210 Beach: The Club That Awakened the Sleeping Beach Volleyball Giant in San Antonio
It was one of those lightbulb moments for Jason Kaiser. He had been running a little beach club in San Antonio, Texas, with the initial intent of giving his daughter, Maja, and her indoor teammates an opportunity to play some sand to off-set the indoor season.
Kaiser had always known there was doubles beach volleyball at the adult level, but at the juniors? Little to none. In San Antonio, at least.
Then he took Maja and a teammate to Hermosa Beach, California, “and it was ‘Holy crap!’” Kaiser said, laughing. “It was an aha moment – 60 courts in Hermosa Beach when you’re in San Antonio, it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, this is legit.’”
Hermosa Beach has always been legit. It’s been legit since the days of Selznick and Lang and Von Hagen and Smith and Kiraly, up to the current generation of Crabbs and Bourne and Rosenthal and Dalhausser.
What Kaiser returned to was the sleeping giant that is Texas beach volleyball and, on a smaller scale, San Antonio beach volleyball. The next year, in 2012, he started up 210 Beach Volleyball, with 16 kids, including Maja, his own.
“We were just trying to teach the kids the best we could,” he said. So he went out and got certified, learned the ropes.
The next year it was 40.
Now in its eighth year, 210 Beach has 140 beach volleyball players in the program, and it’s not just volume, either. No, when Kaiser spoke over the phone, he had just made the 10-and-a-half-hour ride back from Gulf Shores, Alabama, site of the NCAA Championships.
His daughter? The one for whom he had initially founded the club? She was there, on court five for USC, the top-ranked team in the country who fell to UCLA in the finals.
San Antonio, you could say, which is now producing talent recruited to the top schools in the country, is officially legit.
“Obviously with it becoming a college sport, things have helped,” Kaiser said. “I’m in a fortunate position right now.”
But here’s the thing: He’s not just holding onto that fortunate position. Not hoarding it for all it’s worth, and it is likely worth quite a bit at this point. He’s expanding. Scaling. Providing more opportunities, at both the junior and professional levels. He founded the Texas Beach Volleyball Association, which puts on excellent, talent-rich tournaments with prize money just south of $10,000, more than any CBVA with the exception of the Laguna Open. He’s adding more kids, more coaches, more events, better events.
“I run AVP, I run p1440, I run AAU, I run USAV and I run Rox,” Kaiser said. “That’s what I do. I want to have p1440 involved as much as possible because I believe in the overall mission of what you’re doing. I think it’s good, I think it’s good to have multiple factions that are big bodies on the national level that are doing good things.”
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