Top class beach volleyball returns to the sand at Mount Manganui's Main Beach today and tomorrow.
The Mauao Grand Slam, featuring the cream of New Zealand's men and women beach volleyballers, will take centre stage with action under way at 9am both days.
BayTrust CoachForce Volleyball Officer Edwin O'Dea says doing well at the grand slam is crucial for pairings to qualify for the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Open to be held at Mount Maunganui from January 31 to February 2.
"It is one of the last grand slams for teams to earn ranking points into the pro tour," O'Dea said.
"There are valuable points up for grabs for teams that want to get a good seeding when it comes to the three national pro tour events coming up.
"All the top teams will be playing the event over two days from today.
"Definitely the top men's team would be my brother, Sam O'Dea, and Mike Watson, who have just come back from Australia where they live now.
"In the women's, the top team is from Hamilton. Julia Tilley and Shauna Polley train under a coach from here at the Mount in Charles Leota, who also teaches and coaches at Otumoetai College.
"They have been doing quite a lot of work and will definitely be the top team."