They're as good as it gets on the beach.
They have the tournament victories and prize money to consider themselves among the greatest ever--and dare anyone to prove otherwise. And now they're leaving the sand for . . . grass?
For a day, that is.
Beach volleyball stars Mike Dodd, Adam Johnson, Karch Kiraly and Mike Whitmarsh lend their time for an inaugural grass-court clinic and exhibition match at 11:30 a.m. today at Dove Canyon Country Club.
"I'm very happy to be part of this, something that's just starting but can grow," said Dodd, ranked third on the Assn. of Volleyball Professionals tour. "It's always nice to be an additional part of what outdoor volleyball is all about. It's exciting and unique."
Dodd and Whitmarsh, co-ranked third, play Kiraly and Johnson, ranked first and fourth, respectively, at approximately 2 p.m. in the center court of 12 temporary stadium courts erected at the club.
Before the match, the pros will instruct approximately 300 children from county YMCA programs. Tickets range from $12 to $14 for adults and $8 to $10 for children. All proceeds will go to support YMCA programs.
"I'm looking forward to playing on grass, although I can't say I've done it that much or that any of us have," said Kiraly, of San Clemente. "None of us really know what to expect."
Kiraly and the other players recently worked out on the grass court area. The uncertainty, however, remains.
"We were here a few weeks ago, just kind of trying it out; see how the footing is," Kiraly said. "But we were kind of only going half speed. We'll see what happens [today]."
Just don't expect to see these guys diving all over, the way they do on the beach.
"That will be a lot different," Kiraly said. "We're used to being able to throw our bodies around with reckless abandon on the beach. You can't do that on grass."
Still, the players insist they won't disappoint.
"I wouldn't say it's going to be a lesser quality than the beach game," said Johnson, a former Laguna Beach High star. "I would just say it's going to be different. We'll probably have much quicker points."