Event | Beach Volleyball on Jeju

Beach volleyball on Jeju

Blue sky and beach, volleyball tournament, live music, friends and beers. What more could you want on a Sunday afternoon in October?

Jeju Island is well-known for its beautiful beaches, various hiking and walking trails, and dozens of museums and other tourist attractions. But there are also numerous sports to play for the athletic-minded visitors and expats who come to Jeju. Besides regular games of soccer, ball hockey, ultimate frisbee, basketball, badminton, and table tennis, there are regular tournaments held for the best beach sport – beach volleyball.

Beach volleyball on Jeju is perhaps the most actively participated-in sport. There are usually at least two, and often four, BVB tournaments held annually. Since June 2009, Jeju Furey – a local charity organization which raises funds for under-privileged families and orphans here on Jeju – has consistently held two large weekend tournaments (in May and October) and a couple of one-day ‘swing’ tournaments (July) each year.

This past Sunday, Oct. 18, the Jeju Islanders ball hockey team and members of Jeju Furey held a one-day BVB tournament.  It was another raving success for beach volleyball on Jeju.


How the Tournament Works

Islanders_BVB@Gwakji (12 of 97)

Teammates Yolandi (one of the tournament’s organizers) and Matt prepare to bump the ball over the net.

I’ve played in every tournament since I’ve been here (I think that’s 6), and each time has been loads of fun. I’ve never had the exact same teammates but teams generally get mixed up each time, based on the level of the players.

Read below to learn more about how tournaments usually work (also check the Facebook event page) for more information:

  • Games are played 6 vs 6 with teams being made up of three guys and three girls. For this past tourney, a 7th player was allowed to register for a team, but in other tournaments this wasn’t possible. Normally, if a player leaves or is absent for a game during the day, teams are allowed to find a registered player of a similar level to replace the missing player.
  • There are 4 divisions (A, B, C, D) of skill levels for teams to enter into. “A” level teams consist of the best and most competitive players; these are guys and girls who play regularly or who have played competitively in high school/college in the past/now. “B” level teams usually consist of competitive and athletic individuals who enjoy a good competition and can play decently, but who aren’t “volleyball players” per se. “C” level teams consist of slightly competitive people and many beginners who have more than likely signed up to just have a good time, play some sport and socialize. “D” level teams register as true beginners and/or as people who want to take the competition as just an excuse to socialize and get as drunk as possible. The “D” level games are entertaining to watch for the characters and antics, but not for the rallies!
  • Usually, there are champions for each bracket, but for this most recent tourney there was only an “A” and “B” champion crowned.
  • Teams usually play 3-5 morning games and then enter a double elimination bracket in the afternoon. The final games are usually played quite late in the evening when the sun is setting, but they are always very competitive and exciting to watch.
  • Not a rule, but there is often a lot of effort put into the naming of a team. For example, here are some of the better names from this past tournament: SET-sy and we know it, Jalapeño Pussy, That’s what she Set, Sparkle Cats: Masters of the Universe (G.T.L. Memorial Edition),  Rough Sets, The Ecumenical Council, etc.


Beach Volleyball on Jeju to Me

Beach volleyball on Jeju

Thank you Jessica Zafra for this image (finally a photo of me at BVB!) and many other great shots.

I love playing in the BVB tournaments. In my opinion, playing beach volleyball on Jeju at one of these tournaments is the best combination of sport and fun possible on the island.

I’m able to indulge in all of my passions and loves in the same day. Sport and competition – check. Sunny beach and great landscapes with (nearly always) nice weather – check. Setting up a tent and hanging with the family – check. Socializing, having a few beers with friends, and meeting new friends – check. Taking photos of a naturally photogenic event with people in bathing suits – check. I can’t stress how much fun these tournaments are; if you have a chance to play in one, do it, you won’t regret it.


Islanders_BVB@Gwakji (91 of 97)

The Gwakji Kings, my awesome team for the tournament. (L to R: Amy, Me, Sachin, Alison, Kat, Allan in the front, Big Jay photo-bombing in the back)


My Photos

Below are some of the photos I managed to take throughout the day. I was very busy playing or helping out with my family, so I didn’t take too many shots. In fact, our team ended up making it to the 3rd/4th place game which was played at the same time as the finals, so I barely had time to take any photos after the morning. Usually I try to get some great shots of the final “A” level game, but this time I wasn’t able to.

Click on any photo to open the gallery in Lightbox and read about the shot.



Jessica’s Photos

Islanders_BVB@Gwakji (87 of 97)

Jessica, thanks for taking the photos!

Islanders_BVB@Gwakji (88 of 97)

Jess and her team, “Rough Sets”

Although I wasn’t able to take too many photos, my very talented friend Jessica Zafra took many excellent shots after she asked to use my camera. I’m often apprehensive about giving my (expensive) camera to friends, but I felt like I could lend Jess my camera while I was busy playing. As you can see from the shots below, it was definitely a good idea.

In the future, I’d like to lend my camera to others who wish to take some shots if I’m too busy to shoot. Photography is a very subjective thing, both in the viewing and in the taking, so I welcome any chance to allow others to give their unique perspective a chance with a camera more capable than a cell phone (her shots were taken with a Canon 6D and wide-angle Canon 17-40 mm f/4 lens).

I did edit the photos to my liking, but lots of props to Jess for getting some great shots. Click on any photo to view the images in Lightbox.




Playing beach volleyball on Jeju is a magnificent experience. I believe that these BVB tournaments cater to all types of people, so if any of this looks in any way like fun to you, then you need to come to Jeju for the next tournament (sometime in May probably).


