Kevin Cody

Pandemic cancels International Surf Festival, but not Surf Festival traditions

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Swimmers uphold Surf Festival Pier to Pier tradition, despite the pandemic. Photo by Philicia Endelman (

by Kevin Cody

Sunday at 9 a.m., as Gary Crum has done on the first Sunday of every August for the past decade, the retired Los Angeles County Lifeguard Section Chief fired the starting gun for the Two Mile Hermosa Beach Pier to Manhattan Beach Pier swim. Also on Sunday, as he has done for the past four consecutive years, audiologist Brian Bullock won the pier to pier swim.

Roughly 100 swimmers responded to Crum’s starter gun, keeping alive the annual International Surf Festival Dwight Crum Pier to Pier Swim tradition. The race, named after Crum’s dad, normally attracts over 1,000 of the world top open ocean swimmers. But like all International Surf Festival events this year, the official pier to pier swim was canceled.

Following the swim, approximately 50 paddlers, on stand-ups, prone boards and surfboards, raced in the opposite direction, from the Manhattan Beach pier to the Hermosa Beach pier. They were keeping alive the Surf Festival Velzy-Stevens Pier to Pier Paddleboard Race tradition. The official race was also cancelled because of the pandemic. 

Fortunately, swimmers and paddlers prefer to social distance. ER


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