The Enduring Popularity of Beach Volleyball: A Look at the History of the Classic Summer Sport

Beach volleyball has been a popular sport for generations and countless people have enjoyed the beach game during the summer season in many different parts of the world. It has achieved a level of popularity that keeps it relevant and accepted among all generation, including young and old.

At MitGlobal Dubai Sports, we are here to answer the question: what is the history of beach volleyball and why does it have such great endurance? This article will explore the history of beach volleyball, from its beginnings to its current status as one of the most popular summer sport.

We’ll look into the evolution of the game, from primitive hand-to-hand contact sport to its modern incarnation. We’ll see how popularity of the game was created and maintained, and how it has been embraced by different cultures around the world. Finally, we’ll offer insight into why beach volleyball continues to remain so popular.

Origins: Deep Roots in the 1920s

Beach volleyball has its roots in the 1920s, when it started as a fun, recreational game played in Hawaii by a small group of friends. The game quickly gained popularity and was further popularized in a 1927 article by the Hawaiian newspaper The Honolulu Advertiser. Hawaiian restaurateur George David “Dad” Center is credited as the founder of the sport, and his own son, Bill Center, is largely responsible for the professionalization of beach volleyball in the 1950s and 60s.

The popularity of beach volleyball grew rapidly in the 1950s, when tournaments began to be held in Waikiki, the most well-known beach in Honolulu. Tournaments took place in the sweltering summer heat with the cloth covering the net and a stickball net in place of a standard volleyball set. It was a very different game to what we know today, with teams of up to six people rather than the now-standard two.

Transformation in the 1960s

In the 1960s, beach volleyball underwent a major transformation. Bill Center established the professional organization called the Florida Beach Volleyball Association, which held the first professional beach volleyball tournament in 1952. This tournament laid the groundwork for a new version of the game which saw teams of two, instead of the six-player format that was previously used. The now-standard net, which is 16 feet across, was also invented during this period.

In the mid-1960s, beach volleyball took off in California, becoming one of the most popular sports on the beaches of Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach, Ventura, and Hollywood. The decreased team size and more structured rules made the game far more competitive, and soon it started attracting professional volleyball players and was being broadcast on television. This newfound popularity saw beach volleyball become an Olympic sport in 1996.

Modern Beach Volleyball

Today, beach volleyball has developed into a highly competitive professional sport, with professional leagues popping up across the globe. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is the premier international beach volleyball tournament, and the sport is currently played in over 100 countries. Despite its professionalization, it remains a fun and accessible sport for casual players, with courts easily set up in a variety of locations including beaches, parks, and backyards.

Beach volleyball has endured as a popular summer pastime for over ninety years, and its cheerful, laid-back vibe is likely to keep it popular well into the future.

Rules and Regulations

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has put in place some very specific rules and regulations for the game of beach volleyball. The official court dimensions for beach volleyball are: 8m x 16m for men and 7m x 15m for women. There are three different levels of net height: men 2.43m, women 2.24m, and junior 1.98m. The point system is used to determine the games winner; the first team to 21 points with a two-point lead wins the game. Side-outs are not used; however, if the ball touches the net, it is declared a foul.

The serving rules vary slightly from indoor volleyball; the server must have one foot on the ground at all times until the ball has been served. Additionally, the same team must serve consecutively. Beach volleyball also allows foot contact with the court (except while serving), as opposed to indoor volleyball’s ban of contacting the court with any part of the body other than hands.

Finally, the most important aspect of the beach volleyball rules is the “let-system.” If a player feels a ball is too close to the net or uneven, then he or she may call for a “let.” A “let” is a replay of the point and all players must return to their original positions, with the server and the side from which the ball was served, unchanged.

Competitive Beach Volleyball

For many people, beach volleyball is primarily an informal summertime activity, but the sport has long been played at a competitive level as well. The global popularity of beach volleyball has increased significantly since it was made an Olympic sport in 1996. In addition to Olympic competition, there are numerous professional beach volleyball leagues and tournaments across the world.

The sport as we know it today evolved from the game of volleyball, created by William G. Morgan in 1895. Initially played only on hard surfaces, a variation adapted to sand courts was invented separately by Paul Johy in Santa Monica, California, in 1915. Beach volleyball gradually grew in popularity and popularity over the decades until it was officially recognized by the International Volleyball Federataion (FIVB) in 1987. This led to the first official tournament being held in Mexico City later that same year.

Today, beach volleyball events are hosted all over the world, with a number of national and international competitions taking place each year. Major beach volleyball tournaments such as the FIVB World Tour, National Beach Volleyball Championships, and Continental Beach Volleyball Tour routinely attract large numbers of spectators and participants. The sport has grown in professional capacity, becoming one of the most popular and lucrative beach sports in the US and the world.


It is clear why beach volleyball has endured in popularity over the years. From its beginnings in Hawaii in the 1920s, beach volleyball has become a popular summer sport with an international reach. Even during the pandemic of 2020, beach volleyball has managed to thrive through social media and virtual tournaments. With the continued growth and popularity of the sport, it’s clear that beach volleyball will remain a major part of summer culture.

The future of beach volleyball looks as sound as ever. With more organizations hosting tournaments and sponsoring competitions, the reach and influence of beach volleyball is now even further than it has ever been. The sport is also growing in popularity among children, who are discovering what an exciting sport beach volleyball can be. We expect the sport will continue to grow in popularity in the years ahead.

Overall, beach volleyball is an enjoyable summer activity that has endured in popularity for many decades. Once played mostly by adults, beach volleyball is now growing in popularity among children and continues to spread across the world. Beach volleyball is easy to learn and fun to play, and its continuing vitality ensures that people of all ages will be able to enjoy its pleasures for many years to come.

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