| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

On June 11-12, Beach Tennis USA, along with Long Island Tennis Magazine kicked off the first of four Beach Tennis USA tournaments this summer that will be held in Long Beach, N.Y. Although the poor forecast kept some away from the beaches and inside for the weekend, Mother Nature was generous to the many who did make it out and kept the skies clear for two days of fun in the sand.

On Saturday, the pros played their tournament. In the Men’s Pro Division, Whitney "The Sandman" Kraft and Devon Wakeford from New York claimed the first title of the BTUSA 2010 season by defeating the duo of Mike Edison and Kristoffer Barnes from Maryland, 6-1, 6-1 in the finals. Kraft, the director of tennis at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and Wakeford used their height, along with their great touch at the net, to bring home the title. Long Island Tennis Magazine's own Team Top Gun of David Sickmen and Jared Rada, playing in only their second pro tournament, fell to Kraft and Wakeford in the semis, but won the consolation match to finish in third place.

Also on Saturday, hometown favorite and three-time national beach tennis champion, Nadia Johnston and her partner, Nicole Melch, won the Women’s Pro Division rolling through the competition and then defeating Jen Petersen and Janine Sadaka in the finals. Johnston has her eyes fixed on recapturing the Beach Tennis USA National Title, which currently belongs to Lisa and Laura Maloney from San Diego.

Sunday’s action featured amateur play, as many men and women came out to give Beach Tennis a try for the first time. Players were given demo paddles to use for the day and music played from the Long Beach boardwalk, while everyone who came out had a great time. The pros were also back at the beach on Sunday, this time playing in some Mixed-Doubles exhibitions.

Are there better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than at the beach, getting a nice workout, meeting good people and having a great time? Beach Tennis is very big internationally and its popularity is rising in the United States. Come out and join Long Island Tennis Magazine and Beach Tennis USA at future events and see what the buzz is all about.

Pro and amateur Beach Tennis action will return to Long Beach with two more events in the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge on the weekends of July 17-18 and Aug. 7-8 where the Pro Tournaments will be for ITF Ranking Points and World Ranking. Also on Labor Day Weekend (Sept.4-5), the 2010 Beach Tennis National Championships come to Long Beach as teams from all over the world will fly in to square off in a two-day tournament. In addition to the tournaments, recreational league play will begin in July in Long Beach, at the city’s permanent beach tennis courts, located on the beach at Grand Boulevard. League dates are as follows: Thursdays, July 1, 8, 15, 22 and the 29th, and Thursdays, Aug. 5, 12, 19 and the 26th. It will be $10 to play each week. Paddles will be available for all to try and purchase. Come down, its fun and easy!

For more information, visit www.beachtennisusa.net.


Beth Schilling and Laura Brofka take part in Beach Tennis action at Long Beach











David “The Iceman” Sickmen, one half of Team Top Gun, serves in the semifinal match








Beach Tennis USA President Jim Lorenzo addresses participants









Mike Edison and Kristoffer Barnes serve to Devin Wakeford and Whitney Kraft in the finals match










Teammates Nadia Johnston and Nicole Melch warm up prior to their finals match in the Women’s Division








Jared Rada, aka Maverick, of Team Top Gun










Bob Consodine and Marc Altheim gear up for some Beach Tennis action









The team of Alan Brofka and Gary Simeone take their first ever stab at Beach Tennis in Long Beach, N.Y.









The team of Jen Petersen and Janine Sadaka face off in the Women’s Finals match