Beach notes: AVP partners with Amazon Prime, NVL vacations, Polar Bear tourneys

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The 2018-2020 season will be streamed on Amazon Prime video, including the iconic Manhattan Beach Open/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

The AVP announced Thursday that it is partnering with Amazon Prime video to deliver worldwide live streaming of main-draw matches from each stop through the 2020 season.

Amazon will be the AVP’s exclusive streaming partner for all matches except one of the finals, which NBC will continue to broadcast and stream.

This will allow Amazon Prime members access to on-demand completed matches, including finals, highlights, and additional content. It won’t be available in China.

Prime video will stream both men’s and women’s finals to international viewers, and one final match per event to Prime members in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to team up with Amazon Prime Video on this revolutionary streaming deal -– the first of its kind in our sport’s history,” the AVP’s Donald Sun said in a news release. “As the media landscape continues to expand towards the digital space, the AVP is proud to join forces with Amazon in offering sports fans the opportunity to watch the best in beach volleyball throughout the season.”

“Our goal is to deliver compelling content to Prime members and give them options to watch when, where and how they prefer,” said Jim DeLorenzo, Amazon’s head of sports video. “We are thrilled to partner with the AVP and excited to bring live pro beach volleyball to our customers around the world.”

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The Volleyball Vacations group poses for a group photo/NVL photo

26th NVL Volleyball Vacations:  The NVL had its 26th year of Volleyball Vacations earlier this month at the Club Med resort in Cancun, Mexico. More than 100 volleyball enthusiasts were joined by pros Skylar Delsol, Skyler McCoy, Jennifer Snyder, Mark Keirins and Jayna Duke, among others.

It was held at the Club Med Cancun resort after being moved from Turks and Caicos due to Hurricane Maria.

“I enjoy being able to help grow the sport and build unique experiences for fans from around the world,” NVL CEO Albert Hannemann said. “These vacations are always my favorite weeks of the year and I always look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.”

NVL professional beach player and coach Jennifer Snyder attended her ninth year of Volleyball Vacations.

“The Volleyball Vacations are my favorite week of the year. The locations are great, but what really makes these trips unique are the people that join us,” Snyder said.

“Year after year we have amazing people for their second, third, or even sixth year. We are lucky enough to enjoy all of our newcomers as well with open arms to our wonderful NVL Volleyball Vacations family. There is nothing like it. I’m nine years in and I’m forever grateful for all of the people I meet every year who have become friends. It truly is a vacation you’ll never forget.”

FIVB World Tour Finals back in Hamburg: The event returns to the German city August 14-19, 2018. Hamburg will become the first place to get the event twice.

The purse in 2018 will be $800,000. Last year, Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena and Germans Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst won the respective championships.

Southern Mississippi to add beach in 2019:  The University of Southern Mississippi will add beach volleyball, Southern Miss announced Monday.

“The University of Southern Mississippi is pleased to announce the sponsorship of women’s beach volleyball,” USM AD Jon Gilbert said. “We are excited to offer additional opportunities for student-athletes at the University. Beach volleyball is the fastest growing NCAA sport, and is gaining in its popularity in our region.”

Currently the AVCA lists 75 NCAA varsity beach teams, plus six NAIA beach teams.

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Former AVP pro Ricci Luyties and daughter Lia Luyties reach for the volleyball/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Polar Bear tournaments: One would think that with the arrival of December, beach volleyball activity would have gone into hibernation. Not so on the West Coast, where unseasonably warm Santa Ana winds brought 80-degree temps to Polar Bear tournaments in San Diego and Laguna Beach.

The 31st annual Polar Bear in Mission Beach in San Diego is one of the longest running beach-volleyball draw tournaments in the nation. It has been run continuously rain or shine since 1986.

This year the event had 134 teams total, with men’s, women’s, juniors, father/daughter, father/son, and mother/daughter divisions.

The men’s and women’s divisions are held on a draw format where players draw partners on a weighted basis. Jordan Ramrus and Andrew Richardson bested Brett Kirkconnell and Tony Bolton in the men’s final, while Lacie Drennan and Jamie Juston defeated Kimberly Jaquish and Lauren McCalmont in the women’s final.

Men’s:
1st: Jordan Ramrus/Andrew Richardson
2nd: Brett Kirkconnell/Tony Bolton
3rd: Tom Wright/Eric Macy
3rd: Quinn Myers/Eric Morse

Women’s:
1st: Lacie Drennan/Jamie Juston
2nd: Kimberly Jaquish/Lauren McCalmont
3rd: Kelly McGlothlin/Beth Engman Mercer
3rd: Marya Samuelson/Alexa Marks
Father/Son:
1st: Paul and Josh Harner
2nd: Chris and Evan Gregg
3rd: Phil and Xavier Tan
3rd: Lance and Blake Taschner
Father/Daughter:
1st: Raphael and Sophia Tulino
2nd: Jon and Isabela Edelbrook
3rd: Jonas and Kylie Miller
3rd: Ricci and Lia Luyties
Mother/Daughter:
1st: Kelly and Jenna Drobeck
2nd: Kelli and Casey Terral
3rd: Sheri and Kelly Powers
18U:
1st: Charlie Ekstrom/Tori Ashkinos
2nd: Kylan Loker/Illhia Huddleston
3rd: Haley Gibson/Brooke Gollik
16U:
1st: Megan Kraft/Sydney Rau-Kim
2nd: Colby Bennett/Kelly Belardi
3rd: Alex Young/Mia Gessner
3rd: Sophie Lee/Savanna Shellberg
14U:
1st: Savannah Standage/Simone Gibson
2nd: Piper Sudberry/Kendall Whitmarsh
3rd: Lexi Strickland/Alex McGillivary
3rd: Kenzie Wilson/Amelia Mullen
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Group photo at the 2017 Laguna Beach Polar Beach event 12/9/2017/Kirk Morgan photo

Laguna Beach Polar Bear: Nearly 100 players participated just up the road from San Diego with the entry “fee” of one toy. The event raised five large boxes of toys to be delivered by the Laguna Beach fire department.

The four-man tournament was divided into Open/A divisions and Social divisions, with “Reindeer Antler Hats of Champions” and “Reindeer baseball caps” given as prizes.

Open/A division winners were Milos Rousek, Fred Heim, Jessica McLeish, and Paul Ocker, while Niv Caviar, Mark Loper, Sue Williams and Jillian Wenk won the Social division.

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