Skip to Content

East Beach volleyball courts shrink from damaging Santa Barbara rain runoff

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The steady rain this winter has resulted in a strong runoff at Santa Barbara's East Beach where volleyball courts have now been impacted.

The courts are world famous and said to be the birth place of beach volleyball as a competitive sport that has eventually made it to the Olympics.

Erosion has taken out the base sand for many courts and they won't return until the rain and runoff stops and the sand is replenished.

This has happened before but it's been many years.

There are still some courts open and on West Beach, where there's more beach and less erosion. The city has also added some courts there due to the East Beach sand loss.

The city says before the storms it had 25 courts at East Beach now it's down to ten.

A private group, Friends of East Beach, has been helpful with the courts for several years, and some of the most famous players from this area have had courts in their name. They include Karch Kiraly and Kathy Gregory.

The poles that have come down in the storms have been salvaged and will be installed after the winter weather ends.

Jon Lee is with Friends of East Beach. He has been a highly honored athlete and coach at the high school and collegiate level. He said, "anything man creates along the coastline is transitional and when Neptune speaks he speaks loud and abruptly and you better anticipate it and he will get his way."

Longtime coaches, players and the group Friends of East Beach say they are working with the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation department to save equipment and make plans to put it all back when the sand fills in again.

"I think everything has been reclaimed.  I don't think we lost very much actual material," said Lee.
"We just have to clean up the wood and make sure there's no sticks and threatening materials on the courts."

Heavy equipment has been working up and down the coast to remove piles of driftwood and debris from the creeks, especially where the public is using the beach for walks, swimming or recreation such as volleyball.

The players say to get a court timing is important.

Steve Lough, a regular beach volleyball player stopped from his game Monday afternoon and said, "for now the weekends are impacted but as you can see during the week it's not a problem at all. West beach is a good alternate." He was encourage about the sand replenishment saying, "we'll get our courts back."

Restoring the East Beach volleyball courts will be a team effort with the city and volunteers,  likely within the next two months.

Lee says the plan is very simple once the sand returns. "Put the pole back in.  Put the lines in and serve it up," he said.

For more from John, follow him on Twitter below:

Article Topic Follows: Outdoors
beach erosion
beach volleyball
East Beach
Friends of East Beach
rainstorm impact
Santa Barbara
Summer Olympics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content