For Volleyball NZ High Performance Director Jason Lochhead, this summer's action was a chance to put our teams to the test against players from around the world, and take their games to a new level.
"New Zealand is pretty awesome because we're so tucked away from the rest of the world, but it makes it hard in sport because you have to fly so far to get that competition. So to be able to get the Futures World Beach Pro Tour here and get more exposure for more players is pretty awesome," said Jason.
Training alongside and playing against this level of player is a chance to see the standards required to make it on the world stage.
"Especially the young players, having these athletes coming out and seeing what some of these internationals in action and being able to test themselves and how close they can come."
With a number of new pairings in the mix like Brad Fuller and Alani Nicklin, and Jack McManaway and Tom Reid as well as established teams like Beach Ferns Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann, Lochhead was pleased to see the teams among the medals.
"Jack And Tom had a great start, winning in Nelson and Auckland. It's always tough when you're a new partnership and figuring little bits out here and there, they're kind of going through that. I know they'll be pretty gutted that they lost that last one (at the Beach Tour Pro - Futures event), but that's what you have to go through to learn and get better?"
"So now it's like can they learn from it and come back stronger? It's always better to have that happen then get too many easy games and go out on the World Tour and have to figure it out, so pretty cool for them to do that," said Jason.
"Alice and Shaunna are looking really good, it's exciting they got into the Mexico Elite 16 tournament, with all that craziness going on, it's great they were able to stay focused and finish the job."
From here, Lochhead is taking Fuller and Nicklin, Tom Hartles and Tom Heijs and Tom Reid and Jack McManaway to Australia and Asia for a series of events, before meeting the women's teams in LA for training and heading to Europe for more international events.
All photos courtesy www.phototek.co.nz