Beach wrestling sweeps into Hampton Roads

Beach wrestling sweeps into Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (EHOURL)- An exciting, fast-paced, hand-to-hand combat sport is storming into Hampton Roads, as beach wrestling enters the area as an up-and-coming athletic event.

Ed Duncan is the director of the USA Beach Wrestling Tour of America. He was in Virginia Beach on Thursday as the sport prepares to launch at the city’s field house.

“It’s a great, fast-paced version of the oldest sport in the world,” Duncan explained of beach wrestling. “It’s outside, it’s on the beach.”

Beach wrestling puts two competitors in a circle and the goal is for them is to remain on their feet. The first to three points earns the win. Taking down an opponent on his back is worth three points and an immediate victory, a take-down is worth one point and forcing an opponent out of bounds also earns wrestlers a single point. There are some similarities to the traditional version of wrestling, but many differences as well.

“You’re used to seeing guys down on the mat trying to pin somebody. There’s not any of that,” pointed out Duncan. “You’re going to see a lot of throwing, a lot of hand-fighting, a lot of take-downs, a lot of excitement, fast-paced, not a lot of grinding in the sand.”

Duncan is focused on making the sport big in Hampton Roads. Beach wrestling will take place every Wednesday at the Virginia Beach Field House beginning on June 21 with a state championship held in September. Plans are also in the works for events at Ocean View Fishing Pier and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

“This has been a Mecca of wrestling for a long time here at the field house and, of course, Granby and Great Bridge and all the storied wrestling traditions that are part of this community,” said Duncan. “To be back here and introducing it and to be part of the Tour of America, bringing that here in the fall, state championships coming here in the fall, it’s going to be super exciting.”

The excitement doesn’t stop there. The longtime beach wrestling expert noted that the sport will potentially be added to the Olympic line-up in 2028. That’s music to the ears of longtime area coach and promoter Frank Lipoli.

“I’m going to make a prediction,” said Lipoli. “From Hampton Roads, there will be guys who eventually make the Olympics in beach wrestling and why not be that place?”

Lipoli is no stranger to taking wrestling to new heights. He was a giant in bringing the Holiday Duals to the area and is active with Virginia Challenge Wrestling in giving young athletes a chance to compete at various tournaments. Now he sets his sites on this additional new venture.

“My strength is dual meets,” he pointed out. “I see dual meets emerging also from this to get more sand time.”

People of all ages and abilities can take part in beach wrestling, something area residents are bound to see more of throughout the year. Lipoli noted that the military would enjoy competing in the sport as well.

If you’d like to learn more about the sport, visit the .

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