Beach Blanket Bummer

As the legendary 6-Man competition nears a 40-year milestone, one local resident and former participant laments what he calls the “neutering” of his beloved South Bay summer event.

Photos courtesy of Anthony Moore and www.facebook.com/the6Man

As the legendary 6-Man competition nears a 40-year milestone, one local resident and former participant laments what he calls the “neutering” of his beloved South Bay summer event.

 

In 2006, a college friend sent out a “save the date” for his wedding in Santa Monica on the first Saturday in August. Other buddies began scheduling hotels, but I explained that I’d probably be a nuptials no-show. Despite an onslaught of outrage as if I’d sold secrets to al-Qaeda, I stood firm. “It’s 6-Man,” I said, as if that should explain everything. 

I described 6-Man as a spectacular party on the beach featuring the greatest collection of swimsuit talent ever assembled in one place, much better than any spring break. I told my pals that unless the wedding took place at night, I’d miss it—because there was no way I’d miss 6-Man. 

 

“You guys and your wives need to get three van taxis and a couple of cases of beer and head down to Manhattan Beach.” The naysayers accused me of overhyping the eye candy, so I beseeched them to trust me on this. 

“I don’t know if the wives are gonna be cool with us staring at hot chicks all day,” one husband commented, prompting a slew of seconds. I continued to campaign. “Your wives will be too busy gawking at the 6’5” guys with a sheen of sweat on their eight-pack abs to even notice you’re there.”

How I wish iPhones existed back then! I would have framed the photo of my 16 dumbstruck friends—male and female—as they stood on the bike path overlooking the action. Without a word, husbands and wives divvied up the beers and headed in separate directions—eyes sparkling and jaws agape. 

At the wedding that night, I was thanked nonstop. My back grew sore from the appreciative slaps.

"At the 2010 town council meeting regarding the neutering of 6-Man, I stood up and asked, ‘When did Manhattan Beach become the town from Footloose?’ "

If you re-read my description of the event, you’ll notice something missing: volleyball. Sure, the Charlie Saikley Tournament features world-class beach volleyball, but that’s not why 90% of the attendees showed up. Nope, 6-Man meant skin and fun, booze and sun. 

And costumes! Teams dressed up in coordinated outfits designed to entertain (WWE wrestlers, complete with ring ropes around their side of the court) and excite (every female team). Ah, the women; 6-Man is like Halloween in summer—an acceptable excuse to dress slutty.

Charles Saikley, Jr., understandably wants to continue his father’s legacy. And that’s nice. But he’s really missing the point. If it was just about beach volleyball, only 20 teams would have ever signed up, since all the ballers know each other and realize who has an actual chance to win and who does not. 

Nobody would pay money for the privilege of getting blown out. But close to 100 teams used to sign up, because they got to bump it around after dressing up in ridiculous costumes. The latter, of course, required considerable quantities of liquid courage.

Naturally, the Enemies of Fun threw a big, wet beach blanket on the festivities. At the 2010 town council meeting regarding the neutering of 6-Man, I stood up and asked, “When did Manhattan Beach become the town from Footloose?” That night, apparently.

At that meeting, many citizens bemoaned the loss of the “family element” that 6-Man apparently had in 1974. I loved that argument: parents outraged that their precious children would see scantily-clad women frolicking on the beach.

Uhhh, Holier Than Thou-ers, do you ever look at what the 11-year-olds wear on The Strand these days? Try getting your kids in check before you start imposing your standards on the adults in town. 

Sane people proposed making 6-Man an over-21 event by roping it off and checking IDs at the gates. Apparently, this is an impossibility not even worth attempting, even less likely than The Strand House or Circa charging less than $15 for a drink.

They tell me that 6-Man is played on Wednesday and Thursday now. Sounds more like “Sucks, Man” to me.

 

More Stories
Homes, People

Bohemian Rhapsody

A couple pairs his Tunisian hospitality with her flair for style and design to create two successful local enterprises.

Eat & Drink, People

A Tale of Two Cities

Coast-to-coast deliciousness at the recently opened Manhattan House

Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
JOIN THE SOUTHBAY COMMUNITY
ErrorHere