Girls Beach Volleyball joins CIF scene

PRACTICE+MAKES+PERFECT%3A+Senior+Stephanie+Chen+practices+her+volleyball+fundamentals.

Joy Kim

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Senior Stephanie Chen practices her volleyball fundamentals.

Rachel Yokota, Staff Writer

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Federated Council voted unanimously for girls’ beach volleyball to become a CIF sanctioned sport on Feb. 5. It will be played in highschools as a CIF sport beginning the spring of 2021-22. Northwood Athletic Director Brandon Emery said that it is possible for Northwood to form a team in the future.

“We obviously would need to secure facilities and have some logistics to figure out, but if we gain enough interest in the sport, we would look to start fielding a team, just like any other CIF recognized sport,” Emery said.

After beach volleyball’s popularity surged in San Diego high schools, players and coaches have consistently pitched beach volleyball as an official CIF sport ever since. Now, the beach volleyball community is looking forward to seeing the sport expand to new heights.

“As a former volleyball player and coach, I am extremely excited to see the momentum that beach volleyball has gained in the last few years,” Emery said. “With CIF recognizing beach volleyball, the sport will hopefully continue to grow and increase its visibility on a local and national level.”

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, beach volleyball participation increased by 1.4 million people between 2007 and 2012. The sport has also been recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and now has 83 U.S. colleges supporting beach volleyball programs. Currently, 1,300 girls are participating in club beach volleyball in 100 schools registered in CIF.

However, it was a long journey to get the sport sanctioned: The initial proposal to sanction beach volleyball was rejected in 2014. Five years later, it was brought up again by the CIF San Diego Section. While it passed the first stage in 2019, it took over a year to be approved by the five councils that were required to be officially accepted.

The major arguments for sanctioning girls’ beach volleyball was the constructive opportunities it would provide and the reasonable costs of the game. Girls would have more options when considering athletics and would be able to grow and improve their skills in a unique environment. The sport also does not demand expensive equipment and leasable sand court facilities are becoming common.

“I think it’s crazy that it’s taken this long,” Junior Varsity volleyball player sophomore Lindsey Kung said. “As a sport that’s gaining popularity, I feel like it should’ve been approved sooner.”

While beach volleyball is taking strides in the girls’ section, the boys’ section is stagnant. CIF Southern Section Council President Micheal West confirmed that there are currently no intentions to sanction boys’ beach volleyball.