‘Kiss My Ace’ Tournament Showcases The Fun Version Of This Sport
It was a beautiful spring day in the South Bay with a bright sun shining, the air comfortably warm and only a light breeze messing with the trajectory of the many volleyballs being hit on the courts all along the sand.
It was also the third in a series of tournaments I host called “Kiss My Ace.”
You may have heard of a beach volleyball game called “Aces,” as in “we were playing Aces.” But this is incorrect. Every South Bay local knows that this fun beach volleyball format is properly referred to in the singular as “Ace.”
So, what is Ace?
Ace is a looser version of traditional volleyball. In Ace, hand set techniques and other rules are treated like the pirate code according to Captain Barbossa: “More what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”
The specifics vary but there are two goals: score points and “ace” the opposing team.
An ace occurs when the opposing team fails to touch the ball before it hits the sand. At which time the “aced” team shares an “ace beverage,” traditionally beer, and the scoring team receives a point. Getting aced on the serve can result in double the fun, of course.
In most Ace games, throwing (as opposed to hitting) the volleyball is allowed and many top players excel at placing the ball into spots where the players are not standing.
There is no specified team format for Ace. I’ve seen it played as a doubles match and with Jack Daniels instead of beer to disastrous results, but it is typically played in at least a 4-on-4 format.
In our “Kiss Your Ace” tournament, 40 of the friendliest competitors you can imagine gathered to play co-ed 4s Ace on a court in Hermosa Beach.
There were several top players in the tournament, many who are highly rated in the CBVA, but the beauty of Ace is way it acts as a great equalizer. Often, it’s not the big hitters who triumph but the scrappy defenders who never let a ball drop and stay relatively sober through the day.
This day was no exception, with birthday boys Mikey Jerome and Tony Perez combining with Torcia Lee and Kevin Heffelfinger to make the late afternoon finals. Facing a powerhouse team of Richard Krutop, Darin Cyns, Ashish Tiwari and Sherry Salinas, the birthday celebrants dropped early points and found themselves scrambling throughout the game.
Clever defense and some clutch hitting from Kevin, brought them back to within a point. When the sand settledDarin Cyns’ team prevailed but with little breathing room, triumphing with a final score of 21-18.
Oh, and several played in a costume.
In the end, the ice chests were empty and laughter was the true winner of another South Bay beach day.