The Mex Volleyball beach volleyball tournament has been going on since 1974. The tournament is played near Papas & Beer in Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico. Just a short drive from Las Gaviotas.
The Mexico International Volleyball Tournament (previously known as “Estero Beach”) is held the last weekend in June in Baja, Mexico – just a short 40-minute drive south of San Diego and ten minutes north of Las Gaviotas. The tournament often hosts several thousand amateur and professional players and is typically considered the largest beach volleyball tournament in the world.
Your partner is assigned to you via a weighted draw. The committee attempts to match levels via computer to create a competitive event.
In a draw tournament, you could end up with an “AAA” level partner, or draw a total hack, who plays at picnics a couple of times per year.
In 2021, however, you could have drawn 2000 Olympian Rob Heidger, who finished fifth in the Sydney Olympics with Kevin Wong. Heidger had always heard of the tournament but had never attended.
“My twin sons (18-year-olds Wilson and Marcus) said, ‘Dad, I want to go play in Estero (the tournament’s former home).’ So here I am. What a great time. It’s a great setup, I love Mexico, great volleyball, great people, it’s a top-notch event.”
Heidger family bragging rights for 2021 went to Wilson, who finished fifth with Kerrick Ryan, while Marcus finished ninth with Brenden Meyers. Rob didn’t advance to the playoffs.
Dad Heidger enjoyed his first Mexico volleyball experience, even though he and partner Chris Cuvelier didn’t make playoffs.
“He partied better than he played,” Heidger said. “He was so-so, but we had a great time.”
Dave Skelly has attended the tournament since 1980, when the tournament was at Estero Beach. Skelly, a coastal engineer, assisted the tournament committee in planning the courts despite beach loss.
“For me and my family, this is a tradition. There are people here that I see once a year, and it’s a joy to see them.”
Every year has a bit of a different flavor, and 2021 was no exception. Both the Mex Volleyball and the semi-annual Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride (normally April and October) fell on the same weekend, so Rosarito was hopping, with plenty of gringos and libations everywhere.
Link to our Beach Volleyball at Las Gaviotas blog post.