David Beleznay of Vancouver delivers the clinching kill in the men's final of the Clearly Parksville Pro Open beach volleyball tournament at Community Park in Parksville Sunday.

Throwback team throws down in the sand

Vancouver veterans claim third straight men's title as Pro Beach Volleyball Tour makes annual stop in Parksville

Beach volleyball may be a young person’s game, but a couple of Vancouver veterans showed there is still a role for old age and treachery Sunday in Parksville.

Ryan Gandy, 41, and partner David Beleznay, 34, swept to their third straight men’s title in the Clearly Parksville Pro Open Beach Volleyball Tournament at Community Park, sweeping Ben Ricketts and Joel Caschetto 21-12, 21-16.

“I’m twice as old as some of these guys out here,” said Gandy, a transplanted South African. “And David is almost there.”

“As long as we win, I don’t mind,” Beleznay added with a grin.

The pair collected $660 for their winning share in the $2,500 tournament, the third in B.C. Volleyball’s $25,000, 2016 beach volleyball series.

The two have known each other since Gandy arrived in Vancouver in 2000 to attend the University of British Columbia and play on the men’s volleyball team. Beleznay was a first-year university student there and the two spent the next four years playing together on the school’s team.

“We’ve been a (beach volleyball) team for six years,” said Gandy, “so we play well together. Actually, we know all these guys out here. Everybody knows everybody else; it makes it fun.”

While Gandy and Beleznay have played together for more than a decade, their semifinal opponents were a cross-country tandem still getting the feel for each other’s games.

Devin Dunn of Langley, 21, and Dallas Keith of Toronto, 23, will travel next month to represent Canada in the World University Beach Volleyball Championships in Parnu, Estonia after winning the Canadian qualifier in Toronto in March. It was the first time the two had played together.

“I’d met Devin a year prior when I came to Vancouver,” said Keith. “When I heard about the championships, I messaged him on Facebook. We had one practice; he flew in (to Toronto) on a Thursday, we practised Friday and the tournament started on Saturday.”

Keith returned the favour this month, flying to B.C. to join Dunn in the B.C. pro series so the two could get some extra competition in before the July 13-17 world games. The pair went on to place third after falling to Gandy and Beleznay in the semifinals in Parksville, in Keith’s first trip to Vancouver Island.

The tournament opened under steady rain showers Saturday, though Sunday’s finals were played under cool, cloudy but dry conditions.

“I’m a fan of the rain,” Dunn said. “It keeps the sand packed, which is good for us lighter players. It helps you jump.”

The women’s championship went to Braun Thomas and Joanna Rachelle, who were playing together for the first time because their regular partners were unable to make the trip to Parksville.

The Vancouver-based duo topped Liz Cordonier and Juliana Kaufmanis in a tight, 21-19, 24-22 final.

“We wanted to be in the top four, but we felt we had no pressure,” said Thomas, who had won this tournament two years ago with another partner.

En route to their title, she and Rachelle upended the defending champions, Darby Dunn and Quincy Berker, in the semifinals.

“That was the point when we realized we could actually win this,” Thomas said.

The Volleyball B.C. tournament was run with the assistance of local volunteers from Oceanside Outdoor Sport, which also hosted the first event in its Youth Sand Series in conjunction with Sunday’s pro finals.

This Saturday, Oceanside Outdoor will host Thibault’s Tournament, a memorial adult and youth triples tournament to raise money for a scholarship in the name of the late player and coach Ryan Thibault.

Registration is $75 per team of three. Online registration and info is available at www.oceansideoutdoorsport.com.

Above: Hannah May of Victoria, right, tips the ball over an attempted block by Keira Christensen of Nanaimo during the first Youth Sand Series beach volleyball event of the season at Community Park in Parksville Sunday. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP remind Parksville Qualicum Beach residents they can report crimes online

Option to report lost or stolen licence plates and ICBC validation tags also available

Bucket list: Errington Hall set to come alive with special drumming

Pair of programs scheduled to take place starting October

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farm stand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out stand on Norcross Road

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Most Read