Get ready, beach volleyball fans. The Extreme Volleyball Professionals tour is hitting the sand at Tybee on May 11 for the annual Beach Bum Open.
Professional and amateur volleyball players from across the region will duke it out by the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion for cash prizes and awards.
"It's our fifth year, and in terms of Beach Bum Open weekend, we basically have grown 10 to 15 percent in terms of participation," said tour commissioner Ross Balling. "Last year, we had 70 junior teams under 21 and about 80 adult teams over 21. We hope to reach that momentum again."
Tybee's event grows in popularity each year.
"The crowd is unbelievable," Balling said. "It's got to be one of our top five spots on tour. People come from all over to watch this event.
"And players love it because we're the only tournament on the beach all year."
Megan Wallin, a professional volleyball player from Sarasota, Fla., has been on the EVP tour for five years but May 11 will be her first time on Tybee.
Her appearance at the Beach Bum Open follows a winning match at the tour's stop in Lake Charles, La., over the weekend.
"One of the best perks is that you get to travel and go to beautiful beaches and cities all around the U.S.," she said.
For Wallin, a top-ranked player who went to Michigan State University on a volleyball scholarship, the game is her life. At 30, she publishes SpikeKey Beach, a magazine dedicated to the sport.
Playing on the beach, she said, is a special kind of difficult.
"The elements - standing in the wind makes it challenging," she said. "Besides the bikinis, there are so many more elements when you're playing outside. If you don't like to be outside in the sun, beach volleyball is not the sport for you."
IF YOU GO
What: Extreme Volleyball Professionals Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 11
Where: Just south of the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion
Cost: Free to spectators; teams must register at www.evptour.com.