Finally, spring has arrived again and we can start planning our summer tournament schedule. Here you’ll find our top picks from around the country (and even a few across the border in Mexico).
If you happen to have the summer free from obligations and some significant change burning a hole in your pocket, none of these dates overlap, so you could play them all, The Big Year style!
Rocky Point, Mexico
Shawn McConnell, owner of Phoenix-based Funkalicious Beach Ball, describes his organization’s biannual Rocky Point, Mexico, tournaments as “volleyball Christmas.” This year, the spring event kicks off on Friday, April 11, with open play on the beach, only a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Phoenix. Then there’s happy hour 2-for-1 drinks seaside before the first player party commences. Saturday, tournament play begins, and as participants get eliminated, they are consoled with a “bye-bye beverage” and become spectators until the second player party wraps up the weekend.
Emerald Coast Volleyball Week (aka Fuds)
Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
An East Coast favorite, Fuds offers a plethora of formats from the classic Fudpucker 4 Player to Bring Your Own Partner doubles and Doubles Draw with levels from Open to B and age divisions from kids to seniors. The fours tourney (with old-school rules and big courts) commences on the weekend for maximum involvement, but make it your spring break and come early so you can play in every event starting Wednesday and take full advantage of the parties kicking off every night.
Rumble participants journey to the mountains outside of Philadelphia and sign up to play their matches on grass, inside a big court with old-school rules. Competition gets brutal and matches play well into the evening – the super-ambitious even sign up to play men’s or women’s doubles Saturday and then coed doubles or quads Sunday. VBLNation.com calls the tournament “a four-day volleyball event, vacation, and party.”
Mexico International Volleyball Tournament
Since 1974, volleyball players have journeyed down from San Diego and other Southern California communities to Baja, Mexico, to put their names in the hat for the weighted blind draw Mexico International Volleyball Tournament. Quiksilver sponsors the prizes, but winners also enjoy free lodging the following year.
Sand, grass, coed, women’s, men’s, doubles, triples, quads. The biggest outdoor volleyball tournament in the Midwest (and, according to the website, the world) boasts over 900 teams and more than $40,000 in prizes. Participants have the option to camp out for only $50 for the weekend or stay close by in one of the local hotels.
ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball (WSOBV)
Long Beach, Calif.
Last year, Leonard Armato took advantage of the FIVB’s first stop in the United States in 10 years and made it a week-long volleyball event for players, fans, and sponsors alike. As of now, both the FIVB and Armato’s team have declared themselves onboard for 2014, so start forming your fours or six-man squad and get practicing so you can battle in the top division with the pros. And don’t forget you’ll have the added bonus of watching the best in the world compete in between your matches.
Charlie Saikley 6-Man
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Anti-alcohol policies and a schedule change enacted by the city of Manhattan Beach have toned down this iconic tournament a bit over the past couple years, but even in its midweek format, 6-Man still manages to lure out pros and amateurs alike for two days of outrageous costumes and top volleyball competition.
Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament
Expect to play alongside over 1,000 teams if you decide to make the trek out to the Northwest Coast for the Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament. With participants from 14 and under to seniors, the level of competition varies widely, and you’ll likely see quite a few professionals out there fighting for the top prize (Jeremy Casebeer and Andy McGuire took first in the men’s division last year, with Kim DiCello and Sarah Day winning the women’s). Doubles play Friday and Saturday, with fours and sixes closing out the weekend on Sunday.
MotherLode Volleyball Classic
Although the general public knows Aspen as a skiing destination, members of the beach volleyball community have long recognized it as a mecca for the sport, especially over Labor Day weekend for the annual MotherLode Volleyball Classic. Top AVP competitors Casey Patterson and Sean Rosenthal won it all in 2011, and each year pros of a similar caliber make appearances. Don’t miss your opportunity to challenge their dominance, and, of course, enjoy the players’ parties and fantastic scenery along the way.
OMBAC “Spirit of the Beach” Tournament
San Diego, Calif.
The only tournament in Southern California where participants can drink legally on the beach, Spirit of the Beach brings the players’ party onto the courts. Participants even receive food and drink vouchers with their registration fee. Gather three friends to complete your squad and expect to wear a costume. Divisions range from “Just for Fun” to “For All the Marbles,” but 21 and up only, please.
Dink and Drive
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Dink and Drive equals golf, volleyball, and partying rolled into one jam-packed weekend in Santa Cruz. Friday night, participants gather at Café El Palomar where teams are drawn according to golf and volleyball skills. Golf competition dominates the schedule Saturday, but the party picks up again that night at the Crow’s Nest. Put your drinking hat on, every team member who fails to participate in the group shot at midnight loses points for their squad. Sunday you finally get to play some ball in the double-elimination quads tournament, and total accumulated points determine the winning team at the end of the day.
Originally published in April 2014