I don’t know what else to conclude. I love it. You would to. Join us next time.

Islanders_BVB@Gwakji (95 of 97)

One of two photos I quickly took of the finals game. I had to pack up my tent and head out with the family before it got dark. But just look at this shot. This is mid-October at sunset. These people have been playing BVB since 8 AM.

Islanders_BVB@Gwakji (97 of 97)

After a tight match, The Hummus Train (the team on the right) were the winners in the end. Congrats to you all!

*Bonus Photos


Here are a few of my favorite shots that I took at previous BVB tournaments:

Beach volleyball on Jeju

Jump photos are always popular at BVB tournaments.

Beach volleyball on Jeju

Got creative with this team photo of Wake and Cake.

BonusPhotos (1 of 12)

“The Bad Guys” team won this tournament, led by super athlete Will Jenkins (right).

BonusPhotos (4 of 12)

Jeju Furey organizer ‘Flying’ Dan Nabben showcasing his leaping ability for his “A” level tournament winning team “Super Monkey Frog Power”

Beach volleyball on Jeju

Troy (purple) and Dan (pink) are two of the leaders and organizers of Jeju Furey and the volleyball tourneys. Stand-up gents, very competitive men.

BonusPhotos (3 of 12)

Another jump photo. It’s all about how much sand you kick up (say Troy). End: Beach volleyball on Jeju is awesome.



  • LindsayOctober 23, 2015 - 9:02 am

    Thanks for sharing this post! I haven’t been to Jeju yet, but I can see why it’d be great to live there! The beach looks stunning and the expat community looks very chill!

    I really like that you shared your photos and then some that your friend took. It’s always nice to see things from multiple people’s perspectives. I just MAY have to try giving my camera to a friend to shoot a few things on my next outing.

    Take care and looking forward to your next post!

  • CharisseOctober 23, 2015 - 9:32 am

    I love competitive volleyball! I played in high school and welcome the chance to play not only for fun, but a healthy competition is good for the sport in everyone. Great photos!

  • Megan IndoeOctober 23, 2015 - 2:08 pm

    Wow! Great photos! That beach looks nice! Now another reason why we want go to to Jeju. Maybe we will just replicate your whole trip! haha

  • Williams KyeiOctober 24, 2015 - 4:35 pm

    Oh Yes. This is my faculty, Sports. I love Volleyball, I love Beach Volleyball. I watch the FIVB Games almost every day as they pop on my facebook timeline. Super amazing game. On the other hand, it is good to learn that, this event is organized for charity. Good job. Helping the less privileged is something that I am always inclined to.

  • LindaOctober 24, 2015 - 11:58 pm

    Wow that looks like a lot of fun! I envy you, you live in Jeju! I haven’t been there yet but your beautiful beach photos sure make me wanna go so bad! Hopefully next year!

  • RafiquaOctober 26, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Your photos are awesome! I particularly love the bonus photos! Pohang being a beach city has lots of beach volleyball fun games & tournaments…however I’m usually just a spectator, I’ve never actually played! Maybe I need to change this before the weather gets too cold.

  • EricOctober 26, 2015 - 11:16 am

    Thanks Lindsay! Yeah, I’m always surprised to see the contrast in styles between my shots and others when I lend out my camera. I recommend doing it (just make sure the person puts the camera strap around their neck!)

  • wendyOctober 26, 2015 - 6:52 pm

    The Jeju expat community looks very active. What an amazing time you’re all having there! Visited there for a few days and went to the touristy spots but I bet, nothing beats living there and getting those awesome views daily.

  • LauraOctober 26, 2015 - 9:35 pm

    This is certainly a unique experience to have had in Korea. It looks like all involved had a great time. Your pictures are great – it makes me feel like I was there! Thanks for sharing.

  • NadineOctober 26, 2015 - 10:58 pm

    I haven’t been to Jeju and sadly it doesn’t look like I’ll make it there but I got a tinge of jealousy looking through all the fantastic pictures. By the way, Jessica did a great job with the pictures 🙂
    Are there a lot of other competitive sports played in Jeju? I’ve never been that great at volleyball

  • Hedgers AbroadOctober 26, 2015 - 11:35 pm

    Nice photo collection. This looks like a really awesome event and I’m sure everyone had a pretty good time. Looks like a blast in an awesome place. Very jealous of the event experience and your living situation on Korea’s Hawaii!

  • Jason BorotraOctober 29, 2015 - 12:56 am

    Hey man nice pics!!
    I haven’t had the chance to go to Jeju yet but hope I get the chance sometime before leaving next year. Seeing these kinds of pics definitely makes me want to go more!

  • GinaNovember 2, 2015 - 3:54 pm

    I really love your photography and I had no idea about the rules of beach volleyball until you explained it! I would love to visit Jeju one day! I’m super excited for it! When does it start getting too cold to go swimming in Jeju?

  • EricNovember 2, 2015 - 9:43 pm

    Thanks Gina! Jeju is an amazing place to visit. The beach season ends at the end of August, but the best time to go swimming is in September. The water is really warm, the police-style lifeguards aren’t hounding people from swimming, and there aren’t too many tourists. I’d say by mid-late October it gets too cold for swimming.

  • EricNovember 2, 2015 - 9:47 pm

    That’s too bad you won’t be able to visit Jeju, it’s well worth a visit. There is a annual international Ultimate Frisbee tournament in April which is very competitive at the highest level, but lots of fun for a complete beginner as well!

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