I can see the play unfold as if it were yesterday: Tri Bourne jump-serving John Mayer down the line, Mayer passing it, Ryan Doherty putting up a bump-set that was pushed a tad outside, Bourne making him pay for it.
Bourne left just enough line available for Mayer to bite, and then he sealed that line with one of his massive hands that do not befit a man of 6-foot-5.
That block put the finishing touches on the 2015 AVP Huntington Beach Open — Bourne and John Hyden’s second straight win – and with it the professional beach volleyball season in the United States.
At the time, I was just nine days into my ongoing California adventure, having made the 35-hour trek from Navarre, Florida to Newport Beach, and I was still in awe that I could watch professional beach volleyball players right there in my new backyard.
I remember wanting to get Bourne’s autograph that afternoon, though I didn’t wait, for I figured he would certainly be mobbed by fans and media and would rather celebrate than sign something for a 25-year-old sort of grown up.
A little more than two years has passed since I sat in the stands and watched Bourne clamp Mayer’s swing, and I have been fortunate enough to stumble into something far more than one autograph.
Bourne and I launched a podcast – The Sandcast: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. You can credit him for the idea, and the editors at VolleyballMag for the name. I’m just along for the ride.
If you’re reading this column, then you’re surely aware that Bourne took over the commentary of the AVP’s livestream in the 2017 season. He did a decidedly excellent job, especially when considering that he had exactly zero training prior to taking over, and there are few things more difficult than talking by yourself for a dozen hours.
I joined him once, on Saturday morning of the Manhattan Beach Open. My good friends Branden Clemens and Ben Vaught were playing Bourne’s childhood buds and fellow Hawaiians Riley and Maddison McKibbin. Bourne knew everything about the McKibbins. I knew as much as there was to know about Vaught and Clemens. It made for immediate chemistry, Bourne deferring to me when it came to details on Vaught and Clemens and vice versa when it came to the McKibbins.
I think that, above all, speaks to what each of us brings to this podcast. Bourne brings with him massive clout. He’s one of the best blockers not just in the United States, but the world. He has an intimate knowledge of the game not just from the perspective of an elite player, but as someone who knows all of the top players exceptionally well. I bring with me some media experience and a not-so-deep knowledge of the game – but I know an almost uncomfortable amount of information about virtually every player within the top 100, having written on almost all of them at some point or other.
Tri probably described it best, at breakfast at the Oceanside Diner, one morning: “You’re a rookie in beach volleyball but your career is in media. I’m a rookie in the media but my career is in beach volleyball.”
It’s going to be fun.
Each week, Bourne and I will interview at least one influencer in the world of beach volleyball. This could be a player, team, coach, representative from the AVP – anybody in the game that our listeners might find interesting.
As the year goes on, it’s quite possible this will be done overseas, when Bourne is traveling for FIVB and hopefully making an Olympic run, and it will certainly be done in cities across the country during AVP tournaments.
Our goal is to dive deeply into the world of beach volleyball, introducing you to the players and what makes them tick, what their stories are, what their goals are, what’s next. We want to pull back the curtains on their lives, what they do when they’re not on the sand, how they balance life on the beach with the one off it, which no doubt funds their ability to be on the beach at all.
Above all else, we want to grow this sport. A podcast – a Sandcast – isn’t a bad place to start.
We both love podcasts -- Jordan Harbinger Show, School of Greatness, Rogan, Tim Feriss -- and one thing we noticed was that the beach volleyball world was missing a podcast. So, in November of 2017, we launched SANDCAST, and we've since released an episode every Wednesday, occasionally releasing bonus episodes on Mondays as well.
We both have Mondays off, so we meet up with a guest and just chat volleyball over some wine and dinner. Typically, the recording will take around two hours, and then producing it and writing the show notes is at least another two hours.
How do we find the time? Well...most of the time, the producing and writing of the show notes occurs while we work our normal jobs. Can't say we recommend it, but it makes us more efficient with our time, to be sure.
We certainly take sponsorships, and each episode we generally make $50, if not a little more. Most of our sponsors are brands within the game of beach volleyball, and because we're the only podcast in the sport, it's been relatively simple to land sponsorships. Being a market of one makes life easier. Downloads per month vary, though if we had to put a number on it, it's roughly, 6,000.
We use the ZoomH6 recorder, Audio Technica mics, and edit with Garageband. All simple and easy to use. Our guests are easy to find, as Tri and I are both professional players, and our guests are peers who are other professional players, with whom we have regular contact. We prefer in-person interviews, though occasionally we use Skype or FaceTime.
Just do it! It's so easy to talk yourself out of doing a podcast. Don't worry about the money, don't worry about landing guests at first -- just do it. The best resources are to listen to other podcasts and figure out what you like.