Story by GARY HENLEY • Photos by ALEX PAJUNAS
It’s already referred to as the “World’s Largest Amateur Beach Volleyball Tournament.” And every year, tournament organizers and the city of Seaside manage to make it a little bigger.
It’s the annual Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament, which will celebrate its 34th year in 2015.
Every year the second weekend of August, about a half-mile of Oregon’s 363-mile coastline is reserved for the annual tournament, which brings in beach volleyball players and fans from around the state, up and down the West Coast, Canada and across the U.S.
And it’s amazing how many players, spectators and courts you can pack into a half-mile of beach.
Tournament directors say the growth of the Seaside tournament will continue, as long as there’s players to play and no shortage of volleyball nets.
“It’s been a great partnership, working with the Seaside Chamber of Commerce,” said Brian Chapman, tournament co-director along with brother Tom Chapman, of the North Pacific Beach Volleyball Association. “(The Seaside Chamber) has been a huge part of the growth, and we’re excited to continue to build this tournament.”
The 2014 tournament featured 143 courts and just over 1,400 teams (both new records) competing in 51 different divisions, for three days of volleyball.
Divisions range from parent and child to Masters 55+, along with Men, Women and Co-ed Open Divisions that feature current and retired Association of Volleyball Professionals-ranked players.
Tournament organizers — one way or another — always find space for the numbers of players, teams, fans and courts to keep it that way.
“We’re looking for a nice, controlled 5- to 10-percent growth every year, so it can stay manageable,” Chapman said.
The Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament prides itself on the natural settings for both playing and watching volleyball. As the tournament’s website boasts, “Seaside Beach Volleyball is as organic as it comes … no bleachers, no required team shirts, no plastic clapping devices and no entry fee for spectators! Best of all, when the tournament is over, there is no trace of it left on the clean white sands.”
With an approximate 3,000 players and 10,000 spectators every year, “our tournament is known throughout the beach volleyball world,” and is mentioned by many AVP players as “the one to go to.”
(Click on the photo gallery below for a close-up view of the tournament action.)
Check it out yourself!
Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Aug. 7, 8 & 9, 2015