The Mexico International Volleyball Tournament, known previously as "Estero Beach", was established in 1974 and is held near the last June weekend in Baja, Mexico a short drive south of San Diego. The Tournament is the largest beach volleyball tournament anywhere, typically hosting several thousand amateur and professional players from around the world.
The tournament has mens and womens divisions, and is a weighted blind draw sand doubles volleyball tournament ("CBVA" rules). The blind part means players don't pick their own partners. The Tournament Committee is responsible for that. So, you can't enter the tournament as a team, only as an individual. We regret that requests for teaming up friends, relatives, etc are almost always rejected, so please don't be disappointed if we don't OK your request. The only exceptions typically are father/son or mother/daughter, but even then, it's not a guarantee and only at the Committee's discretion. There are more than a few father/son teams that could walk away with the tournament! Mens and womens courts are intermingled and share the same area of sand.
The weighted part means that we try to somewhat equalize the level of the teams. Since there is only one "division" we try to even out the abilities of the teams, as best we can with 2,000 entries. For example, we would never knowingly put two ranked players together because they would win the tournament every time. Similarly, we would not knowingly put two "never played before" novices together either. And finally, we also try to ensure that the disparity between players' abilities is not too wide... a AAA would not knowingly be paired with a complete novice, although that sometimes happens (usually with prior knowledge and consent)!
On Friday and Saturday pool-play is scheduled; on Sunday the top two teams from every pool advance to a spot in the main event: a single-elimination tournament (uno-adios) with eight rounds to the winner's circle for men; six rounds for women. (seven if you're undefeated in pool play) play is always Sunday and you must finish first or second in your pool in order to play Sunday
Friday or Saturday Pool Play - the Details
Due to the popularity of the MIV Tournament, and in consideration of the number of courts available, in 1999 we introduced Friday pool play on a trial basis. Friday play turned out to be so popular that it's now a permanent fixture.
So pool-play is now available to you on either Friday or Saturday, but you must specify your choice of days on your application, although later changes are usually not a problem. Friday pool-play is less crowded on the sand (two courts per pool). And popular wisdom seems to say more mellow as well. You can seriously party Friday night without the early rise for Saturday play. But for more than 30 years, Saturday has been the traditional day for MexVolleyball pool play. If you don't place on Friday, you may enter as a "walk-on" on Saturday to try your luck again. Walk-on price (for everyone) is $60.
In any case, pools are composed of six teams. In pool play, you play all the teams in your pool - that's five games. This round-robin competition serves to rank all the teams in your pool against each other.
The top two teams from pool play advance to the playoffs on Sunday. The top team from each pool (only) gets the coveted official MIV winners hat, embroidered with the Mexico International Volleyball logo. Very cool to have this hat.
Sunday - Single Elimination Tournament
On Sunday a single elimination tournament is played with Saturday's qualifying teams. There are seven or eight mens games, six womens games, from start to finals, so only the fittest survive. The final games from both womens and mens play are always exciting and at a very high level of play.
After the final game, usually just before sunset, prizes are awarded to the winners.
So... What are the Prizes?
First, the historic MIV trophies - one for each male and each female winner... all with one-half of a worn out Spalding "18" attached to a nice walnut frame. Next, your name will go on our perpetual trophy, which we display at the Tournament every year.
What else? Free clothing and miscellaneous sports-related equipment from Quicksilver. And finally, the best prize of all: free lodging for the following year!
Along with the Volleyball, MexVolleyball is famous (notorious?) for the serious partying that everyone enjoys. The facilities provide a great party location on the beach, with beer and tacos at very reasonable prices. If you are staying in town, be sure you have a designated driver.
A Few More Words about Cheating
The MexVolleyball Committee holds zero tolerance for cheating. Cheating includes entering under someone else's name, subbing in without authorization, not admitting to a CVBA or other ranking, or otherwise lying about yourself or your abilities on your application. We watch these things carefully and if we catch you cheating just once, you may be out for a long while. We aim to put on a fun and honest tournament for players of all abilities, where any entrant can have a chance to win!
This year we had another case of a guy who tried to sneak on and play with his friend. His poolmates didn't like losing to this obviously practiced pair. And when we checked it out, they were right. So these guys lost their potential to qualify for Sunday.
The fact is that most players don't want their pool stacked by people who sub in good partners under the table to the detriment of the other random teams who are put there by the draw.
Finally, the whole idea about MexVolleyball since Mike Brown and his friends started it over 30 years ago is a weekend of fun and volleyball in Mexico where you can leave the rest of the world behind. Cheers!