Being a lifelong beach bum, I am always fascinated by beach culture. I think it’s amazing how different regions enjoy where the sand meets the sea. Hawaii, California and our own Sunshine State all have been identified as areas of distinction with regard to beach culture.
I’ve noticed the onset of new beach trends is stemming from Brazil. Cheeky Brazilian bikinis have taken over social media and surf shops. What was once considered cool, then taboo, is now cool again and truly embraces the body confidence of Brazilian woman with a “suns out buns out” mantra. Acai bowls are found in the corner juice bars of most coastal towns hailing from none other than from Rio de Janiero.
So what’s the next Brazilian beach trend? I believe I found it: Frescobol! It’s a beach sport that could be described as a fusion of ping pong and beach volleyball. It is very similar to paddle ball or Pro Kadima (the Israeli name), but the brasilieros use a larger paddle and ball. I appreciate this, as it allows a larger margin of error.
Frescobol is intended to be a non-competitive sport to enjoy on the praia (transl: beach) with one of more amigos. The goal being to simply to keep the ball in the air in a collaborative but not competitive effort. The sport started in the 1950s when an architect from Copacabana that regularly played beach tennis was frustrated with his rusting racket. He networked with a carpenter, and developed the wooden paddles that are used today.
I was stoked to come across Vero Frescobol via Instagram. Their paddles are manufactured in their workshops located in Florida or Brazil, not in China like many cheap paddleball sets in beach souvenir shops. The owner Vincent makes sure their paddles are made out of either marine grade woods, premium fiber glass or aerospace carbon fiber. I got the American birch wood set, and the brand embraces the wood’s natural tones in production, giving each wooden its set unique character.
Vero Frescobol started in 2001, when the owner Vincent discovered the sport in Costa do Cacau Beach in Bahia Brazil. Since then, people have enjoyed the Brazilian fun and continue to send Vincent pictures of their paddles to him over a decade later, some being passed down to their young ones.
To play, stand about 10 feet from your partner in the sand, and work together to keep the ball in the air. The first time playing with my boyfriend, I feel like it was a true test of our relationship as I sent him chasing after the bola (transl: ball) many times. I have a lot of power, but not a lot of finesse. As a team, we started counting the amount of times we hit the ball, and we made it our goal of getting 40 hits without me sending the ball to the sandspur coated dunes. After running around and dive bombing for to hit the ball, we finally hit 40 volleys and were sweaty but smiling.
It’s an amazing workout, and I fully intend on wearing my FitBit and sharing my beach burn in the future once the rain subsides.
So put down your fidget spinners and paddle happy, my friends! And as always, live global and stay local.
Win you very own Vero Frescobol set by clicking here! Ends June 8 at 11:59 EST.