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As part of the 2018 International Surf Festival the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier race took place Sunday morning August 5, 2018. The men's winner was Ryan Bullock winning his 4th Pier-to-Pier and 3rd consecutive. Photo By Charles Bennett

Lifeguards from throughout Southern California will converge on the South Bay beach cities this weekend for the 57th International Surf Festival, which is expected to draw thousands of participants for a series of water and beach sports competitions.

The event runs through Sunday, Aug. 4.

The festival began Wednesday, July 31, with a King Harbor Youth Sailing event, and a Los Angeles County Lifeguard Medal of Valor dinner, at Seaside Lagoon, honoring several lifeguards for their bravery during rescues. There are no events on Thursday.

The festival is meant to promote the South Bay beach cities and what organizers called the “world’s best lifeguard service.” Participants range from 8 years old to those in their late 80s.

The L.A. County Lifeguard Championships are set for Friday and Saturday night under the lights at Hermosa Beach Pier.

“Those two nights are pretty important to the lifeguard ecosystem,” said Adam Sandler, a board member for the event and a lifeguard since 1978. “It’s something to behold when you see the people on the beach at the water line and then disappear out into the darkness. It’s a pretty unique visual.”

This is also the second year for the Linkletter Women’s Surf Relay, named after L.A. County’s first lifeguard section chief, Chris Linkletter, Sandler said.

Hallmarks of the Surf Festival include the Charlie Saikley 6-Man Volleyball Tournament, which begins 9 a.m. Friday and continues Saturday at Manhattan Beach Pier; the Judge Taplin Lifeguard Medley Relay, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hermosa Beach Pier; and the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim, at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

The medley dates back to 1936 and is the most prestigious lifeguard event in the country, according to the surf festival’s website.

A dozen other events are scheduled in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance.

“It’s a pretty impressive athletic display,” Sandler said.

Scheduled highlights

Friday, August 29:00 a.m.: Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament, at the Manhattan Beach Pier.7:30 p.m.: L.A. County Lifeguard Championships, at the Hermosa Beach PierSaturday, August 36:45 a.m.: International Bodysurfing Championship, on the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.7:30 a.m.: Surfing Championships, on the south side of the Hermosa Beach Pier.8:00 a.m.: R-10 Paddleboard Race, at Torrance Beach.8:00 a.m.: Dick Fitzgerald Two-Mile Beach Run, on the north side of the Hermosa Beach Pier.9:00 a.m.: Charlie Saikley Volleyball Tournament, at the Manhattan Beach Pier.9:00 a.m.: California Beach Volleyball, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.7:30 p.m.: Southern California Lifeguard Championship Events, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.Sunday, August 47:30 a.m.: Velzy-Stevens Pier-to-Pier Paddleboard Championship, on the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.7:30 a.m.: Sand Castle Design Contest, on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.9:00 a.m.: California Beach Volleyball, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.9:00 a.m.: Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim, from the Hermosa Beach Pier to the Manhattan Beach Pier.9:00 a.m.: The Junior 6-Man Beach Volleyball Tournament (boys and girls 12 to 18 years old), on the south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier..9:30 a.m.: Paul Matthies Dory Race, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.1:00 p.m.: South Bay Youth Swims and Paddles, on the north side of the Hermosa Beach Pier.

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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