In The Works: Beach Volleyball League

volleyballAfter the AVP volleyball Pro Volleyball tournament hit the sands of Panama City Beach, people all over the beach wanted to show off their volleyball skills in competition. If you are one of those people, now you have a chance. On the week of May 18th, PCB Sand Sports in partnership with Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant & Tiki Bar, will be offering a competitive league for you to get your spike on.

Interest in the sport has always been a local staple on Panama City Beach but, as of late, that interest has become a desire to provide a permanent place to play. PCB Sand Sports, in an attempt to address that desire, plans to create leagues, tournaments and events for the local community as well as for tourists in the area.

Leagues during the week will be available in several categories from fun-loving novice to expert competitor. PCB Sand Sports is part of the AVPNext program which is the membership organization for AVP Pro Volleyball tour. AVPNext is working with Barefoot Wine to offer the winners of the Barefoot Men’s division or Women’s doubles a change to win prize money of $1,000.00 along with a trip for two to San Francisco to take part in the Barefoot Championship Cup held in August.

All leagues are $50.00 per player for registration along with a $10.00 per player membership fee to join the AVPNext program. All leagues will run for about 8 weeks. It should be all sorts of sandy fun.

Tuesday: 4 person co-ed (at least one woman on court)
Wednesday: Barefoot AVPNext Men’s Doubles
Thursday:6 person co-ed “fun” league (at least 2 women on court)
Friday: Barefoot Women’s Doubles

For more information email beachresearch@yahoo.com or contact Roman at 850-769-4802

AVP Pro Volleyball Tourney Results and Pictures

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After only a single day of play, the tournament ended just before sundown with 4 winners between two teams.  Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers took the first title in the AVP Crocs tour in Panama City Beach Sunday.  Heavy winds and rain cancelled play on Saturday and resulted in an abbreviated single-elimination tournament that ended around 7 pm.  The women’s title was won by Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs.

It was a battle of Beijing Olympians in the men’s final, with gold medalists Dalhausser and Rogers facing off against fellow Team USA members and No. 2 seeds Jake Gibb (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Sean Rosenthal (Corona Del Mar, Calif.). The gold medalists bested the fifth-place finishers 19-21, 21-18, 15-9.

“Jake and Sean played really well the first set and halfway through the second,” said Dalhausser. “Coming back was such a mental boost. We rarely play this many matches in a day, but we’re in pretty good shape as a team.”

Dalhausser and Rogers advanced to Sunday’s final after defeating No. 4 seeds Brad Keenan (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Florida State graduate Nick Lucena (Santa Barbara, Calif.) 21-12, 21-10. Gibb and Rosenthal reached the final by eliminating No. 6 seeds Matt Olson (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Kevin Wong (Honolulu) to the tune of 21-15, 21-10.

On the women’s side, the top seeds also bested the second-seeds, with Branagh and Youngs toppling Jen Kessy (San Clemente, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) in three games:16-21, 21-18, 15-9.

“Jen and April came out on fire serving,” said Youngs. “But we put the pressure on them with our serving and Nicole played incredible defense. When you play single elimination, you go point by point, balls to the wall, play smart, play aggressive.”

Youngs claimed her 43rd career title, solidifying her spot in the Top 10 career wins on the women’s side. 2008 AVP Crocs Tour Most Improved Player Branagh claimed her 8th.

Branagh and Youngs advanced to the final by defeating No. 4 seeds Angie Akers (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) 30-28, 21-13. Kessy and Boss took out No, 3 seeds Annett Davis (Valencia, Calif.) and Jenny Johnson Jordan (Wexford, Pa.), 21-19, 19-21, 21-19.  Source: avp.com

The weather yesterday was perfect, the crowds mild and the action intense.  Being Sunday, I was only there for a bit, but managed to get some great pictures and video (which will be posted later this week).

Check out the pictures uploaded to our Flickr gallery below, and don’t forget to check our Facebook Fan Page for exclusive pictures and video.

Despite Nasty Weather, AVP Show Must Go On

With wind gusts of up to 30 mph and heavy downpoor expected all day, the volleyball pros still plan to play, even though there won’t be many there to watch.  I was told by someone that the last event they had attended 18 out of the 25 games they watched were in bad weather.

They play, rain or shine.  I was told the qualifiers went well yesterday; the players got wet, and had to fight the wind, but they played.  Coming from one direction, the players barely had to tap the ball to serve it over the net, but from the other way, hitting it as hard as they could, the ball sometimes wouldn’t even make it.  I guess the advantage of wearing bikinis and boardshorts while you play your pro sport is that getting wet just doesn’t matter.

I was up on the roof of Seahaven, Origin, and felt like my Blackberry was going to be blown out of my hand; my jeans were flapping in the wind, and I don’t wear baggy jeans.  My hair was even blowing, and I keep it too short for it to move.

On the ground, flags were flapping in the wind, near the brink of ripping.  I overheard one worker screaming “that’s all you got!”, then it started raining – hard.  Luckily I was under the covered area of Sharkys.  Cameras and rain don’t mix.

Play was postponed until 10 am when I was there.  Not sure if they are playing right now (its 1020).  It isn’t raining right now, but it is very windy still.  Tomorrow, however, is supposed to be nice.  We’ll see.

