Three beach volleyball courts are going to be open soon in Half Moon Bay as part of a 90-day pilot project in the city.
The courts, located just south of Kelly Avenue, are the result of collaboration between city government and two Peninsula volleyball clubs and were granted a Coastal Development Permit exemption last month to allow for their installation.
Mike Inglis, who founded Half Moon Bay’s beach volleyball club in 2017 and coaches Half Moon Bay High School’s beach volleyball team, hopes the courts are here to stay and bolster a young but talented group of volleyball players on the Coastside.
Inglis and Lawrence Dudash of Redrock Volleyball Club in Redwood City approached the city Recreation Department to set up the semi-permanent courts. Throughout the pilot period, the courts will be open to the public while still being used on an intermittent basis, with priority going to the club teams on weekday afternoons and weekend mornings, according to a staff report.
Inglis noted that a 90-day trial makes sense because of the seasonal differences on the Coastside. In winter, large storms can send waves across an entire beach, putting the courts at risk. After the evaluation ends in November, Inglis and the city plan to remove the courts and install them again sometime in March, coinciding with the high school team’s season.
A report from the Planning Commission says the courts qualify for a CDP exemption because they require a minimal amount of construction and don’t hinder any coastal access. The city has ordered nets and supplies, but Inglis and Dudash are splitting the cost of the lumber posts. As of last week, Inglis anticipated the courts could be up in about a week after all the materials arrive. Inglis also plans to dig alongside city employees to install each 10-foot redwood post, all of which will be driven 4 feet into the sand. The outline of the court is made of 2-inch webbing and 5-inch metal stakes.
“It’s not up yet because we’re still getting materials,” Inglis said. “But I certainly hope within two weeks we’ll have three courts up.”
Inglis’ club and high school teams bring their nets and posts to each practice at the same location the courts will be posted. Inglis said in the long term, he hopes to get beach courts at the high school.
“It will be so awesome to have facilities here rather than whoever wants to do it has to put up their own nets, which is what we’ve been doing,” said Inglis, who founded the Cougars’ beach volleyball program in 2019 and coached the team to a Northern California title last May.
Throughout the pilot, the clubs and city staff will observe the impact of the courts, including parking, access, trash and vegetation degradation. Within 30 days of the project’s end date in November, the city will host a meeting with staff, club representatives, the Parks and Recreation Commission volleyball subcommittee, and California State Parks to evaluate the pilot and note any changes necessary if the courts are to remain under a new permit.
Inglis believes courts can provide a boost to the sport on the Coastside as they appeal to both regular players and more casual recreational players. With materials already on the beach, all people need to do is show up, leaving more time for playing and less work setting things up.
“With the nets up, I think it’s going to open up the sport to people who are visiting but also to locals who don’t want to invest in a net and the time to put it up every time they go down,” Inglis said. “They can just go down any play.”