Atlantic City Beach Week Preview: AVPNext GOLD Open

Even though the AVP season technically doesn’t start until the Atlanta Open on August 11th, there is a HUGE AVPNext Gold event happening THIS WEEKEND in Atlantic City, NJ. 

This AVPNext will wrap up Beach Week – a weeklong volley extravaganza including Beach Nation clinics, a Juniors competition, and a Junior Nationals awards banquet complete with the Eric Zaun Scholarship Award hosted by our own Camryn Irwin. Atlantic City will be the epicenter of upcoming domestic beach volleyballers, and you do not want to miss it. 

The Atlantic City AVPNext is going to be the closest thing to an AVP we’ve had since the Champions Cup Series. Broadcast queen Camryn Irwin will be there throughout the weekend, calling the matches and bringing her sunshiny presence to your screens. Check out avp.com for schedule and streaming. 

Also – if you’re in the area – come by and check us out. Atlantic City in the summer is pure Americana. That plus beach week makes for an epic summer getaway. There will be food trucks galore (I heard there’s gonna be fried chicken) and a bar on-site (Kona and White Claw all day). Our host hotel is Tropicana Casino, which means fine dining, craft cocktails, and ample gambling (for those with stronger stomachs than I). This weekend is going to be a raucous party, the way beach volleyball is meant to be. And it’s open to everyone. 

The prize purse is big time at $100K, and the competition will be fierce. On the Men’s side, former Olympian Chaim Schalk and partner Theo Brunner top the list of competitors. Right on their tail are almost Olympians Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb and a host of former AVP winners, including Johnny Hyden, Rafu Rodriguez, and Billy Allen. Up-and-comers like Miles Partain and Andy Benesh will be there, along with familiar names like Piotr Marciniak, Avery Drost, Chase Frishman, and Kyle Friend. Beach legend and three-time Olympic Medalist Ricardo Santos will grace the Jersey Shore and indoor greats like David Lee, Paul Lotman, and Curt Toppel. Get the full breakdown of who’s playing with whom here

The ladies’ side is bringing it, too. AVP Champs Emily Day and Betsi Flint are back at it as the top seed (with Betsi’s adorable baby girl Cora cheering her on). In seeds 2-4, we have Karissa Cook and Sarah Schermerhorn, who once battled against each other in the 2019 Austin AVP Final. Next are Crissy Jones and Zana Muno, back together after a summer apart. Allie Wheeler and Corinne Quiggle have returned from their globetrotting and are primed for a domestic tourney. Also on the list are AVP regulars like Kelly Reeves and Kelley Larsen (playing with the newly-graduated Seminole Torrey Van Winden), Geena Urango, and Maria Clara Salgado. Rio Olympian Brooke Sweat is back on the AVP and playing with Delaney Mehwhirter. This is gonna be so good!

This AVPNext will run similar to an AVP, with a double-elim modern crossover format. Eight teams will come through the double-elimination Qualifier to join the 24 teams in the Main Draw. I don’t remember ever having a double-elim Quali before; it sounds awesome. Capped at 64 teams, there will be match play in the Winners Bracket and a single set to 28 in the Contenders Bracket. The top four teams from the Winners and Contenders Brackets will move to the Main Draw. 

This is the biggest payout in AVPNext history, with $12,000 going to 1st place and $8,000 to 2nd. Plus – the athletes who don’t make it in will still have a chance to compete. The Stay and Play tournament on Saturday and Sunday includes Open, AA, A, and B divisions. That means no matter the skill level or how a team finishes in the AVPNext tournament, there’s still high-level competition at a professionally run tournament for everyone. And – more money! 

So athletes – even if you didn’t register, I’d still go. Why? 

  1. Amazing competition in the Stay and Play that still has open registration. 
  2. You get to live out your Jersey Shore fantasy in Atlantic City in the summertime. Plus volleyball. Perfect combo. 
  3. If you lose earlier than you wanted to, there are drinks, great food, gambling, and in-person volleyball. That deserves a fist pump. 

And fans – it’s a no-brainer that you should make a weekend of it. For those of you who understandably can’t pull off a last-minute trip to the Shore, catch all the action with Camryn Irwin streaming live on avp.com. For more info, head here.