Players of all skill levels – and attire – pose for a pre-tournament photo at the 21st edition of Smackfest. Photo by Brad Jacobson
Team Pin Ups & Pilots flew through their opening matches. Pictured are (front l-r) Anna Piccioni, Gina King, Karie Klaczkiewicz, and Kasey Johnson, (top row) Noah Balou, Paul Bryan, Alex Hawkins, Justin Skinner and Matt Keller. Photo by Randy Angel
While young beach volleyball players were battling it out on the north side of the Hermosa Beach Pier, the south side had a totally different atmosphere.
Thousands of players, fans and partiers converged for the 21 annual Smackfest beach volleyball tournament where costumes and socializing was more important than winning and losing.
Smackfest, the largest Co-ed 4’s beach volleyball tournament in the United States, featured a “Fun” division with 36 pools of costume-themed teams. Coming out on top was Pandas in the Mist team that included some pros/NCAA standouts like Danny Newman, Erik Gomez, Clay Paulin as well as Dylan Maarek and April Bernardi.
Winning the inaugural Dave Williams Memorial Pro Division were the locals from 16th St., including reigning champs Kevin and Shelly Norman, Paul Baxter along with Barney and Jake Rosener.
The Dave Williams Pro Division featured many of the sport’s elite athletes. Photo by Brad Jacobson.
Net proceeds from the division and a raffle being donated to USA Volleyball fund in Williams’s name, which helps young athletes, learn to play and enjoy the sport.
“Dave was a huge force in the volleyball community and we wanted to acknowledge his tremendous contribution to the sport,” event organizer Bill Sigler said.
Legends like Holly McPeak, Sinjin Smith, and Tim Hovland were in attendance.
“This event reminds me of when I played back in the 80’s … how volleyball was synonymous with the So Cal lifestyle,” Smith said.
Smackfest was sponsored by Bud Light, Smack Sportswear, Barefoot Wine, UPTime Energy drink, E&B Natural Resources, Kind Snacks, Deep Eddy Vodka, Baja Sharkeez and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
“I’ve been running Smackfest for 21 years, and I think we really nailed it this year,” Sigler said. “It’s a tribute to my operations team, the sponsors, as well as all those involved from the City. Smackfest has become quite an amazing traditional that displays what is best about the South Bay.”
The first Smackfest Coed 4′s tournament (held to launch Smack Sportswear) was held at 15th St. in Manhattan Beach and featured about 40 participants. Smackfest moved to 8th St. in Hermosa in 1999, then moved to Hermosa Pier in 2002, and by 2009 over 1000 people were playing, with thousands of spectators.
Cirque de Hermosa team members Kelsey Horst, James Little, Evan Squire, Andy Aguila and Richell Squire enjoyed the circus-type atmosphere. Photo by Randy Angel