When Was Beach Volleyball Invented? (Updated)

Micah Drews


Volleyball on the beach has become a popular sport in recent years. There are athletes from all over the world who play the sport, which has grown in popularity over the past 30 years.

For young athletes throughout the country to hone their skills, here you can learn about beach volleyball camps in Illinois, Virginia, Florida, and California. Players will learn not only the techniques to become great players, but also the roots of volleyball.

History of Beach Volleyball

When Was Beach Volleyball Invented

Around 1915, beach volleyball was introduced to Hawaii. The outlines of the current beach volleyball competition were created in Santa Monica in the mid 1920s, despite the original game being played in Hawaii.

Availability of public beaches and the inexpensive equipment contributed to the popularity of beach volleyball.

Recreational games developed into formal competitions and were played globally as the game grew. During the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, it was introduced to the world for the first time, but it wasn’t until the 1996 Olympics that it was officially recognized as an Olympic sport.

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Game Rule

Similar to an indoor volleyball court, beach volleyball courts have smaller dimensions. At any given time, two players from each team are on the court.

There is no position restriction in beach volleyball, unlike indoor volleyball. Each set is scored based on rally points. Matches consist of a best of three set competition between the two teams.

The game is scored to 21 in the first two sets, and to 15 in the third set if necessary. The match cannot be coached during, in contrast to indoor volleyball.

Players to watch

When Was Beach Volleyball Invented

A beach volleyball player who has won three gold medals at the Olympics is Karch Kiraly.

Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor are both players who have made their mark in the sport. In addition to their back-to-back Olympic gold medals, both athletes have had many notable career moments.

Rio-born Ricardo Santos has won multiple FIVB awards and Olympic medals for beach volleyball.

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Europe Welcomes Beach Volleyball

The “old world” was introduced to the new sport in 1927. In Parisian suburbs, nudists played the pioneering role. Franconville was the first place where beach volleyball was played. Prague, Riga, and Sofia were among the first cities to play beach volleyball in the 1930s.

Tournaments in the Beginning

It was organized for the first time in 1947. As a prize, the winner of the 1948 contest received a six-pack of Pepsi in 1948.

In the early 1950s, five single tournaments formed the first series of tournaments. It was only a matter of time before the connections between sport, entertainment, sex appeal and the emerging marketing trend became increasingly strong – and “beachmania” was born.

Sex, drugs, and regulations in the 60s and 70s

When Was Beach Volleyball Invented

There were more and more beach volleyball events becoming giant parties as time went on. Although the California Beach Volleyball Association aimed to preserve the fun factor, it released its first regulations in 1965. For the growing number of tournaments to be held, standardization of rules and superior entities was necessary.

A sponsored tournament was held for the first time in 1974. A tournament held in San Diego was sponsored by Winston Company, which invested USD 1,500 for prize money.

In 1976, at State Beach, there were 30,000 spectators watching the Olympia Beer Championships, the tournament that gave birth to beach volleyball as a sport.

First Professionals in the 1980s

In sports, athletes play a crucial role. Some promoters in the early 1980s ignored this, rather organizing tournaments poorly and ignoring players’ needs.

AVP was created in 1983 in response to this need. Those ‘volleyball trade unions’ started organizing tours in 1985. During their tour, they won USD 275,000 in prize money.

Players from Brazil attempted to enter the U.S.-domain in the mid-1980s with the increase of non-American teams participating in AVP tournaments.

A professional volleyball tour was established by the international volleyball association, the FIVB, in 1987, providing players with a platform to compete worldwide.

Conflicts over broadcasting times and sponsors’ funds led to mutual suspensions between the AVP and the FIVB.

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Beach volleyball boom in the 1990s

When Was Beach Volleyball Invented

In 1992, beach volleyball made its breakthrough in Almeria (Spain), where a demonstration tournament was held alongside the Olympics. During the Atlanta 1996 Games, a nomination for an Olympic discipline was made as a result of the tremendous interest.

Prize money also increased significantly as a result of the increase in international tournaments on five continents in the mid-1990s.

In the men’s competition, Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes of the United States won the first gold medal, and in the women’s competition, Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires of Brazil won the first gold medal.

World Beach Volleyball Championships were held for the first time in 1997. The sport was dominated at this point by some brilliant Brazilians. The men’s final was won by Para/Guilherme, and the women’s final was won by Silva/Pires. Since both the women’s and men’s best eight teams had four teams each, the championship resulted in an international match between the USA and Brazil.