AVP is getting Geared up behind Sharkys

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Amid cloudy weather and red-flag seas, the yellow AVP tents tower above the sand.  For the first time ever a professional volleyball tournament will be hosted by AVP in Panama City Beach.

Today’s schedule is to include a collegiate tournament, however with wind kicking at up to 15 knots some of the onsite players are skeptical whether it will happen.  The professionals are out practicing right now.

On Friday, there will be a series of games where locals and other aspiring pro-volleyball players can enter the qualifier tournament to compete with the pros on Saturday and Sunday.  When talking to Nick Lucena at the recent press conference, he was telling me that some players can play up to 8 games in one day, depending on their win-to-lose ratio.  He was telling me that the pros usually train for up to four hours each day to prepare for such grueling endurance playing.

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Here is the schedule:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Qualifier Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 6:30 PM.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 6:30 PM.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 5:30 PM.

AVP this week – Pro Volleyball on the Beach

This is just a reminder – don’t forget the Crocs Tour this weekend and all the pro volleyball activities behind Sharky’s this week.

To start it all off AVP will launch the first ever Collegiate Beach Challenge tomorrow where college students from across the country will have the chance to participate in a two-day four-on-four beach volleyball tournament.  There will be men’s, women’s and coed divisions competing for cash prizes.

The finale of the AVP’s Spring Break in Panama City Beach will come at the end of week three, with the AVP Crocs Tour Panama City Beach Open.  In what will serve as the 2009 season-opening event, the AVP Crocs Tour will showcase some of the best beach volleyball players in the world, including 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers.  A one-day qualifier will begin on Friday morning followed by a live band in the evening.  Men’s and women’s main draw action will start on Saturday morning with the finals scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

The AVP Crocs Tour event will take place directly behind Sharky’s Beach Front Restaurant & Tiki Bar, located in the heart of Panama City Beach at The Towne of Seahaven. In an attempt to revert back to the sport’s beginnings, six of the courts will be set up in “old school” style. This set-up will include minimal bleacher seating, allowing plenty of room for beachgoers to throw down their towels and fully enjoy the beach party atmosphere of Spring Break.

AVP Press Conference – 2009 AVP Crocs Pro Beach Volleyball Touney

Tuesday March 10th, AVP (stands for Association of Volleyball Players for you cheeky ones) will be holding a press conference announcing its first-ever Spring Break event, the 2009 AVP Crocs Tour Panama City Open, as well as its exciting new partnership with Seahaven and Sharky’s Beachfront Resturant.  A light lunch will be provided.

Attending will be top VP athlete Nick Lucena. In 2008, Lucena and partner Sean Scott finished the season as one of the Tour’s highest-ranked teams. He is a Florida native and played volleyball collegiately at Florida State University. He will be competing in the 2009 Panama City Beach Open.

“We are excited to bring the AVP to Spring Break for the very first time,” said Leonard Armato, CEO and Commissioner of AVP Pro Beach Volleyball. “The biggest beach party in the country is the perfect atmosphere in which to kick off our 2009 season.” – A recent press release.

The press conference will be held at Origin in The Towne of Seahaven at 12 noon on the Observation Deck.  I’m not sure if they mean the 15th floor observation deck, and if so, which side, but I would assume the “public” side.  Either way, however, I’m sure the person at the front desk will know where to direct you.

I should be there.

PCB Sand Sports Teams up with AVP for Beach Volleyball

021909_avp_logoPCB Sand Sports in partnership with AVPNext, the grassroots program of the Association of Volleyball Professionals will be developing a Beach Volleyball league and series sponsored by Barefoot Wine to launch at Sharkys the week of May 11th, 2009. The leagues will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday nights for men’s doubles and Friday evening for women’s doubles.

The leagues will run for 8 weeks and offer both the men and women’s winners a prize of $1000 in cash along with airfare and entry into competition for the “first ever” Barefoot Cup Championship in Hermosa Beach, CA. The top 16 teams from across the U.S. will compete in Hermosa Beach to represent their area.

Sharkys and Seahaven are partners with PCB Sand Sports to bring the “fun” of beach sports directly to Panama City Beach with programs, events and activities to showcase the white sand and ambience of the area. Roman Reese founder of PCB Sand Sports and Director of Nashville Beach Volleyball has been involved in volleyball for more than 20 years.

He has been a major influencer to develop the long standing Fud’s 4-Person Tournament that is located in the Destin, Ft. Walton area that has grown from 17 teams to more than 250 teams with a waiting list to play. This tournament is now a “regular” vacation for the players who began to come in the beginning and developed the event into a “memorable” tournament to meet friends and reconnect with players across the country.

The AVP Pro Tour will be hosting their first Tour Stop in Panama City Beach in front of Sharkys the weekend of March 28th-29th and will showcase some of the top players in both men and women’s categories to kick off the focus Panama City Beach has to bring FUN beach sports to the area. We hope to see the local community come out to meet the Pros.

PCB Sand Sports and Seahaven will be working closely with Bay Area Sports Association a non-profit focused to support sports programs for the local kids to set up visits with the Pros to promote beach volleyball.

PCB Sand Sports is also coordinating additional leagues for Sharkys to provide Co-Ed 4’s on Tuesday nights and Co-Ed 6’s on Thursdays. For more information on the leagues and beach volleyball events and activities contact Roman Reese @ beachresearch@yahoo.com