Only two days until Hermosa! Time to pick who you’re rooting for this weekend, and local writer/USA National Indoor Team star James Shaw has some ideas for you.
Nothing represents the ways of beach life quite like beach volleyball. In LA’s South Bay, we have the undeniable fortune of sharing our sands as the unofficial home of the beach volleyball universe. Some of the highest-level AVP athletes and internationally accomplished stars spend day in and out on the Hermosa Beach sand. And a handful of them calls this city home.
No group of athletes is more fun to follow along with on social media than those on the AVP. So, who are some of the most engaging entertaining “follows” when it comes to these tanned and toned beach prowlers, you might ask? In no particular order, here are my Ten Favorite South Bay AVP Pros to follow on social media:
Sarah Sponcil (Facebook, TikTok, Website): A recent Olympian at the 2020 games in Tokyo and Arizona native, Sponcil is easily one of the most fun follows of any of the pros living making the dream happen in the South Bay. She’s always engaging with her followers and keeps it quirky and high energy, sharing the nitty-gritty of the typical volleyballer lifestyle and accentuating the shiny sides of it, all in the same breath.
Taylor Crabb (Facebook, TikTok, Website): A superstar hailing from Honolulu still yet to reach his goals of world domination, Taylor Crabb brings the 808 to the South Bay with added flair. If you’re at all interested in beach volleyball, you’ve probably heard of Taylor Crabb and just might have heard about his Olympic tribulations. Last summer, he tested positive for COVID-19 immediately upon landing in Tokyo and was unable to compete for the tournament’s duration. He’s fueled up for a ‘24 run, though, with a new partner and former indoor legend Taylor Sander.
Betsi Flint (Instagram, Website): Maybe the most inspiring story as of late is Betsi Flint’s return to the top of AVP and international podiums after just having had her first child in early 2021. She’s quickly bounced back to her pre-motherhood form and then some. She and new partner, Tokyo Olympian Kelly Cheng, made the Semifinals in Rosarita, MX earlier this year and then won the New Orleans AVP! Betsi poignantly documents her journey through the trials of early motherhood and constant volleyball training and travel on her socials.
Troy Field (Website, Instagram, Twitch): An avid Twitch gamer who’s highly involved on social media in general, Field loves to create a community with his fans. He is not shy about making the volleyball court his dance floor during warmups and introductions. You’ll instantly recognize the high-flying Mr. Field from a distance at one of the South Bay’s many top courts – he always dons his bright pink-billed upward folded hat (a la Karch Kiraly).
Terese Cannon (Instagram): A transplant from upstate New York, Cannon has fully embraced the beach lifestyle and made the South Bay her home. The AVP’s next rising blocker, her ascent onto the international and AVP scene has been nothing short of meteoric. She and new partner Sarah Sponcil are now taking the FIVB by storm, having earned a recent 9th place in Rome.
Jeremy Casebeer (Facebook, Website, Instagram): A climate-responsible athlete whose mission is to bring awareness to climate action, especially in protecting our beautiful oceans, Casebeer rocks a unique, multicolored mustache and long blond hair California boy look. Instantly recognizable on the sand, Casebeer is an excellent athlete to follow if you’re a fan of athletes with extracurricular passions. When not pursuing climate projects like his podcast, Our Impact, or snapping gorgeous travel shots to share on his Instagram, you can usually find him running court at Hermosa Beach’s famous 16th Street.
Emily Stockman (Instagram, Facebook): A grinder in every sense, Stockman has been right on the cusp of constant podium finishes for the better part of the last five seasons. An avid fitness fanatic, Stockman is a Colorado transplant who has found her niche in the South Bay becoming one of the fittest, hardest working players on tour. If you’re looking for some workout inspiration, Stockman might be the perfect beach athlete for you to follow! Plus her bulldog Gilbert is must-see cuteness.
Tri Bourne (Instagram, Twitter, Website): Inspiration seems to be a theme with these athletes, so let’s keep the train rolling with Bourne – maybe the most Hollywood-worthy story on Tour. A tale of perseverance, Bourne sat for 20 months battling a rare autoimmune disease and came back in 2019 to eventually become an unconventional Olympian in 2021. After Crabb had to withdraw due to Covid, Bourne captured the spotlight and capitalized on his chance, becoming somewhat of an overnight hero. Another Hawaii transplant, he always shows his followers the Aloha and upbeat energy.
Molly Turner (TikTok, Instagram, Website): An up-and-coming player who’s truly earned her way into the Main Draw mix with regularity, potential is no longer the word to use for Turner. In 2021, she placed 3rd in Atlanta and 7th in Chicago. Back for more this season, Turner also shares insight on her travels and personal life. She’s an avid advocate for body positivity and mental health around body image on her “Molly’s Body Blog” and cohosts a lifestyle site M+J Away (I just so happen to be the J in that name, so I admit I’m biased).
Trevor Crabb (Instagram, Twitter, Website): Trevor is one of the fiercest trash talkers and pure talents on the tour. He and partner Tri Bourne combine to make up one of the most entertaining duos to watch in the world, but Trevor plays to the crowd without peer. No one will tell it like it is like he does, especially through his social media channels. Trevor is unafraid to call out competitors, call his shots, and embrace the bad boy mantle placed upon him since his initial rise on the Tour. He has twice guaranteed his tournament win on social media the week before it happened. That alone makes him a must-follow.
If you’re looking for some more local, insider access consider following two guys with a deep knowledge of the game and its athlete. Check out Mark Schuermann, the MC and stadium Voice of the AVP, and Travis Mewhirter, a current professional who cohosts the Sandcast podcast with Tri Bourne.
This article was written by James Shaw, a professional indoor player currently competing with the US Men’s National Team on the Volleyball Nations League Tour. He initially wrote this piece for Beach Bound Sports, a Hermosa-based sporting goods rental company. The AVP thanks them both.