On a recent trip to Aruba we discovered a fun and exciting new sport called Beach Tennis thanks to the Aruba Marriott. What is Beach Tennis you ask? Take the fun and fast-paced sport of tennis, combine it with a beach volleyball court, the sun, sea and sand of the beach and you have Beach Tennis. How had we never heard of this before?
Beach Tennis merges the worlds of Tennis and Beach Volleyball into one sport. It can be played both competitively and recreationally and because it’s so simple to play, it appeals to athletes and non-athletes of all ages. It literally took us twenty minutes to learn and right away we were playing on a very high level (or at least in our minds we were). Beach Tennis was first played in Ravenna, Italy. In the beginning the Italians played it with a tambourine. After World War II the practice of playing the game with a bat like paddle or flat wooden paddle began. The sport was introduced to Italian tourists starting in the early 80’s and by 2003; it had spread throughout the world.
In November 2003, Marc Altheim was vacationing in Aruba with his family. After a game of Tennis at a local resort, he walked along MooMba Beach, tennis racket in hand and saw a large crowd of people gathered around what he thought were Beach Volleyball nets. It wasn’t Beach Volleyball though; it was Beach Tennis. “I stood there and watched and I thought, ‘This is so cool!'” Mr. Altheim recalls. “I hung around for a while and eventually I got to try the game. It was strange at first, playing tennis on the sand, but before long I really got into it.”
Mr. Altheim then was introduced to Sjoerd de Vries, who runs the Aruba Tennis Academy and is the founder of the Aruba Beach Tennis Foundation. According to Mr. de Vries, he discovered Beach Tennis in his native home, Holland and brought it to Aruba in 2000. It caught on so quickly that in 2001 he formed the Aruba Beach Tennis Foundation and began organizing events to promote the sport. In November 2002 the first International Beach Tennis Tournament was held in Aruba.
Together with Sjoerd de Vries, Marc, formed Beach Tennis USA, LLC and started promoting the sport in America. Beach Tennis USA began introducing Americans to this fun and exciting new sport through a series of teaching clinics and tournaments.
At the 2009 Beach Tennis USA National Championship, BTUSA debuted Beach Tennis using a paddle instead of conventional tennis racket in its first ever “Paddle Battle.” After the success of the paddle’s debut, Beach Tennis USA officially adopted the use of the paddle to facilitate the unification of the many international Beach Tennis associations throughout Europe, South America and Asia. In 2010, Beach Tennis USA announced a partnership with The International Tennis Federation, the world governing body of Tennis and Beach Tennis that named Beach Tennis USA as the governing body of Beach Tennis in the United States.
Today there are a few places to play in California. To try it out for yourself and test your Beach Tennis skills visit one of these locations:
Long Beach – Beach Tennis LBC, Contact: Jamin Dunneback (909) 273-1790, Dunne1jj@gmail.com
Los Angeles – Beach Tennis USA , Contact: Marty Salokas (310) 614-4869, MSalokas@beachtennisusa.net
San Diego – The Barnes Center, 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd. Contact: Gretchen Majors, (619) 920-7075