The only thing dampening the enthusiasm at one of the California Beach Volleyball Association’s biggest tournaments of the season in Hermosa Beach on Saturday and Sunday was a windstorm that wreaked havoc on the playing conditions.
But the fierce competition on the sand continued.
Manhattan Beach locals and former AVP professionals Billy Strickland and Jon Mesko defeated Hermosa Beach native Joey Dykstra and Manhattan Beach native Andy Mcguire with a two-game sweep in the weather-plagued championship match.
Matt Prosser and John Mayer, who finished runners-up in the AVP’s Hermosa Beach Open in July, grinded their way to a third-place finish Sunday.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Champion Casey Jennings played his way to a third-place finish with partner and former AVP stalwart Avery Drost.
On the women’s side, Hermosa Beach resident Tarin Keith teamed with European Catherine Winters to claim the championship. Keith and Winters took down Kelly Schumacher and San Diego local Angela Bryan in two straight games en route to their first-place finish.
Greek National Team members Christina Hinds and Joanna Papageorgiou were two big names in the tournament and finished in fourth.
Whipping winds made play incredibly difficult for the Sunday final matches. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for Sunday due to 20 to 30 mph winds, and gusts of up to 45 mph were recorded.
“Not too many people would continue to play in these kind of conditions, but we’ve made it this far,” said California Beach Volleyball Association tournament director Chris Brown in reference to the myriad of matches played over the weekend.
“The show must go on,” he chuckled as he shielded his face from the whipping sand Sunday.
Men’s champion Strickland said that in those conditions, the strategy is to make fewer mistakes than the opponent.
“There was no offensive game plan with the wind the way it was,” Strickland said. “We just did our very best to minimize our errors and to keep the pressure on the other side at all times… We were going over on one a lot, which is usually a last resort on the beach.”
But despite the weather, Strickland said that the wide array of talent on display wasn’t lost. “It was great to see so many strong players come out to play in a local tournament like this one,” he said.