Original Gillis Beach

The Gillis Volleyball Tournament was started in 1971 by Steve and Dave Cressman at Gillis Beach, in Playa del Rey, California. That first year, 17 teams participated, playing on one court. At this year’s 40th tournament, there will be 170 teams with over 600 players, playing on 28 courts.

Gillis Beach was named after a one block-long street in Playa del Rey called Gillis Street that ended at the sand. Junior high and high schoolers from Westchester High and St. Bernards High learned what the Southern California beach lifestyle was all about. The beach shoreline community was wiped out though in 1974 by expansion of the LA Airport’s west runway. Although the neighborhood and homes were gone, The Gillis tournament continued there until 1980. It was that year when the city dredged the marina of sand and dumped it on Gillis Beach, destroying the 10 courts that had been built over the previous 10 years. The tournament was then forced to moved to Toes Beach, 1 mile north, for a run of 25 years. In 2005 the county forced another move on The Gillis to the southern-most point of Playa del rey called Dockweiler Beach. The history of Playa del Rey and of Gillis Beach is preserved through the tournament each year as a reunion for those that grew up here. This makes the Gillis a “locals” event like none other.

The many brackets that make up the tournament are designed to place each skill level alongside the same type players. This gets everyone up and playing, instead of sitting and watching.

The costumes and matching trunks, camps and skits that are part of today’s tournament came about over many years of evolution. What started as a contest in 1980 for the best homemade trunks, changed when one team crossed over that line into costumes. Then skits developed around those costumes, then camps to go with those skits. Friday night before the tournament has developed into a building event where teams prepare their camps for the weekend ahead.

Traditions are built over time, and the Gillis has many besides the costumes, etc.:

The Toast began in 1981 when Scott Arbanis and Vytas Karilius wrote a poem and brought a bag of toast, roasting their fellow players in the process of dousing them with bread. Every year since, the previous year’s winners have been given the same opportunity.

The King and Queen were there from the beginning, but crowns were never given out just for beauty’s sake. They were specifically for individuals who brought and gave a big part of themselves to the spirit of the Gillis.

Showtime developed out of a need to consolidate all of the skits that were happening throughout the day, into a performance contest where all players could stop, and appreciate all of the work and preparation some of the teams went through, as well as enjoy the show.

The “Gillis” is a Playa del Rey tradition that has taken on a life of its own through the personalities and efforts of the people who participate. It is an invitational, not open to the public at large, and manages to keep its obscurity by not seeking a larger audience. We hope to pass this tradition on to the next generations of Gillis kids.

It’s never too late to become part of the Gillis tradition. Join us!

- Steve and Dave Cressman

The Trophy

1st Gillis Champ, Ed Spaw

G-Rated Champs

1971 - Ed Spaw & John Harrington
1972 - John Cullen & Steve Cressman
1973 - John Cullen & Dave Cressman
1974 - Bob Bowman & Dave Cressman
1975 - Ted Pfaff & Steve Royea
1976 - Bob Bowman & Dave Cressman
1977 - Kevin Fabian & Greg Machado
1978 - Denny Smith & Mark Prior
1979 - Robert Chavez & Steve Rottman
1980 - Scott Arbanis & Vitas Katilius
1981 - Dana Lund & Dano Wildermuth
1982 - Barry Bickel & Marc Denitz
1983 - Pete Aranchick & Chris Wyatt
1984 - Steve Cressman & Mark Williams
1985 - Dave Cressman & Mark Williams
1986 - Mark Williams & Whitey
1987 - Jim McCloskey & Larry Hall
1988 - Dan Parr & Mark Cosgrove
1989 - Dan Parr & Sean Keefe
1990 - Jim Arico & David Denitz
1991 - Sean Keefe & Sean Icaza
1992 - Robert Chavez & Jeff Conley
1993 - Robert Chavez & Tim Walker

1994 - Robert Chavez & Phil Stuetzel
1995 - Mark Williams & Rocky Cirelli
1996 - Mark Williams & Mike Boehle
1997 - Robert Chavez & Brett Carlson
1998 - Robert Chavez & Jason LeClair
1999 - Roo Williams & Sean Icaza
2000 - Anselmo & Saunders
2001 - Chavez & Kiernan
2002 -Anselmo Brothers
2003 -Mike Boehle- Brent Barry
2004 - Greg Knoll and Brian Lewis
2005 - Robert Chavez & Christian Kiernan
2006 - Chavez & Carlson
2007 - Ed Hughes & Jessie Webster
2008 - Kyle & Jacob Denitz
2009 - Ed Hughes & Jason Olive
2010 - The Wades
2011 - The Waddels
2012 - Jake Trosener & Dave Freitag
2013 - Mallon & Yoeder
2014 - The Waddels
2015 - Jesse Webster & Kevin Norman

