St. Barts has over 150 male and female officially licensed players who have the luxury of playing all year long, both on the beach or hardtop courts, making volleyball the number one sport on the island.
Volley ball began its meteoric rise in St. Barthélemy with the arrival of France-Helene Hughes-Clery over a decade ago. Her sons, David and Christophe Covini, had the making of junior champions and their mother dedicated herself to the training of several generations of young smashers, servers, and general all-around players. Now it seems as soon as little kids can get their hands around the ball, they're out on the beach getting the hang of the sport.
Today, St. Barts has a regional volley ball committee, directed by Claude Magras and Rosemond Greaux, which is part of the French Volleyball Federation through its affiliation with the Guadeloupe Volleyball League. Teams from St. Barths compete among themselves in an October through June beach volley ball championship, and in two hardtop competitions - The Christmas Tournament in December and The St. Barthélemy Cup in July/August.
These competitions are scheduled during holiday periods since many of St. Barth's young volleyball stars are away at school during the year. These tournaments have taken on a life of their own with as many as 500 spectators crowing into the stands. Teams bring their own cheering sections along with flags, banners, drummers, and magic charms... the team from Corossol has arrived brandishing branches from the tropical Corossol tree. The competition is fierce, and good sportsmanship is often put to the test.
St. Barth's volley ball teams have also taken part in official inter-island competitions in St. Kitts, St. Martin, Marie Galante and Guadeloupe. Some of the island's best players slip over to St. Martin to take part in beach volleyball competitions, with the team from the Carl Gustaf Hotel often winning first or second place honors. The volleyball committee also organizes beach tournaments for various village fairs and festivals - with local businesses offering prizes. They have also organized round-robin beach tournaments for groups visiting St. Barths from France and the United States. The location of volleyball courts depend on the current conditions of the beaches, but the flat, wide stretch of sand on Flamands is the best suited for competitions.