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Thursday, February 20, 2020
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National Volleyball Tournament On The Horizon For Tybee Island

SBJ Staff

11/09/09 - Tybee’s beach will get worldwide exposure as a volleyball venue with the premier of the Miley Cyrus movie “The Last Song,” in which the teenage star falls for a young man who is playing competitive volleyball near the pier and pavilion.

The movie won’t be out until March, but a sequel of sorts is in the making.

This one would be the real thing, however.

Ben Wilder, director of the Savannah Sports Council, says he is close to a deal to bring the Extreme Volleyball Professional tour to the beach May 22. Tybee City Council gave permission last Thursday to use about 150 yards of beach from the pier to 17th Street.

Wilder’s next task is to persuade his governing board to allocate several thousand dollars for the council’s share of putting on the all-day pro-am tournament. His pitch, he said, will center on the 300 or so professional and amateur players the event will draw as well as the hundreds of friends and family that will accompany the players.

That would help to kick-start the summer season for area hotels and restaurants, he noted.

But also important, he said, is the television exposure the tournament will bring. The Chicago-based Extreme Volleyball Professionals Tour makes telecast arrangements with regional TV sports networks run by such companies as Comcast and Fox that serve the localities in which tournaments are held.

Naples, Fla., for instance, hosted a tournament in the summer that generated nearly a dozen repeat telecasts on a regional sports network there, he said in an interview last week.

“We’re not going to get just one show” that gives exposure to the beach, Wilder added.

The tournament would have two main courts for the men’s and women’s professional championships and 10 additional courts for the other competition categories, he said.

The courts left behind by the makers of “The Last Song” will likely serve as one of the center courts, according to Wilder.

“Hopefully, we’ll have the courts that are already there. We’ll just need to re-net them.”

He expects the exposure the Disney  movie featuring the Hanna Montana star will boost Tybee’s profile as a great place for volleyball. “We’ll get some good play off that,” he said.

Should the Sports Council secure the tournament and become an annual stop on the Extreme Volleyball Professional Tour, Tybee would likely be featured in the organization’s promotions of the tour, Wilder noted.

Carlos Giminez, an official of the organization, said 15 stops are planned for the 2010 season. “We’re looking to put them on it,” he said of Tybee.

Extreme Volleyball Levels of Play

The tournament competition categories include:
• Professional, the highest level of play in the tour. Eligible players must have a AAA rating from their local beach volleyball organizations or finish in the top three places for an EVP sanctioned Gold (AAA/open) event.
• Gold  - AAA -  Open,  the highest level of amateur competition in the tour. Gold or open level permits AAA players to compete for a spot into the Pro division.
• AA – Advanced, an advanced level of competition for players that have beach experience and can play competitively in a consistent manner.
• A - Intermediate, a level of competition for players who have limited beach experience and are developing their competitive game.
• B - Beginner, a beginner level of competition for players who are beginning their beach experience and are developing their intermediate game.
• BB - Recreational, a recreational level of involvement for players  who want to sample the beach experience at a slower pace.
• Co-ed – Various, a level  of competition lets men and women play together in various categories. Most co-ed events are held on Sundays so that players from earlier days may still have a chance to compete in this category.
• University, a level of competition specially designed to permit current collegiate athletes to participate in summer competitions and represent their schools at the regional or national level. University players may receive cash or prizes depending on the tournament but should consult with tournament director so special arrangements are made and they do not compromise their NCAA eligibility.

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