Once again, the 49th annual International Surf Festival commandeered the beaches and bars of South L.A. Bay over the weekend. Over 4,000 competitors took to the chilly waters and staked their claims to the be king of the beach. To get the contestants fired up, the U.S Coastguard showed off their critical training and high tech toys with a demonstration where a guard repelled from a helicopter into a boat hitting speeds over 40 knots. The rowers, paddlers, and swimmers had to crash through the Redondo shore-breakers before rallying around buoys anchored throughout the bay.
The crowd went NASCAR crazy every time a set wave would stuff a paddle-boarder into the sand, or send a Surf-Dory careening over the falls. When the spume settled, the local Redondo lifeguard squad took home bragging rights in the relay race, Dockweiler won the shallow water swim event, Zuma won the six-man paddle-board race,and Venice won the Bud Stevenson Intra-crew Medley Relay for the fourth year in a row.
The Saturday night SWELL concert at Kilkenny’s kept the mojo rocking and everyone’s ears ringing with local South Bay rockers Tall Cans and Smart Patrol. Its refreshing to see a show with some smoking hot ladies in a rock band ripping on guitar and vocals. SWELL was stoked to support these home-town bands who have an insane stage presence, and filthy maneuvers in the surf.
The weekend culminated with the 6-Man Volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach. The tourney was borderline out of control with hundreds of teams sporting crazy uniforms, choreographed taunting, and hard-core heckles. Again, team SWELL a.k.a “The Barney Killers” drew throngs of thongs, and tested the nerves of their opponents every time our ruthless mascot got on the megaphone. One team took the insults a little too personal, and was disqualified for an un-sportsmanlike reaction to a barney joke. Bronzed Volleyballer Nick Glavas remarked, “Hey, if your not cheating, your not trying at the six-man”.
Captain Aaron Wachfogel carried the SWELL team to a respectable 3rd place finish. To top things off, the sun came out and the waves turned on for the last day of the Surf Festival. See you next year.
Check out all the pics below