Pro Footvolley Tour comes to West Beach

It’s volleyball with a twist.

And the twist is players can’t use their hands to pass, set, hit or dig.

Welcome to footvolley, a sport that combines the skills and strategy of soccer and doubles beach volleyball.

Santa Barbarans will get the opportunity to see the sport in action this weekend at West Beach when the Pro Footvolley Tour presents the Santa Barbara Open. Players in amateur and professional divisions will be playing matches on Saturday and Sunday. There also will be an exhibition match with women players.

Matches will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The men’s pro final is expected to start around 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

Several Santa Barbara teams will be competing in the amateur divisions.

Started on the beaches of Brazil, footvolley uses similar rules as beach volleyball: three contacts allowed on each side — but without use of the hands. That’s where the soccer skills come in. The serve is a place-kick off the sand, a pass is usually done with a chest trap and an attack is done with a header or some kind of kick.

The games use rallying scoring, with a couple of caveats.

There are two-point “Super Points” awarded on spectacular plays: a bicycle kick or matrix kick that can’t be dug by a defender or a block with the foot or leg above the net.

The top of the net is 6-foot-9 for men and 6-6 for a women’s match.

Santa Barbara is the final stop on a five-city Pro Footvolley Tour and the only stop on the West Coast.

The top professional teams on the tour include Nelson Santa Cruz-AJ Mendocca, Adrian Boente-Fernando Plentz and Karl Meneghisso-Lucas “Biceps” Roque, who won the last tour event on July 31 at Seaside Heights, N.J. Meneghisso is a member of the U.S. national team.