The good and the well, not so great, things about the Manhattan Beacn Surfest. Once one of the greatest events in the South Bay the move to the weekday tames but does not end the party.
Surfest and 6-man Volleyball Tournament Fun Costume Event Much More Tame in 2012
The scene at 6-man from the Pier. Photo taken in 2009. It won't be that way in 2012..
It was, at one time, what Manhattan Beach, CA is all about. Exercise and socialize.
Compare this, taken Tuesday at 11:30 in 2012, to the previos photo from the Pier.
This is the "crowd" on Tuesday afternoon in 2012.
Team Fletch drew a few fans on Tuesday afternoon.
There was good action on the courts, here from the Bud Man team.
Team Bud Man gets a block in 2012.
Once in Shellback, people could party and even go for two-fisted fun.
You could find a party if you went to Shellback in the afternoon.
The annual Surf Festival – more popularly known as the 6-man – 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 that for several years made it the quintessential Manhattan Beach event.
The Team PubClub video from 6-man/Surfest, the good times in Manhattan Beach
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. Among the teams have beenthe "Lakers" in Afro wigs, Magnum P.I., nurses, Matrix (girls in all leather), Boy Scouts, Abraham Lincolns, the Mullets and the Sex Kittens.
Babes in bikinis on the beach have always been a part of 6-man.
Speaking of babes in bikinis on the beach...
The girls not only look great, they can play, too!
The event is always held the first weekend of August. Well not in 2012, unfortunately. It is in the middle of the week, a Tuesday and Wednesday, July 31 an Aug. 1. And it's under the ever more watchful eye of the Manhattan Beach Police and City Council. It is not be the same scene as it has been on Saturdays or even Sundays the past dozen-plus years. The crowd is, as predicted here, made up primarily of area high school students who are off for summer break, rather than the vast majority of South Bay professionals who normally patrol the tents.
The 2012 "crowds" have been more like that of a Sunday morning, and certainly nothing like the recent past on a Saturday. The Manhattan Beach Police, apparently fearing a rave concert was about to break out, actually set up a "command center" in a parking lot. There were so many people in uniform that the police and security seemed to outnumber spectators for most of Tuesday.
Whether or not 6-man even survives is a big question.
Well, what follows from this point forward in this article are in photos and prose is what it used to be like at 6-man. And, perhaps, will be again one day:
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.
Smack Sportwear-sponsored Magum P.I., which wins just about every year – in 2009 they were, no doubt, inspired by having the PubClubettes as cheerleaders – grows moustaches, wears Aloha shirts and plays the theme song to the TV show Magnum p.i. With the entertaining and silly J.T. on a bullhorn and breaks in the middle of games to kneel to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" make this the most entertaining team on the beach.
Then again, there was Team PubClub fro a couple of years. The team wasn't any good but the cheerleaders were, for the the PubClubettes cheers included, "Shot shot, what a shot. The PubClubettes are really hot!" And "Win or Lose, We Booze!"
Each team has a tent and in the past the players had the types of beverages that inspired creative costumes and play. Euro-style dance music put 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 was the biggest party day with more than 20,000 people on the the beach, most of whom either live in the South Bay, used to live in the South Bay and came back for the event or were visiting someone they know who lives in the South Bay.
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.
Those days were often the best, when the real talent of the volleyball players shined. The quality of play was dazzling and people crowded around the courts to enjoy the show and the entertainment the players provided.
It's good that Team Magnum is back in 2012, but the entire event faces a challenge for its survival. There will be no party on the beach, but perhaps Shellback Tavern will serve as a permanent party tent after the Tuesday and Wednesday matches.
Six-Man 2011 Scene And The Alcohol Crackdown
Compare this to the lead photo; the crowd was about the same size in 2011.
There was still a party.
But the party was not so much on the beach but in the bars and especially the houses on the Strand. Could the crackdown on the sand revive the once-legendary Manhattan Beach house parties!? Sure seems that way.
Barricades from the Strand to the Pier only delayed people getting on the sand.
A DJ on the Pier looks down at the 6-man scene.
Security searches a backpack for alcohol (there was none).
There were tons of barricades on the beach and entrance points at the Pier, 9th Street and even two blocks to the north at 12th Street has security stationed checking backpacks for "contraband." And that meant alcohol.
Plenty of room on the sand on Saturday at 6-man 2011.
The sand-to-Strand crowd on Saturday afternoon.
There is volleyball – good volleyball – along with all the antics.
There's one thing the police and city council can't take away: bikinis!
Not all teams and players are the quality caliber of Magnum but they have fun.
Costumes are always a big part of 6-man.
Actually, things were really under control and calm, and police and security sseemed pretty relaxed, which kept everyone in a relaxed mood themselves. There were the usual costumes – Tropic Thunder, Scottish Kilts, Running of the Bulls matadors and "Hulk Hogan" – so in some ways, 6-man was much the same as it has been for years.
A new winner emerged at 6-man in 2011 as Simmzy's beat Magnum p.i., 15-9 in an electrifying final on Sunday before a few hundred people on the Strand and around Court 5.
Comprised mainly of talent from the top collegiate programs of UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, Simmzy's had an edge over the defending champions: They were more more serious than fun-loving Magnum.
MANHATTAN BEACH 6-MAN PHOTOS PAST YEARS & COSTUMES
The Sex Kittens, one of the clever names at 6-man.
Kilts. Gotta love kilts.
"Give us a cheer if you like our rear." Really, that's what they said.
There was a time when red cups were allowed on the beach for 6-man.
Let's hear it for the MBFD and the girls poised to pounce at the net.