An Ace on the Court
Originating in Southern California, beach volleyball has become popular throughout the world. As one of the early settings for the sport, Newport Beach is still home to many professional and skilled players who cut their teeth in the local sands. For visitors looking to try their hand at beach volleyball, or experienced players who are looking for a friendly but competitive match, Newport Beach offers an array of options. It also boasts some of the best courtside scenery on the West Coast, where jagged cliffs meet pristine beaches and the sun casts sparkles over the ocean almost daily. Here, we step on the court with AVP star Ty Loomis to find out his favorite spots — and what it takes to be in pro shape.
What draws you to volleyball?
I’ve become cultured through my travels and experiences around the world — that’s the biggest thing. You get to learn a lot about different places and, ultimately, yourself. Volleyball is also a sport where fans get super close to you, and I really love that.
What are your favorite local beach volleyball courts?
Corona del Mar’s Big Corona Beach is the top place to play — as well as to take city classes [for youth and adults]. Also, you can play all up and down the Newport Peninsula from The Wedge to the border of Huntington Beach.
What are your best AVP highlights?
The Pan Am Games in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, where my partner [Hans Stolfus] and I played two guys who had won the ’04 Olympics on their home beach in front of their 7,500 fans, who were booing us. We lost, but still took the silver medal. It was our Super Bowl moment. Then, in 2009, I won my first AVP tournament with Casey Patterson. It was Fourth of July on Coney Island, it was live on NBC and it was the grand slam of prize money.
How did you keep the booing from affecting your mindset and ruining your game?
Oh, it just fueled us more!
What advice can you serve up to newcomers to the sport as well as players who want to advance their skills?
Get out there and play, play, play. Also, watching [Federation Internationale de Volleyball] footage is great inspiration that has helped me a lot.
Playing in sand in a serious physical challenge — how do you stay in shape?
I circuit train at the gym, work out on the beach — I run sprints, do fast feet, and run against a resistance band, and I also do some yoga every day. I’m always doing little things at home too, like using a foam roller while watching the game on TV.
How important is diet?
I stick to a healthy, whole foods diet and take raw vegan supplements. It’s the stuff your body really needs to stay healthy and in shape.
What is some important gear you’ll need for practice and the court?
Sunscreen, board shorts, sunglasses, and a ball for the court. Resistance bands are a good way to work out off the court.