Cape Town Elite 16 offers a great opportunity for new teams at the highest level

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Routes of a Special Circle in Hell – LAX to Istanbul to Cape Town; total time: 36 hours — were sailed. Boulder Beach penguins have been seen. The local porridge eaten. The delicious South African coffees discovered.

Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour Cape Town Elite 16 tourism has ended for the time being. Wednesday morning in Cape Town – very early morning in California, not so early for central and eastern beach volleyball fans – the seventh Elite 16 of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour schedule begins.

And it starts, technically, in a good way for the Americans.

Taylor Sander, left, and Taylor Crabb with their AVP Phoenix trophies/Rick Atwood photo

Taylor Crabb, who is coming off a fifth and a bronze medal in back-to-back Challenge events in Dubai with Paul Lotman, reunites with her usual running mate, Taylor Sander. Crabb’s points from Dubai propelled him and Sander into the No. 1 seed in Wednesday’s qualifying, which also propelled them into a first-round bye. They will face the winner of the English Issa Batrane and Freddy Bialokoz and the young Swiss Jonathan Jordan and Immanuel Zurcher.

The only other American team in the qualifier is Cody Caldwell and I, a duo reunited with a dash – OK, big scoop heap – of spontaneity.

Caldwell was to play alongside Adam Roberts. I was supposed to be in the Dominican Republic with JM Plummer. Roberts had to withdraw, which left Caldwell without a partner in the first Elite 16 of his career. He called me and after some quick math – just showing up to an Elite 16 gets you more points than winning a NORCECA in the Dominican Republic – I bought a flight, I had a dreadful route ahead of me and my first Elite 16 of the season. We face the English brothers Bello, Javi and Joaquin, at 2 p.m. local time, 5 a.m. Pacific time.

As for the women, well, they can continue to do whatever tourism activity they choose.

It seems almost impossible, but there weren’t enough teams to complete the qualifiers. Each team that signed up earned a spot directly into the main draw, which includes four American pairs – Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, Megan Kraft and Emily Stockman, Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil, Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn – and a number number of notable international personalities. teams. Topping the list are world champions Duda and Ana Patricia from Brazil.

But Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova, who now plays with Helena Havelkova, is making her debut since COVID derailed her Tokyo Olympics. Another debuting from a pretty big life event is Germany’s 2016 gold medalist and loveable Laura Ludwig.

Like Slukova, Cape Town also marks Ludwig’s first event since Tokyo – and the first since she gave birth to her son, Lenny, around six months ago. The four-time Olympian picked Lippmann, a 28-year-old who played for the German national team as an outside hitter and is making her first appearance on the Beach Pro Tour.

That, however, can wait for women, who can enjoy one more day off. Maybe a trip to Table Mountain or another quick cup at a local cafe.

For men, it’s time to make these routes worth the trip.

You can watch all matches on Volleyball TV

About Walter J. Leslie

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