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Uniform Project: Beach Volleyballers
Sarah Blais captures sandy balls and Olympic hopefuls down at The Beaches

This week photographer Sarah Blais went down to The Beaches to find out what beach ‘volleyballers’ were rocking in the sweet heat. She discovered that Toronto is Canada’s destination for Beach Volleyball, and the only place in the world with 85 courts in one spot! With this many courts comes a large amount of leagues and all sorts of people flocking down to play during the summer. The Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA) runs programs at Ashbridges Bay with the motto “Be Active for Life.”


The last meal 19-year-old Olympic hopeful Charlotte Sider cooked was a couscous salad and pesto pasta dish with chicken on the side. Protein-filled dinners make sense when you’re training with the National Beach Volleyball Team for the summer. When this ripped volleyball player isn’t training, she works with younger children at camps on the beach. Charlotte has been spiking and diving since she was 14 and on the beach since 17. Her typical beachwear consists of Lululemon or Nike sports bras, bathing suit bottoms from various brands, tank tops, and shorts. Her favorite place to shop for athletic wear is Lululemon, but occasionally she’ll hit up Old Navy for some casual tanks and shorts. Some of the gear is given to her from the University of Toronto and Overkill. Stay tuned to watch Charlotte live out her dream of representing Canada at the Olympics!

Another woman looking forward to an Olympic experience is 35-year-old Angi Chen, who coaches the National and Provincial Beach Volleyball Teams. She’s been coaching since 2007, and has played for years. The biggest factor in determing her dress is the weather. A visor, polo shirt, loads of sunscreen, and longer shorts are typical for Angi’s uniform– plus lots of sponsored clothing from Overkill. One of her favorite places to play? Thailand. One of the hottest? Turkey, which reaches 45 or 46 degrees Celsius in the sun (yikes!).

Shaun McPhee, the 32-year-old manager of beach programs for OVA picked up beach volleyball when he was 23-years-old, and hasn’t stopped playing since. His uniform varies on any given day, depending if he’s on the beach or at the office. For beach days, he’s got on comfortable shoes, khakis or dress shorts, and golf shirts with the OVA logo. He generally sticks to darker colours because, as with any outdoor sport, you’re bound to get dirty. OVA is sponsored by Bollé  sunglasses, so most of the staff sport those shades. The last meal he cooked? Spaghetti with red peppers.


Sarah Blais shoots Toronto Standard’s Uniform Project. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahblais_. 

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