As a beach volleyball player, you are likely to know your local competition really well. You probably train with them and know each other's strengths and weaknesses.

That's why this weekend's National Beach Volleyball Tour event is an important one.

The first event of the tour is the Mount Maunganui Beach Volleyball Open tournament at
Mount Maunganui today and tomorrow, open to international teams. It follows on from the national championships last weekend, which was open to New Zealand players only - with local Commonwealth Games stars Sam and Ben O'Dea winning the men's Division 1 and the women's event being taken out by Olivia MacDonald and Francesca Kirwan who beat Mount Maunganui's Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley in the final.

"This week starts the tour ... the difference this week is that the international players can be playing this one," Dave Miller from BeachedAz Events, the company running the tour, said.


He said the competition would feature a mixed Swedish/Slovenian team in both the men's and women's divisions as well as a Japanese men's team.

"The local players love it," he said.

Miller said being able to play against athletes from other countries really helped the local players' games.

"They'll be really good competition.

"We're quite a small local community ... [local athletes] train and know each other's games as well."

He's expecting strong competition from all involved in the event, with plenty of beachgoers coming down to watch the match-ups as well.

Tilley said having finished second at last weekend's national champs has made her and Polley hungry to win this weekend.

The pair have been training during the week ahead of what they expect to be another full-on weekend of warm weather and intense matches.


"We're pretty hungry for it after last weekend, just missing out," Tilley said.

"We've got the international team in our pool ... take it out is the goal."

Playing in Pool B, Tilley said they wanted to make sure they would be in the top two today so they could easily head into the finals tomorrow to "fight your way out from there" and win the competition.

Meanwhile, with a busy day at Mount Maunganui expected today Tilley expected good crowds.

After this weekend's tour athletes will head to the Waikato Beach Volleyball Open at Karapiro on January 19 and 20 and the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Open in Auckland on January 26 and 27.

She said top athletes were self-funded, so getting help from local businesses, like she did with Enspire, meant being able to access training and coaching vital to success.

"It just makes things tough when you're always working, coming up with everything. It's more actually like having support like a network."

Another issue beach volleyballers struggled with was being in the sun all day, with athletes having to make sure they monitor their time in the sun and "being really sun smart".

Running a tour was a similar struggle and Miller was keen to hear from anyone keen to support the events, by emailing

Division One:

S O'Dea/B O'Dea (1)
M Watson/J Timmer (2)
M Appelgren/N Zemljak (3)
M Seymour/R Kapa (4)
B Fullerton/D Morunga (5)
G Muller/D Lewis (6)
T Hartles/A Nicklin (7)
K Kurokawa/R Sato (8)
D Kilpatrick/L Anderson (9)
D Jeffrey/P Preston (10)
O MacDonald/F Kirwan, (1)
J Tilley/S Polley (2)
D Quigley/T Croad (3)
S Simonsson/T Kotnik (4)
R Ursem/C Clarke (5)
L Houghton/K Sadlier (6)
S Clough/T Hemara (7)
B Allison-Carnie/T Otene (8)