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Bellevue facility takes beach volleyball to a new realm - indoors
Bellevue is known for a lot of things - diversity, good food, its bustling downtown, but sunny days of beach volleyball isn’t one of them.
But in true Pacific Northwest fashion, a couple of Washington natives have adapted the game to fight this area’s grey existence.
Brian Park and Brian Boyer opened up East Beach Volleyball late last year, an indoor beach volleyball retail company and academy. The facility features three courts in the warehouse location on Northeast 116th Avenue, a store area and a tropical style where players can cool off with a Gatorade after a tough game.
The store has been a plan for Boyer and Park for years. Previously, with a store on Alki Beach, business didn’t last all year round. Seattle is not replete with beach volleyball courts, and even then, players have to brave the traffic, and parking issues at Alki or Golden Gardens in Ballard.
“The biggest thing is there’s not a whole lot of public courts for beach volleyball,” said Boyer, who played volleyball during his time at the Naval Academy. “To really put in a nice, quality court costs a lot of money, and there’s not a lot of public money there for developing volleyball courts.”
So Boyer, who has been playing volleyball since 2001, and Park decided to fill that void. East Beach operates as more of a training facility than a recreational space, though open gyms happen on Friday evenings.
Boyer, along with three contracted instructors run several group classes as well as individual sessions. They teach players the game, from the basic concepts, to advanced skills. They can also help players get up to speed with a limited gym and workout supervision. Though the academy doesn’t operate a lot of leagues, players get chances to face off with similarly skilled opponents multiple times.
Instruction in the area is limited, Boyer said. Most players can’t learn a lot about volleyball after the youth level, and these classes will help generate more interest in the game.
“We have a passion for teaching people the game,” Boyer said. “We believe the more people who play, and are given an opportunity to play and learn will allow for the game to get more popular.”
This training not only helps the players get in shape, it allows people to gear up for games during the summer months, when the limited courts in the area are in high demand.
Boyer said the business has thrived during the cold winter months, but summer could be a question mark. Boyer felt confident that people will still want to learn to play, even if it is inside during the warmer months.
East Beach Volleyball Academy
2120 116th Avenue Northeast, Bellevue.
Lessons - Individual sessions range from $25 to $60. Group classes are $288 for doubles, and $440 for four players.