ON THE BEACH / MIKE REILLEY : Learning You Can't Live on Waves Alone

Shaking sand out of my shorts and emptying a notebook full of ballistic quips as we finish another summer blistering in the sun:

Bachelor life can be brutal, and it has been eating away at pro surfer Pat O'Connell of Laguna Niguel all summer.

O'Connell, who surprised everyone by reaching the quarterfinals of the Op Pro in July, moved into a condo in Laguna Niguel this summer with fellow surfer Vinnie De La Pena and two other friends.

So far, it has been an adventure for O'Connell, an outspoken, amiable 19-year-old.

"When I was living at home, my mom bought Oreos and Cheerios--all kinds of killer food--for me," O'Connell said. "I never had to go to the store.

"But now that I'm on my own, I have to buy my own soaps and own washclothes. That ticks me off. There's no Cheer in the house or cookies or anything. I have to go to the store all the time."

O'Connell can buy a lot of "killer" groceries for $2,250--his prize money for a fifth-place finish in the Op.

Just four fun? The Women's Professional Volleyball Assn. will add four-player beach tournaments to several of its 20 two-player tournaments next year.

The women's tour hopes to bank on the success of the newly formed men's four-player tour that features former Olympians Craig Buck and Bob Ctvrtlik. The men's four-player tour competes separately from the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour.

The women's four-player tournaments will be held on Fridays, with the two-player tournaments on Saturdays and Sundays. WPVA players are allowed to compete in both formats.

The WPVA is developing package to televise the finals of the four-player tournaments, in addition to the two-player tournaments currently shown on ESPN.

"We want to offer our members an expanded format to show their abilities and to give them additional financial opportunities," said Roxana Vargas, the tour's executive director.

Jon Stevenson, president of the AVP, said the men's tour isn't planning to add the four-player league to its two-player schedule.

"I think the women saw that the (men's) four-man tour was doing well and wanted to give it a try," he said. "I think they were trying to beat someone to the punch with the new format."

Add four-player: Huntington Beach High boys' volleyball Coach Rocky Ciarelli, who played on Ctvrtlik's team in the men's four-player league, said he prefers it to the two-player game.

"I think it could be the game of the future," said Ciarelli, who gave up his summer job as an AVP line judge to play on the four-player tour. "Sinjin (Smith) and Randy (Stoklos) are still the big names, so doubles is the game right now. But once they retire, Kent Steffes is the only young star coming up, and I think the four-player game will take off.

"The four-player game is a much more exciting game to watch. There's more strategy and it gives the setter more of a chance."

Double trouble: Ciarelli's wife, Cammy, plays on the women's tour with Diane Pestolesi, wife of Estancia volleyball Coach Tom Pestolesi. With a break in the women's tour and the men's tour over, the Ciarellis pooled their talents and finished third at a 44-team mixed-doubles tournament in Manhattan Beach last weekend.

Smith and Stoklos have continued their not-so-friendly rivalry with Karch Kiraly of San Clemente throughout the AVP season. At a tournament in Grand Haven, Mich., Smith and Stoklos refused to take the court for their final against Kiraly and Kent Steffes in protest of the tournament's time-clock format.

Smith and Stoklos eventually showed up and lost to Steffes and Kiraly.

Kiraly and Steffes have called Smith and Stoklos "whiners" and "crybabies" during recent interviews.

In a recent USA Today article on Smith, Kiraly is quoted as saying: "Sinjin's conduct has certainly been unbecoming for a champion. Most of the players would love to see anybody but Sinjin and Randy win the tournaments."

Said Smith: "It would be very easy for me to say that Karch's comments are based on jealousy. How would that make him look? Maybe he just wants to be No. 1 and doesn't think he is."

Back on top: Many people were wondering what was wrong with Smith and Stoklos, who went six weeks without a tournament victory after winning 10 of the first 14.

They gave their answer after winning the $100,000 Seal Beach Open last weekend: Absolutely nothing.

"It's a big deal that we won so many tournaments early, not that we haven't won one lately," Smith said. "There are a lot of good players on this tour, and it's becoming more and more difficult to win it."

Said Stoklos: "The truth is, all the pressure is on us, not only from the media, but from the players and the AVP. But we stepped up to the plate today and hit a grand slam."

Add Smith: Wedding bells are ringing for the 34-year-old bachelor, who recently announced his engagement to Patricia Loreen Robinson. Smith and Robinson are graduates of UCLA. The couple is planning a Nov. 22 wedding in Santa Monica.

School's out: Kiraly, who trains with Adam Johnson at Capistrano Beach, often ribs Johnson about his recent success on the AVP tour.

Johnson, in his second full season on the beach, has won two tournaments with partner Ricci Luyties, including a victory over Kiraly and Steffes in the finals of the Cleveland Open two weeks ago.

"I always give him a hard time," said Kiraly, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. "Maybe I've been training him too well."

Surfing tour update: After losing in the quarterfinals at the Op Pro, defending world champion Tom Curren of Santa Barbara returned to his winning ways last weekend at the Alder Surf Pro at Newquay, England.

Curren edged Tom Carroll of Newport Beach, Australia, 87.3 to 86, in the finals.

In the third round, Carroll had eliminated Kelly Slater, a Cocoa Beach, Fla., native and part-time Huntington Beach resident.

Add Alder Pro: Newport Beach's Richie Collins, a finalist at the Op, and Encinitas' Brad Gerlach, a Huntington Beach High graduate, lost in the quarterfinals. Collins lost to Derek Ho of Sunset Beach, Hawaii, and Gerlach was defeated by Rob Bain of Manly, Australia.

Op winner Barton Lynch of Manly, Australia, lost to former world champion Martin Potter of Sydney, Australia, 69.5 to 68, in the third round.

San Clemente's Dino Andino, Laguna Beach's Jeff Booth and Seal Beach native Marty Thomas lost in the second round.

Gerlach continues to lead the tour point standings with 6,796, followed by Lynch with 6,320. Collins is fourth with 5,686, and Booth is sixth with 5,078.

Add Collins: The 23-year-old surfer has created a stir over his comments that women shouldn't surf and that Apartheid "isn't my problem." While many fans applauded his high-risk moves, he is often booed at contests.

So what did Richie think of the fans?

"Some people probably hate me," he said. "They're saying, "Lose, lose, fall, fall. But some are saying, 'Come on come on.' What's the majority? I don't know.

"If they're for me, great. I'm stoked for their backing. It puts this 'amp' in you. You start amping out and you go, 'Yes, no way I can fall now.' It's like you have Super Glue on your feet and everything.

"I'll do a floater (maneuver) and I start flying out and they (crowd) are going, 'Do more, do more, do more.' So you go and do more."

Rocket scientist: During interviews at the Miss Op sports model contest, one of the contestants was asked what type of man she prefers.

Her answer: "I like blue-haired, blonde-eyed surfers."

Hmmmmm .


San Clemente's Shane Beschen and Matt Archbold, ranked first and second, respectively, on the Professional Surfing Assn. of America tour, will be among those competing at the tour's stop Aug. 21-25 in Malibu. . . . The PSAA's stop at Lower Trestles is scheduled for Sept. 3-8. Kelly Slater, last year's winner, said he's unsure if he will compete because of possible schedule conflicts with the world tour.

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