Former Manhattan Beach Open winner Kevin Wong is also an NVL player, as is Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers. April Ross, Jennifer Kessy and Whitney Pavlik are among the top women’s players.
Look for bar promos all weekend on the Hermosa Beach Pier with the Bud Light girls!
• MANHATTAN BEACH OPEN: AUG 23-25
South side of the Manhattan Beach Pier
The AVP is back!
The Association of Volleyball Professionals are fielding the players for the 2013 Manhattan Beach Open which is the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball.
There is some crossover with NVL players – most notably “Rosie” and Rogers – and the AVP’s roster also includes Phil Dahlausser and Kerri Walsh Jennings. So the quality of play will be top-level professionals and that will bring back the volleyball-loving crowd, and that will in turn pack the bars again as in the good ‘ol days.
As with the case in Hermosa the previous weekend, the Bud Light girls will be all over the tournament and handing out Mardi Gras beads and mingling with patrons in the bars along the pier like Shellback Tavern, Ercoles and Shark’s Cove.