If the action at Mount Maunganui Main Beach at the weekend was anything to go by, beach volleyball is a sport on the rise.

On Saturday and Sunday some of the country's best up-and-coming players battled it out in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Beach Volleyball Championships.

There were 211 teams competing at the event, which organiser Dave Miller said was a big increase on previous years.

"That's 50 more than last year, the past three years have been at 160, so it's quite a big jump up."


Nayland College (Nelson) and Spotswood College (New Plymouth) took out the senior girls' and boys' divisions respectively, while Westlake Girls' High School and Hillcrest High School pairs finished first in the junior girls' and boys'.

Miller said there was a combination of factors leading to the increase in popularity.

"It is becoming more popular, I have heard feedback from parents across the weekend that they are finding more kids want to switch to volleyball because of the scholarships available. There are a lot coming over from netball apparently, that's to volleyball in general, which obviously plays into beach volleyball.

"Also, I think there are more coaches encouraging their indoor players to play beach as part of their training regime."

"I think there was also the success of the national tour in the last month - the fact that we had the live stream and on TV last weekend, it's helped lift the profile a bit as well."

Beach volleyball was valuable for indoor players to work on and develop their skills.

"It's big and some of the smarter coaches realise that. Basically, with indoor, you have six on the court and the setter is the brains. The coach is also very involved in indoor, they determine a lot of what happens.

"You can have players on the court who don't have to think for themselves - in beach volleyball, playing in pairs, there is nowhere to hide. You have to both be able to read the game and understand what to do.


"If you get more indoor players thinking that way, even when they don't have to, it creates better indoor players. When they do have to play a crunch shot they maybe play it in a smarter way."

He said with so many teams entered the Years 9 and 10 teams had their own divisions, rather than being combined like in previous years, and the level of competition was of a high standard throughout.

"It was really cool to see the Year 9s playing each other, it's usually quite hard for them going up against Year 10s. We had schools from all over, some from Canterbury and Tasman, but still not as many as we would like, we would like to develop more down there in the future.

"It was a great weekend, it looks pretty cool with 33 courts set up on the beach and with a lot of the schools setting up tents and marquees. There's always a lot of people stopping and watching."

New Zealand Secondary Schools Beach Volleyball Championships Results
Senior Girls
1st G Stjade/S Young (Nayland College), 2nd T Otene/J Vukets (Westlake Girls' High), 3rd K Allan/M Hinton (St Andrew's College).

Junior Girls
1st D Menoita/T Nu'u (Westlake Girls' High), 2nd R Davidson/E Ballantyne (St Margaret's College), 3rd E Dickson/B Puletaha (New Plymouth Girls' High).

Senior Boys
1st K Joe/M Naborisi (Spotswood College), 2nd July Oswald/T Stanley (Trident High), 3rd Gillespie/Tiplady (Western Heights).

Junior Boys
1st J Robert/K Smith (Hillcrest High), 2nd C Laurent/B Henry (Whakatane High), 3rd J Basson/E Skelton (Rangitoto College).