Beach Pro Tour - News


After capping off a successful 2023 season with gold at the Beach Pro Tour Finals, the Americans are coming for more in 2024

Having consistent success in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour is no easy task and any team getting to the end of their first full season competing among the elite of the sport with six medals (two gold, two silver, two bronze) to show in 11 events should immediately find reason to celebrate.

Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, however, weren’t as quick to recognize their achievements as they were to produce them and it took them a few days to fully understand how strong of a season they had in 2023 – which they ultimately did, especially after winning the Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha in December.

  • Watch the Doha Elite16 live on VBTV.

The 26-year-old Americans had one of most impressive (if not the most impressive) rises in international beach volleyball since the start of the Beach Pro Tour, in 2022. With no entry points at the time, Kloth and Nuss had to patiently wait in the reserves list to find out if they were going to be able to compete in their first-ever event, the Coolangatta Futures, in April 2022, but they made the most of their opportunity and took off since then.

With nine medals won in 21 events since their victory in Australia less than two years ago, the two became a force to be reckoned with on the Beach Pro Tour and climbed to second place in the FIVB World Rankings. They also shone in the biggest event of the 2023, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, taking bronze in Mexico.

After a short, but fun offseason, Kloth and Nuss got back at it in January and are set to begin their 2024 season on Wednesday at the Elite16 event held in Doha, Qatar. It’s going to be a big season for them as it will very likely include their first Olympic appearance – the Americans are second in the FIVB Olympic Rankings and are almost guaranteed a spot among the top 17 teams that will qualify for Paris 2024.

A few days before the team’s season debut, Nuss took the time to chat with Volleyball World in an exclusive interview:

Volleyball World: In 2023, Taryn and you got to compete in a full Beach Pro Tour season for the first time in your careers. How satisfied are you with all that you accomplished last season?

Nuss: This is actually a funny question because after Taryn and I ended the season in Brazil at the João Pessoa Elite16 with a fourth-place finish, we both felt like the season was a failure. We realized after some reflection that we actually far exceeded or met all but one of the goals that we had set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. We now realize that it was a year to be completely proud of. With that being said, we both hold ourselves to very high standards, so we feel like this is just the beginning for us.

VW: The victory at the Beach Pro Tour Finals, in December, was particularly impressive as you came back from two defeats in pool play to take gold. What are your best memories from that event?

Nuss: Taryn and I most definitely experienced some highs and lows at this event, and I think I weirdly will always remember the lows because they are what caused the highs. The night before our last pool play match against the Netherlands, we had a very real and vulnerable conversation with each other and our ability to do this is my best memory from this event. And then in a close second was celebrating the victory by riding on a gondola through the Villaggio Mall with Taryn’s boyfriend and our trainer. It was probably the most unique celebration of our careers.

VW: The World Championships in Mexico were certainly another highlight, with another medal, this time a bronze. How did you feel about making it to the podium in your first appearance in the tournament?

Nuss: At first, the feeling was similar to the one we had in Brazil, in the moment we were not super thrilled. We went into that event with our minds set on gold and when we didn’t achieve that we were not happy but again, in reflecting, we are pumped about that bronze medal. Mexico certainly made our first World Championships memorable. The support we received from everyone in attendance and around the cities was unreal and I think that is something I will remember more than the bronze medal, which is really cool.

VW: Your team’s international record has been impressive, with nine medals in 21 events, including five golds. Did you expect that Taryn and you would be able to contend at such a high level immediately after coming out of college? Why did you think you managed to climb the rankings so quickly, starting with no points less than two years ago and now ranking second?

Nuss: I give all credit to our coach Drew Hamilton. He has been with us from the beginning and has trained us to play a specific style of volleyball that is built for high-caliber beach volleyball. I also think Taryn and I stating our commitment to each other from the beginning is something that has expedited our rise to the top. We could easily have started looking at others to play with when we went through our fifth-place stretch (four events, in 2022), but that wasn’t even a thought. Having and knowing you have complete trust and confidence from your partner is something to be talked about.

VW: How was the offseason? What did you do when you weren’t training or competing? When did you get back to practice and how are the preparations for the upcoming season going?

Nuss: It was a very short offseason. It’s crazy to think that the season went from January to December last year. We took three weeks to a month off and more so for the mental side of things. The majority of the offseason was spent doing anything and everything but thinking about volleyball. We both got to spend a ton of time with family and friends that we did not get throughout the year. I also got into the rage that is pickleball. I have hung up the paddle for the time being but it was fun to stay active in a fun and competitive environment. We got back to training on January 12 for a month-long training camp in California. Preparations went well and we feel like we put ourselves in a good position so now we can really focus on getting quality training in leading into the Olympics.

VW: The last two years have been pretty successful for the two of you. How do you plan on building from them to continue improving in 2024, which will be a big year with the Olympics?

Nuss: I think a big thing for us is just continuing to get experience in all these tournaments. Additionally, I think service pressure for both of us is something we can improve on so hopefully come July we will both have at least a 1% more lethal serve. Lastly, we will just continue to work on our side of the net and fine-tune some things here and there.

VW: Speaking about the Olympics, the qualification process is still ongoing, but you are in a solid position to qualify. What would it mean for you to compete at the Olympics in Paris in a few months? Do you have any memories from watching the Olympics growing up?

Nuss: Qualifying for the Olympics would be an absolute dream come true. Ever since I knew what the Olympics were (which would be at a very young age), I wanted to be an Olympian. My family is huge on sports, so the Olympics were blasted on every TV growing up when they were on. I have dreamt about standing on the podium while hearing the national anthem and seeing the US flag rise above the rest for many, many years. It brings me chills every time I think about it.

VW: For you, as an undersized player (1.67m), what does it mean to have such a high level of success in beach volleyball? Did you have to deal with any doubts, from you and others, about how far you could get in the sport because you aren’t so tall?

Nuss: The success I have had means so much to me because of the possibility it has given to others out there to keep pursuing their dreams. I always said I wanted to inspire and when thinking that may be a reality now just makes my heart smile. I didn’t really have many people to look up to in the beach volleyball world, so I wanted to change that. Did I have doubt in myself? Absolutely, I am constantly trying to fight the doubt in myself. There have been times when I have struggled and questioned if I could get to the top of the podium but that all changed this past year at the Uberlândia Elite16, Brazil. That tournament was a huge game-changer for my confidence. I proved to others and myself that reaching the top of the podium was possible without being taller. I think that at the beginning of my career people would look across the net and I would not really get much respect from them, but that provided me with a chip on my shoulder to prove them wrong by the end of the match. Even to this day, that may not be the case but I still like to think that just for some extra motivation.

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