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50th International Surf Festival begins

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International Surf Festival

Residents in the southern section of the Golden State continue to celebrate a golden year of anniversaries. From the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the baseball tradition of the hot dog at Der Weinerschnitzel, 50-year marks are being feted and the South Bay is no exception.

In June, cycling enthusiasts celebrated the 50th Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix and the city will continue its jubilation this weekend with the Charlie Saikley 6-Man beach volleyball tournament, the most popular event of the International Surf Festival which also is enjoying a half century of friendly competition.

The International Surf Festival is presented by BEACHSPORT.org, the Chambers of Commerce and Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Department of Beaches and Harbors and kicks off its competition at 7 p.m. Friday with the LA County Lifeguard Championships, the including Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley Relay, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

The Venice lifeguard team will be aiming for its fifth consecutive championship in the Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley Relay after holding off teams from Dockweiler and Zuma in 2010.

International Surf Festival

The 50th International Surf Festival kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

Stevenson served as Los Angeles County’s Chief lifeguard in 1950s and was instrumental in changing Hollywood’s “beach boy” image of lifeguards by developing the rigorous and comprehensive training programs that has brought lifeguarding standards to its present day status.

Other events on Friday include the 4-Lifeguard Shallow Water Sprint Relay, the 6-Lifeguard Rescue Boat Relay, Junior Lifeguard competitions and the 6-lifeguard run relay where the Torrance/Redondo Beach/Cabrillo team will seek its fifth consecutive title.

Saturday’s competition begins at 6:45 a.m. with International Bodysurfing Championship at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The Surfing Championships start at 7 a.m. on the south side of the Hermosa Beach Pier. Last year’s MVP was Tim Ferguson, who placed first in the Men’s (21 & over) Short Board and first in the Master’s (46 & over) Longboard. The Most Outstanding Surfer in 2010 was Kelly Zaun, who captured the Jr. Men’s (15-20) Shortboard competition.

The Torrance Soccer Association presents the 6th Annual Sand Soccer Challenge beginning at 8 a.m. at Torrance Beach on Saturday and Sunday. Comprised of South High soccer players and a few older athletes, the Watermelons won the adult tournament last year.

Up the coast in Hermosa Beach, the Dick Fitzgerald Two-Mile Run begins at 8 a.m. Fitzgerald was the first Director of the Department of Beaches which was formed in 1969 after county lifeguards, previously under the administration of the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, became overwhelmed with the increasing needs of local beach communities.

Although competition is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, volleyball fans will want to arrive early for the popular tournament named for Charlie Saikley which draws thousands of spectators each year. Known as the “Godfather of Beach Volleyball,” Saikley ran the Manhattan Beach Open for decades and worked for the Manhattan Beach Department of Parks and Recreation for more than 40 years. He died in 2005 at the age of 69.International Surf Festival logo

Last year’s winning teams were Team Magnum (Men’s Open), Paul Martins (Women’s Open), Fonz’s (Men’s Masters 40+), El Sombrero (Women’s Masters) and Rosecrans (Men’s Masters 50+).

The Southern California Lifeguard Championships begin at 7 p.m. at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Events include the US Coast Guard Helicopter & LA County Lifeguard Demo, Lifeguard events, Jr. Lifeguard Taplin, Lifeguard Beach Flags, and the Judge Taplin Three-Mile Lifeguard Medley Relay.

The three-mile relay is named after Judge Irving Taplin, who donated a three-tiered brass bell trophy in the 1930s when lifeguard competitions were organized to demonstrate skills and knowledge of the surf. It was during this period that the first night competitions were held under the lights next to the Hermosa Beach Pier.

The LA Country Central A team will defend its title in the Taplin Medley Relay. The Manhattan A team of Mackenzie Green, Marisa Purcell and Mary Reilly won the 2010 Girls Jr. Lifeguard Taplin Relay while the Venice A boys team captured the All-Stars Jr. Lifeguard Taplin Relay.

