As we are embracing the summer with our arms wide open, the outdoor activities are calling and one of our favourite is beach volleyball. It's a perfect way to combine a fun activity with the best summer has to offer: beach and the sun. For some people, it's more than just a fun activity. It is a lifestyle.
This summer we are following Andrea and Claudio, from the professional Italian beach volleyball team "Garghella-Barlassina" during their first season playing together.
But before we begin, we will let Andrea give us a short introduction of the "Garghella-Barlassina" team.
Ciao Andrea, tell us a bit about your team. When and how did you decide to play together?
Claudio and I decided to play together at the beginning of 2015 after having both decided to stop our collaborations with our previous partners. We thought we could match perfectly inside and outside the court, so now we are here ready for the battle. This summer there are a lot of very strong teams aspiring for the main draw of each event, so every time we have to give all our best.
How long have you been playing volleyball?
I’ve been playing pro for 15 years, since the age of 19. I can say volleyball has been my life so far, and I’m lucky I could turn a hobby into a job.
Claudio was a soccer player at the beginning, after becoming a pure beachvolley player. He lives just in front of Albissola’s beach, so the sand is his natural environment.
What makes beach volleyball so special for you?
Beach volley is mostly fun. It’s freedom. It’s something you discover and you can’t stop loving despite the harsh conditions you may face sometimes: wind, extreme heating, burning sand, rain…
But there is nothing better than relaxing at the sunset after a whole day on a beach court, maybe looking at the sea or enjoying a drink with the same guys you have battled against all the day long. It’s a big family, a great environment.
What are your expectations from the 2015 season?
We will start many of these tournaments from the qualification draw, so our first goal is to reach as many main draws as we can. Once we get in, we’ll promise to enjoy the crowd. As I said, this summer the average level of the championship will be higher than in the past. Many teams can compete for the victory and many teams can also aspire to qualify for each main draw.
Are you involved in any extra activities, such as mentoring young players, giving beach volleyball training camps, social outreach or charity contributions?
Yes, we are involved in many collateral activities. We both coach beach volley for 2 BV schools. Sometimes we organise some training camps for all the beach volleyball lovers: this is one of the most beautiful experiences, both for the coaches and the players.
What do you like to do when you're not on the volleyball field?
I like surfing the web, being a tourist or organising trips, gardening and enjoying some good home made dinners with friends! Claudio lives in the famous Liguria Riviera, so it’s easy to understand the beach is his second home. He is now involved in launching his new brand “Beach Volleyball Lovers”
When traveling, do you have any favourite destination?
It’s a difficult question. Among the tournaments here in Italy we would definitely say San Teodoro in Sardinia. We are already looking forward to play there on the 19th of July.
If we were off the court, Claudio would take a flight to Canada for sure, I would probably say Norway as a country and Australia as a trip of my dreams.
You'll be touring tournaments in Italy and Europe during the summer. Any recommendations where to spot the best games and beaches?
If you would like to experience beach volley at its best, we recommend to attend one of the FIVB World Tour Event.
In Italy I would say San Teodoro (Sardinia), Cervia and Catania.
You have only 1 minutes to pack and run to the court. What would you take with you in your Notabag?
My sun glasses and a cap. There is no need for anything else.