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Enjoy the Surf Festival All Weekend

Aug 02, 2019 06:04PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

A previous Sand Castle Design Contest Winner

This weekend in Manhattan Beach is all about the International Surf Festival. Whether you're in it for the volleyball, the paddling and swimming, or the sand castles, there's something for everyone. This year's Manhattan Beach-based events include:

6-Man and Junior 6-Man

The Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament (a.k.a. the 6-Man) will be held on Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. The Jr. 6-Man (for boys and girls ages 12-18) will be held on Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. Both events will be held just south of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

This popular tournament is known for the players' spirited revelry and unique costumes. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to watch this free event.

Saikley, who is known as the "Godfather of Beach Volleyball," brought the Manhattan Beach 6-Man Volleyball Tournament to the South Bay more than 40 years ago. In a nod to his original vision for the event that began in 1974, his family has worked alongside the Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department to bring back the all-age inclusive, family-friendly feel to the event.


The International Bodysurfing Championship will take place on Saturday, August 3 on the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier at 6:45 a.m. Participants use no special equipment except for swim fins. Late entries may still be accepted if space in age groups is available.

Velzy-Stevens Paddle

The Velzy-Stevens Pier-to-Pier Paddle starts on Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Manhattan Beach Pier (water start). Paddlers will race to the south side of the Hermosa Beach Pier. The race is presented by the South Bay Boardriders Club.

The race is named for Dale Velzy, who is credited with being the world's first commercial surfboard shaper and who opened the first professional surf shop in Manhattan Beach in 1950; as well as Terry Stevens, a renowned local paddler and surfer.

Pier-to-Pier Swim

The Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim is one of the most popular long distance swims in the United States, with more than 1200 participants last year. Swimmers enter the water south of the Hermosa Beach Pier, swim around the pier parallel to shore, then round the Manhattan Beach Pier and finish on the beach north of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Legendary lifeguard Dwight Crum served as the first chairman of the International Surf Festival when it was created in 1963, and held this position for 15 years. The Pier-to-Pier Swim was one of the original International Surf Festival events and has been conducted for 56 consecutive years since. The race was named after Crum in 1972 in recognition of his contributions to the festival. He was especially known for leading the race start, running over and grabbing his swim cap, and joining the race himself. He competed in the race numerous times, including his last swim at age 72. Crum passed away in 2000 at the age of 77. His son Gary, himself a decorated lifeguard, is currently the chairman of the race.

Sand Castle Contest

What would a surf festival be without a sand castle contest? Bring your shovels, buckets, and imagination to the 59th annual Sand Castle Design Contest, which will be held on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier on Sunday morning. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m., and building goes from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Registration is free and open to individual youths and adults as well as multi-age groups. The contest is run by the Manhattan Beach Department of Parks and Recreation with prizes sponsored by DigMB.

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