Winning last year’s Beach Flags competition was Michael Galate of Pt. Magu. Carly Rogers, Diane Graner-Gallas, Tracy Crothers and Renee Locarnini formed Team Way Cool which emerged victorious in the Women’s 4-Lifeguard Mini Taplin Relay.

The final day of competition begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday with the Velzy-Stevens Paddleboard Championships at the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The event is dedicated to the late Dale Velzy and Terry Stevens. Velzy, a surfing legend, surfboard shaper and paddleboard maker, had a major impact on the design of paddleboards and played a vital role in keeping the sport of paddleboarding alive when shortboard surfing became popular.

Stevens won the Catalina Classic Stock Division (12-foot boards) in 1982, the first year the race was held since 1961. His name was added to the race in 1998, the year he died.

Kyle Daniels, of Rancho Palos Verdes, is the reigning champion finishing with a time of 17 minutes, 15.7 seconds in 2010. Daniels set the race record of 14:27 in 2004 and has won each year since then.

Kylie Petty, of Torrance, was the women’s champion last year, completing the course in 26:21.1

While the final rounds of the 6-man volleyball tournament begin in Manhattan Beach at 9 a.m., the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier swim starts at the same time in Hermosa Beach.

Alexander Kostich and Diane Graner-Gallas are the defending men’s and women’s champions, respectively.

The race is named after Dwight Crum who, as a captain in 1957, introduced Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Program for the first time.

Hermosa Beach is also the site of the Lifeguard Dory Races which begin Sunday at 10 a.m. John Van Duin Wyk (Santa Monica) and Dave Cartlidge (Venice) won the event in 2010.

Under the leadership of Fitzgerald, Assistant Director Stevenson, and Deputy Director Crum, the Department of Beaches was responsible for purchasing public access ways that opened many public beaches that had previously been off limits because of their proximity to private property. The South Bay Bicycle Path was also conceived and constructed during the early 1970s.

Fri.-Sun., July 29-31

Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan, Torrance Beaches

Hosted by the four beach cities, the event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, July 29, with the LA County Lifeguard Championships, including Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley Relay, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

Saturday:

6:45 a.m. – International Bodysurfing Championship, Manhattan Pier, $25 by July 28/$35 on the sand, 545-4825.

7 a.m. – Surfing Championships, south side of Hermosa Pier. 614-9996.

8 a.m. – The Torrance Soccer Association presents the 6th Annual Sand Soccer Challenge, Saturday and Sunday at Torrance Beach.

8 a.m. – Dick Fitzgerald Two-Mile Beach Run, Hermosa Pier, $25 with T-shirt guaranteed by July 20, 310-831-2593.

9 a.m. – Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament, Manhattan Pier, 6-man/6-woman, Applications accepted June 1 through July 2 (early registration May 17 – June 1 for top 32 men’s & women’s teams from 2010). Fees: $500 for Masters Division (non-sponsored); $1,000 Open Division (non-sponsored up to 12 players, $100/player thereafter); $2,500 All Divisions (sponsored up to 20 players, $100/player thereafter). 310-802-5413.

7 p.m. – So. Calif. Lifeguard Championship Events, Hermosa Beach Pier. US Coast Guard Helicopter & LA County Lifeguard Demo, Lifeguard events, Jr. Lifeguard Taplin, Lifeguard Beach Flags, Judge Taplin Three-Mile Lifeguard Medley Relay.

Sunday:

7:30 a.m. – Velzy-Stevens Pier-to-Pier Paddleboard Championship, north side of Manhattan Pier, 310-920-6645.

9 a.m. – Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament, Manhattan Pier, Final rounds of 6-man/6-woman.

9 a.m. – Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim, Hermosa Pier to Manhattan Pier, no race day entries, contestants must pre-qualify, $40 pre-register only. Pier2pier_swim@verizon.net.

10 a.m. – Lifeguard Dory Race, Hermosa Pier, 8:30 a.m. check-in.

1 p.m. – South Bay Youth Swims & Paddles, north side Hermosa Beach Pier.

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