SEASIDE — The 36th annual Seaside Beach Volleyball tournament was full of sand, sunshine and spikes.
After two extremely close sets, Chelsea Ching, Garrett Wilson, Kacey Losik and Wyatt Harrison won the final quads coed open on Sunday, Aug. 13, the last championship game of the tournament.
“It was incredible,” Ching said of her experience at the tournament. “You hang out and have a good time.”
In the final match, every player was essential for the team win. Considering this was their first time playing together as a team, it was impressive to see their chemistry.
Wilson, Losik and Harrison fought hard on the net as blocking and hitting machines. Ching took care of the defense and was an asset for picking up tips.
After back and forth rallies, Ching, Wilson, Losik and Harrison won set one 24-22 and set two 21-19.
The team travels with a crew from Santa Cruz of about 35 people.
“It’s kind of a tradition,” said Ching, who has been to the tournament three times.
“It was an epic year,” Wilson said. “We had a really good group of people.”
What Wilson appreciates about the Seaside tournament is that “everyone that comes here stays and watches.” He has attended nine times, and said this year was his favorite because of the rallies he had during the matches.
The winners receive cash prizes, totaling a combined $76,000, according to Seaside Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian Owen.
He said that this is an event that has grown from what used to be about five courts to what are now 154.
“There’s nothing like it,” Owen said. “For a small town having one of the world’s largest beach volleyball tournaments is a blessing.”
Owen said he was happy with the flow of events, and the change that made it so youth were guaranteed at least two days of play.
The event, which began Thursday, was predicted to bring in more than a thousand teams. If not playing volleyball, people were lounging on their chairs and couches or dancing and cheering the players on.
“We are highly impressed that people come here and just love the experience,” Owen said.