By Michele E. Buttelman
It’s no secret that California is one of the best destinations to visit for world-class sports. From its mesmerizing water games and long-distance marathons to championship-winning collegiate and professional sports teams, California truly has it all.
California is also home to some unusual sports and unique venues.
The sport was established in 1922 when the Santa Monica Beach Club was founded and by 1927 five more clubs were established in California. As a result, Southern California was designated as the origin of beach volleyball.
If you are interested in taking up the sport, or want to try a friendly game, volleyball courts can be found on the following Los Angeles County Beaches:
Malibu Surfrider Beach
Will Rogers Beach
For information on reservations and rules and regulations visit https://beaches.lacounty.gov/la-county-beaches-volleyball-courts/.
For information on professional and team beach volleyball matches visit the California Beach Volleyball Association at https://cbva.com.
World Waveski Surfing Titles
The World Waveski Surfing Titles is coming to Ventura Nov. 7-13.
The event is expected to attract more than 100 competitors to the U.S. from waveski hotbeds of Australia, South Africa, France, Spain, Portugal and Peru.
The last time the event was held in the United States was in 1986 in Hawaii.
Waveskis are a type of surfboard that allows the rider to sit on top of the surfboard. Waveski surfing is a unique combination of paddle power with the performance of a surfboard.
This event will showcase the world’s best waveski surfers who will descend on California Street’s Surfers Point in Ventura.
For more information visit https://visitventuraca.com.
Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in popularity in the world. California has two professional Major League Rugby teams, the Los Angeles Giltinis and the San Diego Legion.
The L.A. Giltinis play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the San Diego Legion play at the new Snapdragon Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University at SDSU Mission Valley.
The Giltinis won the championship in the 2021 Major League Rugby Final.
There are several amateur rugby teams in Southern California including the Los Angeles Rugby Club and the Santa Monica Rugby Club.
The Santa Monica Rugby Club fields nearly 20 rugby teams for men, women and youth. Visit www.santamonicarugby.com.
The Los Angeles Rugby Club fields several teams for men and youth. Visit www.larugby.com.
Rugby is also played on many college campuses including men’s and women’s rugby teams at California State University, Northridge, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Southern California.
Extreme Running Events
Western States Endurance Run
The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race. The run starts in Olympic Valley, near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and ends 100.2 miles later at Placer High School in Auburn.
In the decades since its inception in 1974, Western States has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.
The trail runners traverse climbs more than 18,000 feet and descends nearly 23,000 feet and includes a crossing of the ice-cold waters of the Middle Fork of the American River.
Demand is so high to participate in this race that runners are chosen by lottery.
Spectators can cheer on participants at several venues along the race course including the finish line at the Placer High School track, 275 Orange St, Auburn, CA 95603 and the Forest Hill Aid Station, at mile 62 of the run, in the small town of Forest Hill.
This ultimate test of endurance highlights the rugged beauty of Placer County. Held annually on the last full weekend in June, the next run will be held June 24-25, 2023. For more information visit www.wser.org.
The Avalon Benefit 50 Mile/50K Run
This is the oldest Ultra Trail Run in California with the 50-mile run entering its 42nd year. The run begins and ends in Avalon and in between runners traverse the entire length of the island and back.
This race offers beautiful vistas, tremendous views of the Pacific Ocean and a glimpse of a bison or two.
The next run is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2023.
For more information visit www.avalon50.com.
Oceanside Hosts Year-Round Sports
Oceanside is home to a year-round calendar of impressive athletic events that attract both participants and spectators.
Labor Day Pier Swim is a nearly 100-year-old tradition that takes swimmers around the iconic pier.
Bike the Coast on Nov. 5 caters to cyclists of all levels with varying distances from seven to 100 miles.
The Ironman 70.3 Oceanside April 1, 2023 is a highlight for triathletes.
Oceanside is also the starting location for Race Across America June 2023, an annual 3,000-mile transcontinental bicycle race from the west to the east coast.
For more information visit VisitOceanside.com.
Paragliding, Hang Gliding
With nearly 100 years of flying history, the Torrey Pines Gliderport, 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, is the most historic aviation site in North America and Southern California’s premiere location for paragliding, hang gliding and sailplanes. The Gliderport provides flight lessons, tandem flights and more. Bring a lunch and watch all the action from the Gliderport or nearby clifftop. A free, fun family trip. For information visit www.flytorrey.com.