In less than two weeks the Corona Light Wide Open will begin its third season, a season unlike any other in pro beach volleyball history. None of us wished for the circumstances to play out as they have, with the AVP gone and so many of you scrambling to continue earning a living playing the sport you - and I - love. If it’s any consolation, I am extremely glad and proud that my team and our sponsors have stuck to our vision and have nurtured the Wide Open Tour from its grass roots origins to its current state playing such a significant role in American pro beach volleyball.
You’ll see a number of familiar faces on tour this year: beach volleyball’s Mister everything Geeter will be with us at every Wide Open event (and at the U.S. Open too). Several of the operational staff, referees, and other familiar faces will appear over the course of the season too.
In addition, in just 4 short years our team has grown 2011’s culminating event, the U.S. Open, into what appears to be its biggest one ever. It will feature a purse of $150,000, at a great location (Hahana Beach – Cincinnati), with one of the best pro beach promoters in recent memory.
Here’s a special note regarding the upcoming event in Florida …
As many of you know, I have a very busy schedule working as the Assistant Coach of the USA Women’s National Team as we look toward trying to accomplish something special in London come 2012. Because of this commitment, unfortunately I will be unable to attend the kickoff of the Wide Open’s 2011 season in Siesta Key.
Over 20 years ago, I developed an idea that evolved into one of the most anticipated events of the Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, the King of the Beach event, typically held at the end of the season, first in Daytona Beach, and later in Las Vegas. This annual event crowned a champion, a stand-alone King.
Following the theme of that King of the Beach concept, I have hatched another idea that - in lieu of my absence at Siesta Key - will christen the tour with something aimed to inspire some of the same excitement and drama that existed at the KOB events during beach volleyball’s heyday.
It’s simple. It’s called the King/Queen of the Beach Throwdown, and here is what it means: I am personally placing a $10,000 bounty on the shoulders of the #1 seeds in both Pro Divisions.
Should any team, during the Men’s or Women’s Pro Division tournament play, upset the #1 Men’s or #1 Women’s seed, that team - and that team only - will immediately be awarded $5,000. If this should occur, the “Throwdown” will be over for that division.
Should the #1 Men’s or #1 Women’s Pro Division seed go through the event undefeated, they will receive a bonus of $5,000 in addition to their 1St place prize money.
I’m pumped to see how this will play out, and I hope this adds to the drama and excitement of the Corona Light Wide Open Tour.
I will definitely miss you all, the Siesta Key Corona Light Wide Open, the beach, and the competition - but I wish you all the best of luck, and I’ll see you in Seaside Heights.
Thu, June 2, 2011
by Kyle Canter