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"SANDS OF TIME"

THE HISTORY OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL

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Volume #1: 1895-1969
Volume #2: 1970-1989
Volume #3: 1990-2004

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"SANDS OF TIME" is a complete history of Men's and Women’s beach volleyball, including its roots that began with the indoor game.


The following is a selection taken from the book: "THE SANDS OF TIME"

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
1940'S
BEACH VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENTS

In the 1940's, after countless "pick-up" games of volleyball on the public beach, organized tournaments began to take place. In 1944, the first recorded beach volleyball tournament, that was open to public beach volleyball players, took place on Santa Monicaís Muscle Beach.

Prior to 1944, there are no records of public tournaments in the "Archives" of beach volleyball history. The Outrigger Canoe Club, in Hawaii, organized some internal "Club" tournaments prior to 1920 and the Santa Monica "Beach Clubs" had been staging tournaments since the mid 1920's, but these tournaments were not open to the public beach volleyball players.

Along with the first organized event in 1944, there were a total of eleven tournaments recorded in the 1940's. These tournaments were held from as far south as San Diego to as far north as Santa Barbara. Nine of the tournaments were played on the beaches of Santa Monica. The two additional tournaments were staged on East Beach in Santa Barbara and another on San Diegoís "Old Mission Beach" as each location hosted one tournament during this time period, both in 1949. These early tournaments, were the prelude for tournaments that are now organized, all over the world, for the best beach volleyball players, on the various Pro-Beach Volleyball Tours.

In 1944, 1945, 1946 and again in 1947, the Santa Monica Beach Volleyball Tournament was sponsored by the Santa Monica Recreation Department. These Muscle Beach events pitted 2-Man teams against each other in a round robin format with the top teams going into a single elimination championship bracket.

In 1948, the first annual Pacific Coast Outdoor Volleyball Championship took place at Santa Monica Canyon State Beach. This "Draw" tournament was the first of many "State Beach" tournaments.


Bernie Holtzman spikes the ball past the block, during the annual 6-Man event, held on the sands of Long Beach California.
Photo courtesy of Holyoke Volleyball Hall of Fame
Also in 1948, The first "Beach Olympics," was staged by the Santa Monica Professional Beach Guard Association. The inaugural "Beach Olympics" included a 2-Man beach volleyball tournament at Sorrento Beach. The tournament consisted of entrants from different Santa Monica Beach teams, including teams from Sorrento Beach, The Incline, Roadside Rest, Muscle Beach, and Ocean Park.

In 1949, there were five 2-Man beach volleyball tournaments that were recorded. There was the second annual Santa Monica State Beach Men's Beach Volleyball Tournament. Followed by the first annual, Santa Monica "Open" Beach Volleyball Tournament, at Ocean Park Beach. On Sorrento Beach, the second annual "Beach Olympics," was again staged by the Santa Monica Professional Beach Guard Association. Further up the coast of California, to the north on Santa Barbara's East Beach, the first annual Santa Barbara Men's tournament was staged. Down south in San Diego, the first annual San Diego Menís Open was staged on "Old" Mission Beach.

The second annual Santa Monica State Beach Men's Beach Volleyball Tournament, was played in front of 5,000 beach volleyball enthusiasts. This second annual State Beach tournament is regarded as the first "sanctioned" men's beach doubles volleyball tournament. The tournament was open to all of the top players. The playerís entered the tournament, as a team, with a partner of their choice. The 1949 event was won by 32-year-old Manny Saenz and 21-year-old Bernie Holtzman.

The first annual San Diego Menís Open was won by Ed Teagle and Dan Prall. In the above photo, Teagle was still around at age 55, when he was entered in the 1982 San Diego Open.
Photo courtesy of George Stepanof

The first annual, Santa Monica "Open" Beach Volleyball Tournament, was played at Ocean Park Beach Playground (Muscle Beach). There was doubles action featured in the "AAA" and "AA" classes for both men and women. There was also a "AA" class full 6-Man team clash. The team of Manny Saenz and Ev Keller won the 1949 "AAA" doubles division while Gene Hanson and Ray Cone captured the 1949 Class "AA" doubles championship

The first annual Santa Barbara Men's tournament, was played in front of a small local crowd. The tournament was made-up of teams from the surrounding area. This 1949 tournament was won by the team of Ken La Duke and Don Steere.

The first annual "San Diego" Menís Open was won by the local team of Ed Teagle and Dan Prall. All of the 1949 entrants were from the San Diego area.

In the late 1940's through the early 1950's, 2-Man beach volleyball players could earn "AAA," "AA," or "A" classification ratings. In 1952 the "AAA" rating was eliminated, presumably because of a shortage of quality players for this classification. The top tournaments, during this time frame, would be classified anywhere from "A" to "AA" to "AAA" depending on the whim of the beach volleyball gurus administering the various tournaments. This inconsistency really did not matter since the best players of the era were playing in the tournaments, regardless of the rating attached.


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THE SANDS OF TIME" and the "Winners" series, as well as additional beach volleyball publications are available from:

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