On February 28, Mark Burik posted a series of pictures on Instagram informing the beach volleyball community that “the city of Hermosa Beach has decided to shut down VolleyCamp Hermosa.”
Following that initial picture were another eight, detailing why the city was putting a halt on his business, VolleyCamp Hermosa. Burik founded his business five years ago and it has since become one of the more popular destinations for beach volleyball players around the world to receive instruction.
The beach volleyball community responded.
On Monday night, more than 50 players, business owners, and campers showed up to a city council meeting, voicing their support not only for VolleyCamp Hermosa and Burik, but for beach volleyball coaches attempting to make a living on Hermosa Beach. While the issue has not been resolved, and likely will not for some time, the point was taken by the city.
“It did get them to pay attention to the way beach volleyball is going in Hermosa,” Burik said. “We’re running into certain things that we need to figure out quick.”
At the heart of the issue is the fact that Hermosa Beach requires permits to coach, which can only be done on commercial property. That zone resides between streets 10 and 15. Burik has long been running VolleyCamp Hermosa at two courts on Second Street, which is residential.
Three years ago, “somebody complained that we had classes going on,” Burik said. “So we paid the permit, moved down to the pier for that month, and we were like ‘Man, nobody else is paying permits, and they’re not checking on anything.’ So we did some of our classes at the pier and some on Second Street. We had friends who let us keep our stuff at Second Street so we moved back down.”
That resolved the issue for three years, until, recently, another complaint surfaced.
“So they came and they gave us a warning and we paid the permit and thought it would be like last time: Pay for your permits and we won’t bug you anymore,” Burik said. “So we did that and stayed at Second Street. Then they came back and they cited us. We were like ‘Whoa, OK, you guys are serious. Fine.’”
After being cited, Burik informed Hermosa Beach that VolleyCamp Hermosa would move to the pier, but he had a few questions about insurance, permits for additional coaches, and how to operate in a commercial zone on weekends, where courts are reserved for local players. More questions followed, and in the time between the citation — which Burik didn’t pay, waiting instead for answers first — and those questions being answered, the city cited him again.
“We said ‘Hey, why are you doing this to us? We’re asking you these questions, and you need to answer these questions so we can do this the right way,’ ” Burik said. “They said due to your unpaid citations, your ability to obtain permits in March is completely revoked.”
The limits on the commercial permits are, if your standard is to make a living as a beach volleyball or fitness instructor, “unreasonable,” Burik said. The permits allow just four hours of coaching per week, with a maximum of 10 players. It was designed with the intent of keeping big companies from buying every hour of court availability, but what it has done is force club coaches — who have well more than 10 players — instructors, and private coaches to regularly bend or break the laws to make it work.
“If the speed limit is 65, they know everyone is going 80,” Burik said. “They gotta knock off the people going 90, 95.”
For now, Burik and VolleyCamp are temporarily knocked off. He has had productive meetings with the city, and while things are moving forward, there are still questions with no foreseeable answers.
What will the city do on weekends in the summer, when big events — concerts, tournaments, shows — use almost all, if not all, commercial beach property? How can a coach make a living without having much of the summer to coach?
But there is now a dialogue, whereas before, there was little to none.
“We’re working with the city,” Burik said. “We needed to make it loud. Without a bunch of support, they would have kept brushing me off: Nothing needs to change, nothing needs to change, nothing needs to change. And for most people, nothing needs to change. But there are a lot of coaches who want to make a living.
“We love the city. We absolutely love Hermosa and we’re working with them.”
Two USA teams qualify in Guam — On Wednesday evening in the United States — Thursday morning in Guam — two American teams made it through the FIVB Guam one-star qualifier. Floridians and recent SANDCAST guests Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn beat fellow Americans Annika Rowland and Teegan Van Gunst, 26-24, 21-16. A 21-14, 21-10 victory over Sweden followed, making it the second consecutive main draw for Hildreth and Schermerhorn.
Also qualifying were high school standouts Delaynie Maple and Megan Kraft, who beat Guam 21-1, 21-0 before knocking out another American duo in Melissa Fuchs Powell and Heather Friesen, 21-16, 21-10.
Callahan, Jones partner for 2020 — After a tremendous run in the Siem Reap two-star in early February, Traci Callahan and Crissy Jones announced a partnership for the 2020 season. In their first and only tournament together, the two finished fifth and were the only team to take a match off of eventual winners Sara Hughes and Lauren Fendrick.
Callahan played the 2019 season with three different partners, finishing with Carly Wopat for the final four. Jones, after an excellent season with Cal Poly, played with Zana Muno, making a Cinderella run in Hermosa Beach, where they finished third.
Neither Wopat nor Muno have announced a decision regarding partners for 2020.
Kolinske-Larsen get married this weekend — ‘Tis the season for quick engagements, it seems. Kim Hildreth was engaged to Kibbee Jelks shortly after AVP Hawai’i and married this past winter. Delaney Knudsen and I were engaged in November and married in February. And Bill Kolinske, who proposed to Kelley Larsen at AVP Chicago, is getting married this weekend.
With both competing full-time domestically and internationally, Larsen said it made sense to have a quick engagement. She didn’t want to be wedding planning while out of the country. Next Friday, however, both will be headed to Coolangatta, Australia, for a three-star and the first event of both of their seasons. Larsen is in the thick of a tight Olympic race with Emily Stockman. Kolinske is headed to the Outback with Mike Boag and will be in the country quota with David Lee and Reid Priddy, and Chaim Schalk and Chase Budinger.
In case you missed it
- Applications and donations are open for the second annual Eric Zaun Memorial Scholarship.
- Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn don’t see their Florida location as a disadvantage. In fact, they view it as an advantage over their Californian rivals.
- LSU and the East Region made a statement this week in college beach volleyball