Building A Beach At Noah's Ark Waterpark For Sand Volleyball Event
When EVP, acronym for Extreme Volleyball Professionals, approached the owners of Noah's Ark Waterpark about hosting a sand volleyball tournament, there was the little matter of Noah's Ark not having a sand beach. In fact, Wisconsin Dells is about 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean. Turns out it was no problem. The owners agreed to truck in tons of sand to create the beach and the EVP Jr. "Spike n Splash" tournament for boys and girls was on.
EVP tour commissioner Ross Balling explained that their tour is the largest provider of beach volleyball training for kids, with their new Spike n Splash division for middle school and high school kids drawing players from traditional club teams. It's training for competing at the college level. Yes, beach volleyball is a college scholarship sport at about 30 universities, mostly on the coasts and in the southeast, but Balling predicts the Big 10 is next.
"The defining moment that put beach volleyball on the map at the national level was in 1996 when it became an Olympic sport and the U.S. men took gold," said Balling. "Now it's a beach activity the whole family can do together."
For the tweens and teens competing, Balling explained that training on the beach helps them shine on their indoor team, especially when it comes to fundamentals. "You're touching the ball so much more than on a traditional team."
When asked how it was different hosting a tournament at a manmade beach versus a natural beach, he offered that "Parking is easier! Otherwise, it makes no difference for the players 18 and under."
Ultimately Balling would love to have a program with courts at every waterpark in Wisconsin Dells and pros coming in to help train young athletes.
"You could say the 'E' in EVP stands for encouraging, as in encouraging people to get into the sport."