Over 250 of the world’s most renowned beach volleyball players competed in Santa Barbara this weekend as a part of the Association of Volleyball Professionals’ 12-stop tour.
The tournament, which kicked off April 29 and ended May 2, drew a crowd of approximately 75,000 spectators over the course of the weekend. Competitors included 64 men’s and women’s teams and three Olympic gold medalists — UCSB alum Todd Rogers and his partner Phil Dalhausser, in addition to two-time gold medalist Misty May-Treanor.
AVP Commissioner Mike Dodd said he was excited for the opportunity to return the tour to Santa Barbara.
“Santa Barbara is one of the birthplaces of beach volleyball,” Dodd, a former professional volleyball player and Olympic silver medalist said. “There have been so many great players from here. For us to maintain our connection to the past and celebrate the history of the sport is important. It’s great for us to be here.”
Dodd said the event saw an impressive turnout and that the fans were rewarded with an exciting series of matches throughout the tournament.
“The atmosphere is unbelievable,” Dodd said. “Our stadium court is packed, there’s standing room only. There were lots of great upsets during the course of the tournament. Misty May didn’t make it to the finals. I think that’s great for the fans to be able to see new players, something different.”
AVP spokesman Greg Ball said the tour members look forward to the Santa Barbara stop on the schedule.
“It’s definitely a place we want to bring the tournament every year,” Ball said.
According to Ball, the tour is an enjoyable event for both players and Santa Barbara sports fans.
“I think it’s something the fans look forward to year after year,” Ball said. “It’s sort of a summer festival atmosphere, kind of a beach party mixed with top-level beach volleyball competition. The way the athletes entertain our fans is incredible. In essence, it’s an amazing competition combined with a party atmosphere.”