Since beach volleyball’s emergence as an NCAA sport 2015, it has become one of the fastest growing sports nationwide. The AVCA claims that beach volleyball, formally known as sand volleyball, “made the quickest transition from an emerging sport to a championship sport in NCAA history. It’s also the fastest growing NCAA sport over the last five years in Division I.” You no longer need to live on or near the beach in a mild climate to play year round beach volleyball. Colleges across the country are building sand courts on campus, adding beach programs and hosting summer camps.
However the growth in the sport of beach volleyball isn’t limited to only the United States. We’re finding the sport’s increased popularity echoed across continents. Countries such as Slovenia, Croatia and Italy have indoor and outdoor beach volleyball training facilities to offer year-round competition. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico also enjoy active year-round youth development programs and beach tournaments. In 2016, Costa Rica sent their first ever beach volleyball team to the Olympics with the qualification of Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
At BIP, we’ve loved being a part of the beach volleyball action happening around the globe. In May of 2015, directly after the USC women’s team won the inaugural NCAA sand volleyball national championships, we hosted them on a competitive beach volleyball tour throughout Austria, Croatia and Italy. You can read the USC’s European travel blog here as they recap travel highlights and tournament play in the Mizuno Beach Volley Marathon® in Bibione. The USC women’s beach volleyball team is returning to Europe in May, 2019.
The College of Charleston’s Beach Volleyball team toured Nicaragua in March of 2015 and Puerto Rico in March of 2019. Jason Kepner, the College of Charleston Head Women’s volleyball Coach, reflects upon his team’s experience here, “This is our second trip with BIP and I couldn’t have been happier with our experience. Brooke is outstanding with planning and organizing a great experience for our team. She was awesome at meeting all our needs and providing an opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico that our girls will never forget. “
In 2019, UCLA beach volleyball will head to Europe for international competition this summer and West Valley College take a Costa Rica volleyball tour to compete in a beach tournament at the national team training center in San Jose. We looking forward to expanding the opportunities for beach volleyball tournaments and tours available to high school, club and college beach volleyball players. Contact us if you’re interested in taking your beach volleyball team overseas for a camp, tournament and tour.