In an atmosphere described as “smaller, more cozy” and “toned down” by various local media outlets, the Charlie Saikley 6-Man tournament crowned two new champions during the International Surf Fest on Manhattan Beach, July 31. It was the third year for the mid-week Wednesday-Thursday schedule for the iconic 6-person sand volleyball event, and participation continued to be low compared to the tournament’s hey-day. In 2010, the tournament welcomed 65,000 spectators and 143 teams, according to the Daily Breeze. This year, however, only 43 teams came out to compete.
Despite a significant drop in registration numbers from years past, familiar teams floated to the top of the double elimination tournament. On the women’s side, 900 Club took home all the glory, defeating Rusher Air 900 twice (15-10, 11-9), a necessity since they came up through the losers’ bracket. Rusher Air, formerly known as Bacchus, had won the tournament for five consecutive years, but lost its hold on the title this year behind excellent performances by 900 Club’s Nikki Jagd, Geena Urango, Ali Daley-McColloch, and others.
The Deck, formerly known as 12th Street, won the men’s tournament, facing Team Fletch in the final. Fletch came through the losers’ bracket like 900 Club did, so even though they won the first final game, they dropped the second and sacrificed the championship. The Deck featured beach gold medalist Eric Fonoimoana and pro beach legend David Swatik along with former indoor national team players Bryan Ivie, Dave McKienzie, and Bob Samuelson.
In the Masters division, Desperate Housewives took the women’s top prize while Century Club/Cause won the men’s.