After two wild events on the west coast, the AVP will point east next.
It’s that time on the AVP Tour when the three-tournament Gold Series begins. It starts June 7-9 in New York City at the Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park where the athletes will be playing on a pier jutting into the Hudson (If you’re afraid of heights, avoid the Freedom Tower down the street!).
Although two Opens will take place in Seattle and Hermosa Beach next, the Gold Series resumes in Manhattan Beach, Calif., from Aug. 16-18. If you win that tournament, which is played next to the Manhattan Pier, your name is on a plaque on the pier forever. For those counting, Karch Kiraly has ten of those bronze plaques and Kerri Walsh Jennings has seven (You can survive in Manhattan if you’re afraid of heights 😉).
Two weeks later, the Gold Series Championships hit the sand at Oak Street Beach in Chicago. Yes, as a matter of fact, that is along the stretch of the Windy City’s Gold Coast, and by the way, it’s within walking distance of the famed Navy Pier (If you’re afraid of heights, watch out for that Ferris Wheel, not to mention the Willis Tower).
What’s that simmering substance on the horizon? In the Gold Series, the purses for the events are $300,000, double that of the previous tournaments. Plus, there are more AVP points on the line (which helps with entry lists and seedings).
However, this year, the athletes are competing for something more than cash and points…a ticket to the Hawaii Open! The final event of the year is the AVP Hawaii Open, which is no longer invite-only but instead a tournament where bids are based on AVP Gold Series finishes and championship wins.
How does the Gold Series tie into the Hawaii Open? Six automatic entries to the Hawaii Open Main Draw will be based on the best two of three finishes in the AVP Gold Series. So, a strong finish in the Gold Series means more than just money and points; it now also means a leg up in the Road to Hawaii. Learn more about the Road to Hawaii and how your favorite team will stamp their ticket.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on last season’s Gold Series.
In 2018, there were consecutive victors in the Gold Series. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena captured New York and Manhattan before Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb closed it out in Chicago.
Sara Hughes and Summer Ross opened with a victory in New York, but it was Alix Klineman and April Ross who won the final two, including a three-set victory over Hughes and Ross in Chicago.
Now, let’s talk about 2019.
To start off New York, the women’s champions of the first two AVP events of the year are ready to rock. Klineman and Ross are seeking their fifth consecutive AVP title as a team. But in Austin this month, there was a new sheriff in town when Jace Pardon and Karissa Cook took their first titles, both individually and as a team.
Crabb and Gibb, who already have two crowns, will be trying to fend off nemeses, Dalhausser and Lucena.
But their road figures to be more difficult. Two impact teams will be making their 2019 AVP debuts. Reid Priddy and Theo Brunner, who have played four international tournaments and finished second in Malaysia, will join the field along with Ryan Doherty and John Hyden.
Doherty and Hyden have played five international events to open the season. Yet especially for Doherty, a New Jersey native, the season doesn’t start until that first AVP whistle blows.