The beach version

By Sergio González | 10:15

The king of sports played on the beach may forever be beach volleyball. Exciting to watch and easy to play even if you’re not into sports, just a net, a ball and some friends is everything you need. And swimwear -which is actually the official uniform, despite huge criticism from some players and conservative countries.

The time was the 20’s and the place California. The Great War -named World War I after the second took place- was over and the mood was ready to live to its fullest. Like with many other discoveries, coincidence and chance gave birth to beach volleyball.

The improvements of Santa Monica port created new sandy beaches that soon were seized by sports people to enjoy their passion under the sun. Paul Johnson was meeting his friends to have a volley match, but not all of them showed up -two teams of six players are needed for indoor volleyball and for beach volley at that time.

Unwilling to lose his leisure time, he decided to go ahead with the mates he could count on and so two-man beach volleyball was born, spreading over the decades and becoming Olympic in 1996 in Atlanta.

Serving, attacking and blocking are the same in both versions but sand volleyball is a shorter match -we don’t want players to get a sun-stroke- and physically more demanding due to the extra effort needed to run over the sand and the high temperature.

Moving sports into the beach is a way of living, relaxed and sun-centered. Beach soccer followed the footsteps of volleyball and the first matches began to be played in Los Angeles in 1992 under offical rules –although futebol de praia was created in Brazil.

Many soccer figures move to the beach version after they retire –such as Eric Cantona or Romario– giving credit and awareness to the game. Due to its huge growth -its even played inland on artificial grounds- FIFA took control of international tournaments and in 2005 it became a World Cup with more and more nations joining at the biennial competition.

If official sports are too much for you, maybe just rolling a ball, throwing a frisbee or flying a kite are your stuff. Just after finishing this post, I’m renting a bike with some mates to go riding around the beach. Anything to get fit and avoid getting lazy in the sand!

Photo Credit: VSpress

Photo Credit: Viditu

 

 

 

 

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