Up-to-date G-Ratings:

Chavez - 7
RooJon - 6
Dave Cressman - 4
Brett Carlson - 3
Steve Cressman - 2
Sean Icaza - 2
Dan Parr - 2
Anselmo - 2
Mike Boehle - 2
Eddie Hughes - 2

Hoffy Plus

2009 - Begert & Thille
2010 - Kennedy & Mallon
2011 - Haig & McKeen
2012 - Boullaines
2013 - Tyler Bradford & Russ Hardy
2014 - Albis
2015 - Beau Blacksten & Casy Cochrane

2001 - Bisch & Beranek
2002 - Starr and Utterback
2003 - Ebert & Fuller
2004 - Matt Thobe & Colin Douglas
2005 - Tie, Duggan & Rodriguez & Rooster & Betsy Chavez
2006 - Mark Williams & Dan Cavanaugh
2007 - Dana Lund & Bill Kitto
2008 - Dave Purtel & Taylor

Hoffy

2000 - Tesar & Purtel
2001 - Quiroga & Rodriguez
2002 - Healys
2003 - Kuflak & Dwight Duggan
2004 - Boehle & Boehle
2005 - Joey Lazor & Wes Barker
2006 - Dave & Mary Purtell
2007 - Eric Begert & Chad Thille
2008 - Davis & Mike Boehle
2009 - Blake Leamy- Connor Ash
2010 - Gervais & Scott
2011 - Cole Cressman & Nick Porterfield
2012 - Krauch's
2013 - Cole Cressman & Jake Palmer
2014 - Blacksten & Richmond
2015 - Karers

1983 - Stevenson Bros.
1984 - Stevenson Bros.
1985 - Dan Higuera & Mike Schleuter
1986 - Mike Lawler & Tom Torabi
1987 - Bob Tesar & Scott Klatte
1988 - Kevin O'Leary & Diane Phair
1989 - Dan Boehle & Mike Lennon
1990 - Tom Torabi & Jason Bisch
1991 - Gino Demayo & Bill Green
1992 - Denny Smith & Ed Stevenson
1993 - John Trindl & Bob Hawks
1994 - Paul Winbauer & Brian Eggers
1995 - Rob Duron & Mike Cunningham
1996 - Ed Stevenson & Bob Tesar
1997 - Bob Hawks & Dave Lundin
1998 - Mike Lecours & Cuppedge
1999 - Jeff Forney & Aaron

6-Person

2001 - Serious: SuperSperm 2 | Fun: Goth
2002 - Serious: Captain Morgan's Pirates | Fun: Joe Bowman's Clowns
2003 - Serious: Happy Gilmore | Fun: Joe Bowman's Balloonies
2004 - Serious: Mad Hatters | Fun: B.O.C. Brandon Rivera
2005 - Serious: Sellout | Fun: Schwartzkoffs
2006 - Ninja Turtles
2007 - Ninja Turtles
2008 - MB Surf
2009 - Caleb Brownbaggers
2010 - Viva Los Lennon
2011 - GRC and Ron Ciulei
2012 - GRC
2013 - The Hoff (Tim Hoffy)
2014 - Viva Los Lennons
2015 - Viva Los Lennons

1983 - The Bob Saubans
1984 - Joe Diaz's
1985 - Micky Mouse Club
1986 - Hamm's Beer
1987 - Long Dongs
1988 - Trading Places
1989 - Dainty Half-Dozen
1990 - Dysfunctional Family
1991 - Spank Me
1992 - Toes Tavern
1993 - Homeless
1994 - Refugees
1995 - The Shack
1996 - NissanMarcCarrillo (Denny Smith)
1997 - Rodent Removers
1998 - Pirates of the Gillibeanne (Mike Kerker)
1999 - Super Friends, Jim Kerker
2000 - Serious: SuperSperm | Fun: Polynesians

