In its 53 years of existence, has the International Surf Festival ever been held in a "state of emergency"? We're not sure, but after a swimmer was attacked by a great white shark on Fourth of July weekend (those sharks have such a Hollywood sense of timing), the city of Manhattan Beach ignited a debate about water safety by declaring such a state, which persists to this day. Ultimately, the idea is to regulate fishing on the pier — the powers-that-be are convinced that the problem is less that Jaws is out there picking off victims and more that, by baiting sharks into the shallow waters, fishermen are endangering swimmers. But no matter what happens at City Hall, we're certain local anglers will be on their best behavior during this highly regarded summer tradition. As part of the weekend festival, hundreds of surfers (and body surfers) will compete Saturday, riding everything from short boards to paddle boards along the picturesque South Bay shores. Watch contestants catch a few waves — or come back Sunday at 7:30 a.m. for a sand castle design contest. Manhattan Beach Pier, 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach; also at Hermosa Beach Pier, Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach; Sat., Aug. 2, 6:45 a.m.; Sun., Aug 3, 7:30 a.m.; free. surffestival.org.