Pro beach sports give Contraband Days new flair

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

The addition of a pair of professional beach sports gave the Contraband Days festival a new element this weekend.

On the beach, the men and women of the

Extreme Volleyball Pro Tour duked it out Saturday afternoon and evening

while the speed

demons and daredevils of the UWP Hydro-Turf National Watercross

Tour did the same in the water of Lake Charles Saturday and

Sunday as part of the Contraband Days Spike n’ Splash.

The volleyball field included Riley

Salmon, a member of the 2008 U.S. gold medal-winning indoor team. Salmon

didn’t end up

at the top of the podium in Lake Charles, with he and teammate Tim

May falling to Adam Robers and Andrei Belov 21-19, 16-21,

20-19 in the final.

The women’s tournament was won by UL-Lafayette grad Pri Lim and teammate Megan Wallin, who defeated Emily Haas and Kyra Lancon

21-16, 21-15.

The event is the first of 15 around the country this year for the EVP, and is tied for the second-highest purse on tour at $5,000.

The Spike n’ Splash was also the maiden

event of the season for the Watercross Tour, which offers a mixture of

personal watercraft

freestyle and racing events.

It’s the first time the tour has come to Lake Charles.

“This is probably one of our top five

venues. It really is,” said UWP Tour CEO A.J. Handler. “The community’s

been very welcoming.

You can’t ask for anything better. The weather was a little hinderance, but other than that it was great.”

Unusually windy conditions made things challenging for the freestylers, who had to take into account the conditions while

performing their flips and tricks.

“I wish it didn’t make a difference, but it definitely does,” freestyler Jeremy Parr said of the wind. “You get a lot of water

spray in your face and can’t see anything. It’s pretty shallow out there too, so it changes the way you approach what you

do so you land on top of the water instead of under the water.”

Fortunately Parr is pretty good at calculations. His full-time job is as an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“I keep telling my wife when it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it,” Parr said. “Luckily it’s been fun for a long time.”

Though not everyone in the field helps

send people into space, several parts of Planet Earth were represented.

Contestants

in the racing portion of the event included world champion James

Bushell of Cambridge, United Kingdom, Kuwait’s Adbullha Alfhadel

and Indonesia’s Areo Azwar.