Best of the beach are immortalized on Walk of Fame to kick off AVP Manhattan Beach Open
As the granddaddy of beach volleyball tournaments got underway Thursday, winners of last year’s AVP Manhattan Beach Open were honored with bronze plaques on the Manhattan Beach Pier’s Walk of Fame.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena on the men’s side, and Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day on the women’s side were immortalized again, along with legends of the AVP, from Karch Kiraly to Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Mike and Patty Dodd, billed as the “ultimate beach volleyball couple” with a combined 90 professional wins, introduced the honorees. Mike Dodd won five Manhattan Beach Opens with partner Tim Hovland, and Patty was victorious with Jackie Silva in 1989.
“This is the Wimbledon of beach volleyball, so just being a participant felt like an honor,” said Patty Dodd.
Dalhausser, who has won six Manhattan Beach Opens, two with Lucena, agreed.
“It’s just an honor to even play in the tournament and it’s a humbling experience to get a plaque,” Dalhausser said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”
“Phil has been the best beach volleyball player for awhile. I’m pretty sure a lot of you guys could get your name on the pier if you played with him,” said Lucena.
Hochevar and Day have won the past two Manhattan Beach Opens, but this year they have new partners.
Hochevar said she’s “thankful for a community that values the craft of beach volleyball.”
“When I got the plaque last year, I messaged Misty (May-Treanor) and her response was, ‘It’s about time’ …. it’s such an incredible reminder there’s always someone before you and there’s always someone after you. During this time, it’s just your creative expression of all the joy that this game has brought you.”
Day said Hochevar “taught me how to compete with fire.”
“Walking down this pier you see all the great names… to be placed on the pier next to all these names is what dreams are made of,” Day said.
Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth said the Manhattan Beach Open has a rich history, dating back to 1960, with women getting their own tournament in 1966. She said she’s heard talk that beach volleyball might be headed to Santa Monica for the 2028 Olympics, but she said: “We all want it here.”
“This is the heart and soul of beach volleyball and the players and the fans know it,” Howorth said.