From May 19 to 20 Jeju Furey Beach Volleyball (BVB) 7 was held at Iho Beach, Jeju City, where over 250 people came out for a weekend of sport, community building, and charity.
Jeju Beach Volleyball is a bi-annual volleyball tournament run by the Jeju Furey Foundation to raise money for two Jeju families in need, selected by the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
The tournament consisted of 34 teams (one from the mainland) playing in four divisions divided by skill level. Each team was guaranteed a total of 10 games over the two days before they could potentially face elimination.
Organizer of the tournament and founder of the Jeju Furey Foundation, Daniel Nabben said that this BVB was “the biggest and most successful yet,” attracting more participants and raising more money for charity than ever.
Though the final figure has yet to come in, he expects the event to have raised roughly 5 million won, mainly due to sponsorship from companies like the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC), The Jeju World Conservation Convention Organizing Committee, Zapatas, and roughly 20 sponsors in total, donating money and supplies to fuel the event.
“It’s just been so much easier,” he said to organize and execute the event, but the support of the companies mirrors that of the tournament’s participants who weeks before the event volunteered their time to ensure it would go as planned.
“I’ve never seen, I’ve never been apart of a tournament where the participants have such a big role in organizing the tournament,” Nabben said, expressing, numerous times throughout the interview, his gratitude to everyone involved.
The reason for the active involvement in its preparation has to do with the importance this event plays in building a community on the island for both its Korean and non-Korean residents.
“This is one of the awesome reasons about living on the island,” said “Oh, Hi Mark” team member Tom Glowiak, adding that the event brings a “cohesiveness” to the island’s younger communities and with many of the teams having to find players to fill out their rosters, teams had to reach out to those they did not know very well, in both the Korean and non-Korean communities.
Mike Wighton from the only Seoul-based team “The Party Poopers” was surprised by how close and accepting everyone at the event was.
“I’m really surprised how friendly everyone is. And even though all these people seem to know each other somehow, still everyone has been super approachable and coming over to see how we’re doing and coming over to make sure we don’t feel like outsiders. It has been an awesome atmosphere,” he said.
By the end of the two-day tournament “Super Monkey Frog Power” beat out “9 Inch Spikes” to take home first place in Division A. “Ninja Turtles” took Division B, “Gary Busey’s Big Wednesday” won the Division C title, and Division D went to “Hodor.”
All first place teams won Jeju Furey shirts and boardshorts supplied by the JDC, bandanas, gift certificates for Zapatas, Boris’s Brewery, and other companies, baked goods, and a slew of other items.
The event also included a beach dance party on the night of May 19 with a performance by a traditional Korean drumming troupe and DJs.
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