First of all, it was great to see professional beach volleyball return to Australian Beaches this summer. All thanks to efforts of beach volleyball nutter (and obviously highly skilled event organiser) Arthur Klonis. The Renault Beach Volleyball was a spectacular success and probably one of the best tours Australia has seen.
The Danish team of Bo Soderberg and Anders Hoyer have taken honours in the final event in a close final (1-2 (18-21, 21-18, 13-15)) against the top ranked Australian team, veteran Josh Slack and Chris McHugh. Both teams are scheduled to start their World Tour season and Olympic qualification campaign in Brasilia later this month. It is interesting to note that Josh Slack is entered with Will Mercer, rather than Chris McHugh. Mercer is, to my mind, the most exciting player that we have seen on the Australian tour since Lee Zahner, so I am very much looking forward to seeing their results if the do indeed play together. The Aussie teams seem to return to the expected pairings at the next event in Poland, and Beach Training will be covering this event live (Yes, I’m going to Poland :-)), so you’ll be the first to know how they went!
In the women’s draw the team of Becchara Palmer and Louise Bawden won the final in an equally close three set match against Nat Cook and Tamsin Hinchley. These two teams were clearly the strongest on the circuit this year, but not by much. They were chased closely by two teams from Manly Beach, both of which made it through to the semi finals in every event this season. Alice Rohkamper and Mariafe Artacho are a great team. Both of them making up for a lack of height with incredible ball control, and the same can be said for Katie Bartoli and Sarah Battaglene. It will be very interesting to watch the results from of these teams this season, especially considering that the National (AIS) program seems to be uninterested in supporting either of these teams as serious contenders.