"Hovland's my best friend and he steals my partner," says Obradovich, the tour's designated "personality," who has been known to hail a waitress in the middle of a game and order a tropical drink. "It's cutthroat, but everybody understands it."
What no one can really explain is where additional money is going to come from. Butefish, a tall, lean man who grew up playing beach volleyball in El Porto Beach, near Manhattan Beach, ponders the question as he gazes out toward the Pacific. Behind him on the sand, that weekend's Miss Miller, a portrait of pulchritude in a shocking-pink bikini, cavorts for photographers.
"We've got to persuade the primary sponsors to increase the prize money," he says. "There is no other way."
Fishburn isn't worrying about it. "It's a tremendous sport," he says, "but it has never been realistic for me to think of it as a way to make my full-time living."
Others are worrying about it. "We've got to push for more money," says Obradovich, a former USC football player. "It's the American way, right? Not to sit back and just let things come to you."
He wraps a towel around his shoulders and heads for a dip between games. "I don't know how it will come out," he goes on. "The only certain thing is that we'll all die of skin cancer."