SPECIAL EVENTS : Pro Beach Volleyball Tour Is Coming to Seal Beach

Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition.

Professional beach volleyball?

Yes, there is such a thing, and the very best players in the business will be in Seal Beach this weekend for one of the final stops on the Assn. Volleyball Professionals 1991 tour.

The duo of Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos, tour leaders with 10 wins in 21 stops so far, is the top team among 36 scheduled to compete for $100,000 in prize money Saturday and Sunday. Laguna Beach native Adam Johnson, teamed with Olympic gold medalist Ricci Luyties, is among the top challengers.

Other players expected to compete are two-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly, Kent Steffes, Tim Hovland, Brent Frohoff, Pat Powers and Mike Dodd. Four local teams qualified for the event in a tournament Aug. 3 in Hermosa Beach. The Seal Beach event follows a double-elimination format; the 15-point games must be won by two points. The winning team takes $20,000 in prize money.

The eight-month AVP tour draws some big crowds as it winds its way through 24 cities in 13 states. After Seal Beach (the only Orange County stop), the tour travels to Santa Cruz Aug. 16 and 17 and then to the $750,000 final stop in Hermosa Beach, Aug. 23 and 24.

The championship match of the Seal Beach tournament will be broadcast on the Prime Ticket cable channel at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, and Aug. 16.

What: $100,000 Miller Lite Open beach volleyball tournament.

When: Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 11, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Championship match Sunday at 3 p.m.

Where: North of the Seal Beach Pier.

Whereabouts: From the San Diego (405) Freeway, take Seal Beach Boulevard south; follow it as it curves right and turns into Ocean Avenue. The pier is at Main Street.

Wherewithal: Admission is free.

Where to Call: (213) 337-4842.

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