Randy Angel

Beach Summer Calendar 2014: International Surf Festival

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Over 1,000 swimmers compete in the Dwight Crum Pier to Pier Swim. Photo by Joel Gitelson

Over 1,000 swimmers compete in the Dwight Crum Pier to Pier Swim. Photo by Joel Gitelson

Starting in 1962, the International Surf Festival has provided friendly, though highly competitive swim, paddle, run, row and volleyball events, highlighted by competition between the work’s best beach lifeguards.

Action begins Wednesday and Thursday, July 30-31 at the Manhattan Beach Pier when the popular Charlie Saikley 6-Man beach volleyball tournament celebrates its 54th year.

Costume-clad teams vie for the coveted championship while thousands of spectators watch a high level of beach volleyball that includes some of the greats of the game.

Comprised mostly of Mira Costa and Loyola High School alums, Simmzy’s won the 2013 Men’s open tournament while Rusher/Bacchus 900 captured its fifth consecutive Women’s Open title.

Friday, August 1

The LA County Lifeguard Championships will take place at 7 p.m. at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

Lifeguards will compete in the 6-lifeguard run relay; 4-lifeguard shallow water sprint relay; and the 6-lifeguard rescue board relay. Following will be the Bud Stevenson Intra Crew consisting of two runners, four swimmers, four paddlers, one surf ski paddler, and four two-person dorys.

Venice will attempt to defend its title against Cabrillo-Torrance-Redondo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Dockweiler, Venice, Santa Monica, Will Rogers, Malibu, Zuma Beach, and the Baywatch Rescue Boat Crews.

Saturday, August 2

Saturday’s action begins at 6:45 a.m. with the International Bodysurfing Championship on the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier with eight men’s and women’s divisions. Age groups will be determined immediately before the contest begins and will be approximately equal in size. Limited to 108 male contestants and 36 female contestants. The top 2 finishers in each preliminary heat will advance.

The ISF Body Surfing Championships are run by the Gillis Beach Bodysurfing Association. Participants range in ability from the novices to former World Champions. Swim fins only. Entries must be received on or before Thursday, July 31 or a late fee will be assessed. Beach entries will only be accepted if space is available.

On the south side of the pier, the Surfing Championship will start at 7:30 a.m. Surfing has been absent from the International Surf Festival in recent years because summer surf is so inconsistent in the South Bay. But contest director John Joseph  is hoping (the ISF website solicits prayers) for surf this year. Divisions will include men’s and women’ short boards, long boards and stand-up paddleboards. Advance registration is advised. Beach entries will only be allowed if there are division openings.

At Hermosa Beach, the Dick Fitzgerald Two-Mile Beach Run starts and finishes at the pier beginning at 8 a.m. Defending champions are the husband and wife team of Jeff and Alison Atkinson, of Manhattan Beach. Jeff was first across the finish line with a time of 13 minutes, 5.07 seconds. Alison finished at 14:51.06.

At 9 a.m., the California Beach Volleyball Association will host the first of two days of tournaments that include Men’s Unrated, B and Open, Women’s A and Open and Co-ed A and AAA divisions.

The Southern California Lifeguard Championships will be held under the lights at 7 p.m., allowing the lifeguards to safeguard the beach during the day and race at night. The event features the Lifeguard Taplin relay consisting of four swimmers, four paddlers, and four 2-man dory teams.

Prior to the Taplin relay, spectators will be treated to rescue demonstrations, Jr. Lifeguard relays, and Lifeguard Beach Flags.

Sunday August 3

Sunday’s competition starts with the Velzy-Stevens Pier-to-Pier Paddleboard Championship presented by the South Bay Boardriders Club. The race is named after after pioneer paddleboard builder Dale Velzy and champion paddler Terry Stevens. The race starts off the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier and finishes on the beach, south of the Hermosa Beach Pier. It’s family-friendly, with parents and kids paddling tandem and others riding all sorts of boards.  Max First had the fastest time in 2013 with a mark of 17:06. Tess King was the top female with a time of 21:04.

The Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim begins at the Hermosa Beach Pier at 9 a.m.

Last year over 1,100 swimmers completed the grueling two-mile course. Any contestant who did not complete the 2013 Pier-to-Pier swim must pass a 500-meter “check out” swim.  Swim “check outs” will be held at the Hermosa Beach Pier on July 12, 19, and 20 from 9–11 a.m.

San Pedro’s Kevin Fink won last year’s swim with a time of 41:21 while former Mira Costa swimming star Taylor Spivey won the women’s division at 44:06.

At 8:30 a.m., the 3-Lap Dory Race will be held at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Two-man dory crews will row through the surf, around the Hermosa Pier, and back through the surf on the north side of the pier. One crewmember exits the dory and runs across a flag line on the beach, returns to the dory completing the lap.

The Doryman’s Relay will follow immediately after the 3-Lap Dory Race on the north side of the pier. This event pits individual team members against each other. The Doryman’s Relay is where each team member rows their dory out through the surf, around a buoy, and back through the surf individually, tags their partner where their partner will row the same course. This process will occur twice.

Defending champions are Tom Seth, of Manhattan Beach, and Dave Cartlidge, of Redondo Beach.

For more information, visit SurfFestival.org.