May 27. 2015 1:22AM

Kids really dig SpikeU

Beach Volleyball

by Rob Levey
Special to the Union Leader


 (Lisa Martineau)

Hampton Beach Dates:

New England Beachfest
Saturday, June 6

New England Open
Saturday, June 20

New England Classic
Saturday, July 11

New England Summer Slam
Saturday, Aug. 1

New England Invitational
Saturday, Aug. 15




Summer really cannot exist without a healthy dose of hot sun and at least semi-regular trips to the beach, which underscores the increasing popularity of volleyball tournaments for youth at Hampton Beach.

Matt Morrissette, CEO of Spike University (SpikeU), which organizes these tournaments across New England, said they plan to offer 12 events this summer from mid-May through mid-September.

“We have players who never played volleyball, never played beach volleyball and who are excellent high-performance volleyball players,” he said. “We also have the full range of player skills at each tournament.”

Noting he is flexible in how he groups players, he said he puts kids together with similar skills to maximize the value of their experience.

“About 60 percent of the kids are repeat business and the other 40 percent are new to the tournaments,” he added. These tournaments are not just popular for those who participate in them either, as crowds of 300-plus generally watch them with thousands more checking in throughout the day. While acknowledging some kids go on to compete on a national level, Morrissette said he emphasizes fun with the kids, which he noted parents have come to appreciate.

“Parents love the atmosphere and how we specifically cater to people and create opportunities for every kid to increase their skills and spirit for the game and great sportsmanship,” he said. “We also make the cost of entry and playing this sport way below any other sport, including indoor volleyball.”

In looking to the future, Morrissette said they hope to offer year-round beach volleyball, a tournament in every state (Tour of New England), and host a national EVP championship tournament in which adults and professionals play in Cape Cod. “More excitedly, we want to have a big name Olympic gold medalist visit and provide advanced skills training every year,” he said.

For now, though, he said he is happy to offer tournaments at various locations throughout New England, including Hampton Beach, which he feels is the perfect venue for beach volleyball. He refers to Hampton Beach as the best beach volleyball venue in all of New England.

“Hampton Beach has the best sand, best layout, best proximity to amenities and best activities on the same day,” he said.

“Families can go to a concert, sand castle competition, walk the boardwalk, relax, and enjoy a meal overlooking the ocean and many other family and kid centric things.”

SpikeU also hosts tournaments in Brookline, plus Lakeville, Mass.; Plattsburg, N.Y.; and new this summer, Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

To learn more about SpikeU’s beach volleyball tournaments at Hampton Beach this summer, visit www.spikeu.org.