Manhattan Beach Six-Man draws more than 60,000

Manhattan Beach Six Man

The 50th annual Charlie Saikley Six-Man Volleyball Tournament attracted an estimated 60-to-65,000 people, according to the Manhattan Beach Police Department. PHOTO BY ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN

Throngs of bikini-clad, sunglasses-wearing beachgoers – an estimated 60,000 to 65,000 people, police say – flocked to Manhattan Beach this past weekend for the 50th annual Charlie Saikley Six-Man Volleyball Tournament.

Music blared from speakers on the pier, while teams competed on the beach, wearing everything from kilts, sombreros and feather headpieces to neon orange Speedos.

“It’s what we expected,” said Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve Irvine, overseeing the crowd while standing on Manhattan Beach Boulevard. “Controlled.”

Police made 35 arrests throughout the city over the weekend – 23 for individuals drunk in public, and the remainder ranging from DUIs to thefts, according to Stephanie Martin, the police department’s press information officer. Citations were also issued for open alcohol containers and minors in possession, she said. The number of arrests attributed to the Six-Man tournament could not be determined at this time, she said.

Out of the total arrests, eight occurred on Saturday morning, 23 between Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m. and four on Sunday afternoon. Every officer who was available was mandated to work over the weekend, but Martin declined to comment on how many officers that included. “Even with full force, we could’ve still used more folks,” she said, adding, “It’s kind of hard to ensure safety for 60 to 65,000 people with a department our size.”

Manhattan Beach City Councilmember Richard Montgomery thought the crowds reduced from last year, but notes that it is complicated to come up with a crowd estimate. For next year, Montgomery has asked the International Surf Festival to hire an expert in crowd estimates so the city can obtain a more accurate number.

Montgomery also said that the $100,000 shortfall in funds for the event that the city was going to cover has been reduced by two new sponsors and 20 extra teams that registered for the tournament last month. Hotel and sales taxes from the weekend, the exact income of which will not be known until next quarter, will also help cover the shortfall, Montgomery said.

Dan Carlton, a bartender at Manhattan Beach Brewing Company, said this past weekend was twice as busy as last year, in terms of number of people and sales. The bar hired extra security for the weekend, but on Saturday had to call in two extra bartenders to work – at one point, customers were ordering 20 shots at a time, he said.

“It’s one of those things you thought you were prepared for, but realize half way through the day, oh my goodness, you’re taking on too much water and you’re drowning,” Carlton said. “It will absolutely overwhelm you.”

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