Popularity of beach volleyball growing

Volleyball on Navarre Beach never seems to stop. Whether you are a pro looking to get in on the action, a spectator or a novice looking to try it out, Navarre Beach has become the perfect venue for the game.

More than a dozen tournaments are scheduled for our sandy shores thanks to the efforts of pro volleyball player and local Judd Smith and Bulldog Beach Volleyball at Lagerheads on the Gulf of Mexico.

Smith once called Navarre Beach a diamond in the rough when it comes to the beach volleyball scene, and it’s one that continues to shine.

This is the fourth year Bulldog Beach has been full-go with putting together tournaments. The popularity grows each year.

The Rockwell tournament, held last month, was one of the latest events Smith helped spearhead. It featured 30 teams and $3,000 in prize money that was generated through local sponsors.

Rockwell provided watches, t-shirts and swag bags. There were teams from as far away as California that traveled to play in the tournament.

Another tournament earlier this year drew 41 teams and the field could have been bigger as there were eight teams on a waiting list. Junior leagues have become a mainstay on the beach as well this year.

The ultimate goal is to bring professional tournaments to the beach, where visitors will get to stick their toes in the sand while watching some great athletes duke it out.

For the less hardcore volleyballer, like myself, the courts are set up for folks to use at the foot of the Navarre Beach Fishing pier on the gulf side of the beach as well as at Juana’s Pagodas and Sailor’s Grill across the street on the sound side.

Though I am personally too uncoordinated for pretty much any sport, I love getting a group of friends together to knock a ball around at sunset on the beach. If you miss you can always blame it on staring at the view.

Novice or not, beach volleyball is a blast and just one of many ways to get active here on sunny Navarre Beach.

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