Jake Gibb has seen it all in beach volleyball. He's played at the Olympics three times and been the winner of the FIVB World Tour.
Yesterday, on his first visit to Mount Maunganui's Main Beach, he called it "gorgeous" and reckoned it should host an International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) tournament.
"There's a lot of value in doing that. You bring in a lot of tourists. Do you guys want this place to grow? Maybe you want to keep it nice and small the way it is," he said, with every car park taken on Marine Parade from Mt Drury to Mauao.
Gibb is in Tauranga for the wedding of his friend Jason Lochhead, the former top New Zealand player who now coaches the world's number one men's pair of Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, ironically rivals of Gibb and his partner Taylor Crabb.
But while he's here, Mount Beach Volleyball club founder Mike Watson has hired Gibb, Lochhead and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Sam O'Dea to host a beach volleyball training camp on Main Beach.
Forty teenagers from local high schools have signed up for some world class instruction.
Gibb has been a full-time World Tour player for 18 years but at the age of 42 he still has plenty in the tank.
"I was just named USA Volleyball player of the year and we were named team of the year, and I had a surprisingly good year and I thought, 'oh can I keep doing this?'
"So I've just locked down my partner for the next two years and we're going to push for Tokyo."
So far, he hasn't been able to win an Olympic medal. He was fifth in both 2008 and 2012, before slipping to a disappointing 17th in Rio where he never made it out of section play. But he says the Olympics are not his main goal.
"A lot of people see this as an Olympic sport, which it is, but for me it's a professional sport and it's the way I provide for my family. The way I look at it is, I love to play beach volleyball, I have a passion for it, and I get to play it for two more years."
Originally from Utah, Gibb has lived in southern California for 16 years. He competes in around 20 tournaments a year in World Tour, AVP and King of the Court series.
He's effusive in his praise of the O'Dea brothers Sam and Ben.
"They are a very, very good team. They're way past the point of being good enough to qualify for the Olympics. They just need the support. If you get support, you get the right coach and then you can travel to the tournaments that you need to go to qualify."
Mike Watson says the opportunities for teenagers to play and get top beach volleyball coaching are few and far between, so having Gibb, Lochhead and Sam O'Dea all in town at once presented a golden opportunity.
In his mind, it's still a minority sport but he's looking to grow it.
"It's a big sport at high school level indoors, some of them progress to beach. We get about 150 pairs, about 300 players for the national competition."
The success of the O'Dea brothers was a filip for the game.
"Even just to have beach volleyball on TV was a huge thing, and then to get a medal was just even bigger so it's definitely raised the profile of the sport."
He'd back Gibb's idea of an international tournament, but knows it's going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The key is to get international players here, because our talent pool is not that deep and it's hard for us going to Europe and the US. So if we can get international players here, that will help."
And while Gibb is 2 metres tall and the O'Dea boys are lanky as well, Watson is quick to dispel the theory you have to be tall to play the game.
"Yes, it is an advantage and it attracts a lot of tall people. But Jason Lochhead in his playing days was one of the best defenders in the world and he's only 1.7m. The team that are the best in the world at the moment, they're only 1.85m."