About 100 beach volleyball players, headed by some of Queensland's best, will be in action at the Bundaberg Major tour event at Elliott Heads this weekend.
While kitesurfers (also known as kiteboarders) from throughout Queensland ply their trade on the water at the Apex Windslasher Kitesurfing Festival, the volleyballers will hit the sand for the Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour's Bundaberg round which is also part of the festival.
Bundaberg product and tour director Shanon Zunker said a quality field had gathered for the festival with teams in the men’s and women’s premier and challenger senior divisions and under-19 and under-15 male and female divisions battling for valuable tour points to qualify for the State Championships in Mooloolaba in April.
“We’ve got a lot of players coming who have competed at Elliott Heads before and they’re returning to compete because it’s one of the most enjoyable legs of the tour,” Shanon said.
“It’s a bit more relaxed than some of the larger events in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast and the players enjoy the different vibe with some taking the opportunity to camp at the park.”
Shanon said the Bundaberg Region’s central location added to its appeal with competitors from southern and central centres of the state able to travel to Elliott Heads for the weekend.
He said the Bundaberg team of Matt Brain and Nic Lindsay would enter the men’ s premier division event high on confidence after reaching the semi-finals at the Brisbane Major last weekend.
They will feature in a strong field trying to deny Queensland men’s No.1 ranked player Joel Berry a third successive Bundaberg title following his previous successes with different partners.
In the women’s premier division Brisbane sisters Vanessa Green and Danielle King, who finished runner-up in Brisbane and are consistently strong competitors on the tour, will be tough to beat.
Shanon, a Bundaberg product and former competitor on the tour, is in this fifth year of managing the tour.
He said he was pleased that the Bundaberg Major had returned to the tour in recent years after it was one of several regional centres to drop out of the tour.
“When I started directing events it was one of my goals to get Bundaberg back on the tour,” Shanon said.
“When I was competing, it was a genuinely statewide tour with centres such as Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville hosting rounds but, over time, it has condensed to being restricted to south east Queensland and this is something I am trying to rectify.”
Shanon said he looked forward to the Elliott Heads event as a chance to return to his hometown and visit his parents and appreciated the efforts of Apex and the local kitesurfing fraternity to include beach volleyball in an exciting regional event.
Play gets under way at 8am on Saturday, continuing through until 4pm-5pm, before resuming for semi-finals on Sunday at 9am with the finals expected to be contested at midday.
The Apex Windslasher Kitesurfing Festival and Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour event, now also incorporating the Queensland freestyle kitesurfing titles, also features food stalls, live music, and a licensed bar. Event times, stalls and entertainment are yet to be finalised.
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