Kings and Queens

KING

Doug Smith
John Cullen
Tony Lennon
Al Vallarine
Steve Royea
Paul Hoffman
Steve Cressman
Greg Machado
Dave Cressman
Dano Wildermuth
Whitey
Kevin O'Leary
Rick Harkins
John Murphy
Jim Arico & Tabby Gorman
Sean Keefe
Steve Davis
Dana Lund
Denny Smith
John Stafford
Robby Brown
Johnny O'Grady
Mark Harris
Ted Holcomb
Herm Denitz
Spencer Schiffman
Harry Stuetzel
Maurizio
Greg Knoll
Doug Duggan
Bill Kitto
Phil Stutzel
Tim Thompson
The Duron Brothers
Al Wheeler & Eric Shaw
Wayne & Mike Boehle
Ebba
Mike Kantor
Geno Rodrigues
Robby Stutzel
Brian Belding
Ted Wakeman
Danny Boehle
Patrick Brown
Dik Johnson

 

1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

QUEEN

Sue Wolgemuth
Mary Gutweiler
Nancy Gothric
Connie Gehley
Rayanne Berry
Gigi Veshoto
Donna Vossmeyer
Christy Zerboni
Nancy Jackson
Betsey Chavez
Peg Green
Jennifer Wallace-Montana
Michelle "Bomb" Arico
The Chavez Harem
Jill Sanders
Diane Phair
Laura Westermeier
Chrissie Boehle
Veronica Delery-Cressman
Cari Payton
Julie Barnes
Kerry House
Jennifer Theodore
Marla O'Hara
Alysha Wheeler
Kitty Lightning
Fish Tacos
Jamie Bush
Kim Love
The Hooter Girls
Inga
Stutzel Daughters
Chris Kitto
Tiffany Thompson
The Sailors
Anselmo Girls
Courtney Bradford
Debbie Kantor
Carla Brown
Kelly Lazor
Katie Belding
Christy Bradford
Tara Hovland
Tina Boehl
Robin Johnson

 

Teen Kings & Teen Queens

TEEN KING

Kyle Machado
Tyler Bradford
Chris Icaza
Todd Smith
Beau Blacksten
Mike Kantor
Blake Leamy
Shane Machado
Daniel "Sooner" Cressman & Cole Cressman
Parker Blacksten
Cade Cressman
Stephen Chavez
Casey Lund

 

2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

TEEN QUEEN

Casey Cressman
Kelly Curphy
Christy Jackals
Kelsie Cressman
Keely Stevenson
Kelsey Icaza
Rachel Leamy
Ella Boehle
Griffin Lennon
Savannah Cressman
Little Miss Sunshine Team & Kelly Barry
Mia Valenzuela
Gillis Lifeguards

Showtime

1980 - The Cavemen: Thompson & Polaske
1981 - Laurel & Hardy: Turley & Johnson
1982 - The Lone Ranger & Tonto: Turley & Johnson
1983 - Maja Raja's: Turley & Johnson
1994 - Michael Jackson's "Thriller": Wheeler/Bush Clan
1985 - Jailhouse Rock: Turley & Johnson
1986 - Kool Aid Pitchers: Kevin O'Leary and Marie Gingras
1987 - Andre the Dog and Trainer: Sean Keefe & Steve Davis
1988 - AJ'S Rappers: Wheeler/Bush Clan
1989 - Fat Kids & New Kids on the Block: Wheeler/Bush Clan
1990 - Cavalcade of Clowns: Harris & Boris Crew
1991 - Bunny Power: Sean Keefe & Bobby Parr
1992 - Disco Fools: Ron Rubine & Scott Walker
1993 - Gays in the Military: Mike Davin & Cowdry
1994 - Pirates of the Gillibeanne: Boris & Harris Clan
1995 - Michael Jackson's Thriller revisited: Wheeler/Bush Clan
1996 - HeeHaw: Mike Davin and Crew
1997 - My Best Friend's Wedding: Greg Pugsley, MikeDavin, GregKnoll
1998 - Rugrats: Ted Holcomb and crew
1999 - Summer of Salsa: Wheelers
2000 - The Gillis Convention: Wheelers
2001 - The "A" Team: Duron Kids
2002 - Cirque de Gillis: Wheelers
2003 - Gillis, The Musical: Wheelers
2004 - Synchronized Swimmers
2005 - The Daisy Dukes: Wheelers
2006 - So You Think You Can Gillis: Wheelers
2007 - Rythmic Gymnastics: Ted Wakemen Crew
2008 - TIE: Happy New Year & Von Trapps
2009 - TIE: Gillis Astronauts & Brady Bunch
2010 - Wheelers
2011 - Gnomes
2012 - Madagascar: Wheelers
2013 - World Leaders: Wheelers
2014 - Gnomes
2015 - TIE: Gnomes & Wheelers

Gillis Designs