After spending nearly all my free time over the past four years at the beach and in the sun, I’ve partaken in pretty much every sand sport there is around. I’ve even found a way to injure myself in most of them, so I know the ropes. Sure, Frisbee is awesome and I would toss one around for five hours a day if I could, but I like sports that are a little more involved and where you can get the juices flowing. I want a winner and a loser. Thankfully, my entourage and I discovered the beach sport that tops them all: soccer tennis.
All you have to do is draw a tennis court-sized rectangle in the sand, with a line dividing it in half. The court can be as big or small as needed, depending on how many are playing. I know there are a bunch of tools out there who will go set up their court right in front of the hottest girls, even though they’ve probably never touched a soccer ball in their life, but you have to make sure that you have enough space. Sometimes the ball will go more than 20 feet outside the court but still be in play, so make sure you’re not cramped.
As for the ball, anything will work. I prefer a real soccer ball, but I wouldn’t bring an expensive one because it will be covered in tar within seconds. Dodge balls work well, but I would stay away from the beach balls because of the freaking wind. The biggest key is staying alert because there is always a risk of the game ending abruptly, deflating your day. Isla Vista’s dog owners have a tendency to let their dogs run free on the beach. That’s cool when you’re laying on the sand and you can hang out with the dog for a bit, but not when it takes off down the beach with your soccer tennis treasure and you find it at Campus Point, wounded and airless.
As for the rules, just make them up. The most obvious route is to emulate the rules that real tennis uses. If you don’t know them, well, Wikipedia is awesome. Playing with a beer in your hand is highly recommended, but only if you instill a penalty for spilling beer during the game. God save the beer! Nearly everyone sucks the first time, too. I’m with Allen Iverson when it comes to practice, but after two or three tries even the most lead-footed players will get the hang.
Put down the football, bocce ball and horseshoes and use your feet instead. You’ll look way cooler and might even work off that 12-pack you drank last night.