The Millennium

With Sydney’s breathtaking scenery as a backdrop, the second Olympic beach volleyball championship took place just in time for the new millennium. Beach volleyball was ranked as the second most popular Olympic discipline in this period.

With the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, and London in 2012, the story of success continued. Beach volleyball gained popularity not only because of its competitive nature, but also because of its competitive nature. Horse Guards Parade was packed with fans during the 2012 Olympics in London as tickets for the beach volleyball tournament were among the most popular.

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From 2015 onwards

Beach Volleyball

Red Bull and ACTS, with the FIVB as the governing body, have joined forces to launch the Beach Volleyball Major Series. The goal of the series is to provide fans with a great experience on site or in front of the TV screens, and to offer the best athletes in the world a new series.

Before the inaugural World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, the Beach Major Series played three stops on the World Tour’s debut season of 2015.

Compared to 2015, 2016 was a major success. The Copacabana beach served as the venue for the Olympics, where Brazilian team Alison/Bruno won gold in the men’s tournament in front of packed crowds. Ludwig/Walkenhorst of Germany took the top spot on the podium in the women’s competition, however.

Also expanding its schedule was the Beach Major Series, which added tournaments in Klagenfurt, Austria and Hamburg, Germany.

The World Tour Finals followed the Olympics, concluding a great season of competition and packed crowds on the sand. This was perhaps the best season of beach volleyball in history for Alison/Bruno and Ludwig/Walkenhorst.

Almost 200,000 fans attended the beach volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria, arguably the largest event in the sport’s history. Even though Evandro and Andre from Brazil and Ludwig and Walkenhorst from Germany won gold, Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst from Austria had a career-best finish when they won silver.

It’s time for rising stars to shine

Formerly, the sport’s ‘old guard’ dominated previous seasons, but the young generation made their mark in 2018. A similar case is that of the two young Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum. Among the youngest World Tour gold medalists, the 21-year-old and 22-year-old made history by becoming the youngest to win a Beach Major Series event.

Afterwards, the pair captured the European title, a gold at the Vienna Major, and topped the season with a title in Hamburg. A 20-year-old Duda, who won the Hamburg World Tour Finals with Agatha, also wrote history by becoming the youngest champ of the women’s game.

This year’s 2019 Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by comdirect and ALDI Nord in Hamburg will feature new personalities and even more attention from sports fans throughout the world. This event is expected to draw more than 130,000 spectators. Red Bull Beach Arena at Rothenbaum was packed with spectators, and the action broke all German records.

During the 2019 Olympic Games, a lot of long-standing teams separated and new ones formed, but it was the young guns who took advantage of it – alongside the Norwegian Vikings, Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole from Germany stood out in particular, as did the newly crowned Russian World Champions Oleg Vladislawowitsch Stojanowski and Vyacheslav Krassilnikov.

The Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020, and beach volleyball is already guaranteed to be a fan favourite, since generations will clash on the beach.

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Impact of Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball

Cultural Influence

The laid-back lifestyle of coastal communities has been captured by beach volleyball as it epitomizes sun, sand, and summer fun. There are many scenes of beach volleyball in movies, television shows, and music videos as a result of its vibrant culture.

Health and Fitness Benefits

Besides its recreational appeal, beach volleyball is also a great way to stay fit and healthy. While improving cardiovascular endurance and coordination, the sport engages muscles from head to toe.


Is beach volleyball the same as indoor volleyball?

The rules and objectives of beach volleyball and indoor volleyball are similar, however beach volleyball is played outside on sand, whereas indoor volleyball is played indoors.

How many players are on a beach volleyball team?

As opposed to indoor volleyball, which features teams of six players, beach volleyball is usually played by two players per side.

What equipment do I need to play beach volleyball?

An appropriate swimsuit and sunglasses are required for beach volleyball, as well as a volleyball and net.

Can anyone play beach volleyball?

In addition to being an age- and skill-friendly sport, beach volleyball can be played by anyone. The beach is a great place to enjoy friendly games, no matter how experienced you are.

Are there any safety precautions to consider when playing beach volleyball?

In order to prevent injuries and ensure a safe and enjoyable beach volleyball experience, it’s essential to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen, and warm up properly before playing.


As a global phenomenon, beach volleyball has remained relevant and popular despite humble beginnings. Despite the fact that beach volleyball continues to inspire generations of athletes and beachgoers worldwide as players flock to beaches to play spirited matches under the sun, the legacy of the game lives on.

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About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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