Kevin Cody

2017 International Surf Festival a South Bay family affair

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John and Ethan Ward, of Manhattan Beach at the finish of the Velzey Stevens Pier to Pier Paddleboard Race. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

Laker coach Luke Walton and his 30th Street, Manhattan Beach volleyball buddy Richard Jefferson, a member of the 2016 NBA champion Cavaliers, didn’t get enough playing time on Team Fletch last year. Over the past two decades, Team Fletch has been a powerhouse. So Walton and Jefferson did what unhappy, elite athletes do. They arranged to be traded, together. Their new, Team SoHo, is sponsored by Jefferson’s Hermosa Beach yoga studio, of the same name. For a first year expansion team, Team SoHo did well. They made it to the quarter finals. Then Walton and Jefferson were demolished 15 to 3 by their former teammates, a loss made especially painful because Team Fletch plays in Laker uniforms and Afro wigs, in homage to Chevy Chase’s 1985 movie “Fletch.”

Walton’s and Jefferson’s fifth place finish reflected the level of competition, not only in the Six Man, but in all of last weekend’s 56th Annual International Surf Festival events.

Volleyball Olympians Sean Rosenthal, Mike Lambert and Eric Sullivan competed in the Six Man tournament. The ISF lifeguard competition included Olympic swimmers Azad Al-Barazi and Dave Walters and two-time Molokai Outrigger World Champion Danny Ching. Molokai 2 Oahu paddleboard champions Jack Bark and Matt Poole competed in the ISF Riviera Mexican R-10 paddleboard race. Ryland Hart, the 2016 junior division winner in the OC1 (solo outrigger) Molokai to Oahu World Championships, competed in the ISF Velz Stevens Paddleboard Race. Big wave tour pro and 2016 Titans of Mavericks champion Nic Lamb competed in the ISF surf contest.

Luca and Brent Meyer, of Redondo Beach, finishing the Velzy Stevens Pier to Pier Paddleboard Race. Photo by Lisa Zimmerman.

But the most amazing performances among the more than 3,000 competitors in the ISF’s 15 water and beach events were those of the hundred of families who competed together. ER

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