Australian Beach Volleyball Tour launches Geelong Beach Volleyfest on Friday
Rippleside Beach is set to come alive over the next 10 days with Geelong Beach Volleyfest featuring two huge tournaments from Friday morning.
With top players from several countries participating in the Volleyball Australia event, Geelong Beach Volleyfest features the opening round of the iconic Australian Beach Volleyball Tour from 17 to 19 November, followed by the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour from 22 to 26 November.
Australian Indoor Volleyroo Stefanie Weiler (VIC) will be making a return to the beach circuit in her home town of Geelong, playing alongside 2022/23 Tour leader Lucia Michalovicova (NSW) for the first time.
“Indoor and beach complement each other so well even though they’re so different, so the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour is a really good opportunity for me to get more touches and have some fun,” said Weiler.
“Lucia is such an amazing player, so when we spoke about committing to the partnership for the whole season, I couldn’t say no – I’m really looking forward to it. In my eyes she’s always been a great competitor, a great player.”
Crediting her start in beach volleyball to Victorian volleyball pioneer, Greg Jury, Weiler is excited to play in her hometown amongst such a talented field, and is paying little attention to the pair’s fourth-place seed position.
“Over the last 20 years Greg has done so much work to advocate for the sport in Geelong, so it’s great to see the Tour come to my hometown,” said Weiler.
“Seedings are important and they have a place but we’re not really worrying about them too much. There’s going to be a lot of great competitors at this tournament, so we’re just going to take it game by game and have some fun,” she said.
Coming off a successful 2022/23 season that saw the Queensland pair win two of the four rounds of the Tour, Georgia Johnson and Jasmine Fleming are the top seeds leading into the weekend.
Twenty-one-year-old Jana Milutinovic (SA) and 18-year-old Stefanie Fejes (NSW) – who will represent Australia at the Pacific Games later this month are seeded second – with strong Kayla Mears (QLD) and Tara Phillips (SA) third.
- Follow the Australian Olympic Team’ Instagram Stories where Jana and Stef will be taking over to bring you all the behind the scenes action from Geelong Beach Volleyfest
In the Elite Men’s draw, the competition will be fierce, with a number of new combinations set to shake up the tour.
Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paul Burnett (WA) is teaming up with 21-year-old developing Beach Volleyroo, Jack Pearse (SA), entering the tournament in the top spot.
Second seeds James Takken (QLD) and Solomon Bushby (SA) are keen to secure or improve their position as a pairing, having finished just outside of the medals on last season’s Tour.
For Torquay 2022 runner-up Justin Schumann, who first played on the Tour in 2014 with brother and Tokyo Olympian, Damien, the return to the beach marks the beginning of a competitive summer.
Joining forces with 2023 Australian Champion Mateusz Zieba (NSW), the Victorian Schumann is one half of a fifth seed pairing that is excited for the Geelong Beach Volleyfest.
“I love the competitive aspect of the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour,” said the 25-year-old. “There’s been a fairly even field across the board lately with different winners at each tournament, so that makes it all the more exciting..
“I’ve had the opportunity to play all the Victorian rounds leading into the Tour and we’ve been training every week in the lead up to this weekend, so I’d say we’re definitely feeling prepared.
“I’m also stoked to be playing with Mateusz this weekend. He’s a really smart player, his tactics are on point, and for a small blocker, he’s such a force on the net, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together.”
Play begins at 8am at Rippleside Beach and entry is free throughout Geelong Beach Volleyfest 2023.