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Itinerary: Beaching It


You don't have to be a beach bunny, sun worshiper or surfer to enjoy the California seaside. The Beach Cities Health District's fifth annual International Surf Festival and Health Fair begins today, offering plenty of activities in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach through the weekend.

Come down and see some of the best lifeguards from the U.S. and Australia test their skills against one another, shoot for a personal best in a plethora of public sporting events, catch a beach volleyball game or simply enjoy the restaurants, shops and the great outdoors.


Check out the finals of the biennial Wieland Shield Competition (Redondo Beach at Avenue C). Lifeguards from California and Australia will compete in a series of events including running, swimming and dory racing. Australia won on its home turf two years ago, and California's team hopes to even the score. The finals begin at 7 p.m. The preliminary round will be held at the Hermosa Beach Pier today at 10 a.m.

Quench your thirst at Naja's Place (154 S. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach. [310] 376-9951). Considered a local landmark, this waterfront pub features more than 77 beers on tap and 777 beers in cans and bottles from around the world. On the nearby Redondo Beach Pier (Torrance Boulevard), you'll find numerous restaurants and a spectacular ocean view.


The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean sang about it, California is known for it and today you too can be part of the Surfin' Safari at the Western Region Surfing Championships (45th Street, Manhattan Beach. Registration: $25). The event gets underway at 6:30 a.m. Of course, if you're out of practice, you can sit on the sandy sidelines.

Get the workout of your life--or at least your weekend--with the Dick Fitzgerald Two-Mile Beach Run (Hermosa Beach Pier. Registration: $20.). Named for a retired Los Angeles County lifeguard, the 8 a.m. event is held on the sands of Hermosa Beach. When runners hit the one-mile mark, they turn around and head back to the pier.

Check your blood pressure afterward at the Beach Cities Health District Health Fair on the Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza (Pier Avenue at Hermosa Avenue, [310] 374-3426). The free fair offers 15 screenings, including tests for skin cancer and bone density, vision and hearing. You can also donate blood and learn about clinical trials and women's health. The daylong fair begins at 9 a.m.

The Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza is a pleasant place to spend the evening, with several outdoor cafes and restaurants that are jumpin' all night long. Grab a mai tai at Aloha Sharkeez (52 Pier Ave., [310] 374-7823). Watch the sunset from the patio deck at Hennessey's Tavern (8 Pier Ave., [310] 372-5759). Or hit the dance floor at Sangria Restaurant (68 Pier Ave., [310] 376-4412.


Watch triathletes and Sunday swimmers test their skill in the water at the annual Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim (Hermosa Beach Pier, [310] 305-9546. Registration is closed). The one-mile swim begins at 9 a.m. and ends on the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier.

If you prefer sand over surf, head to the annual Sand Castle Contest (south side of the Manhattan Beach Pier, [310] 802-5419). Make a city by the sea or turn your landlubber friend into a mermaid. The free contest gets underway at 8 a.m. and will include several age divisions.

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