The Gold Coast is famous for its 57 kilometres of coastline, sporting some of Australia’s most popular beaches, but the sand is not up to scratch for beach volleyball.
Beach Volleyball Australia’s Steve Hart said there is a safety concern for players.
“Athletes can fall over on their ankles. They cannot jump as well,” he said.
It is beautiful sand for lying on the beach, for walking in, but to play beach volleyball in – the composition is not thick enough to make sure we have a safe competition.”
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) said the directive came from the sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).
“The sand at Coolangatta and surrounds is so fine that it requires a mix or coarseness to ensure athletes have a safe playing surface consistent with the requirements of the federation,” a spokesman said.
“This is not unusual for international standard competition.
“For the Rio 2016 Olympic Games competition the sand at Copacabana Beach required a coarser mix.”
Mr Hart said while it was not unusual to import sand for elite competitions, a recent world tour event on Sydney’s Manly beach required no sand to be imported.
“The coarseness was exactly what was required,” he said.
“It was also a two-star event, which is an event that is a lower level in terms of specifications needed, than an international event like the Commonwealth Games.”
Sand is ‘world class’
Gold Coast’s chief lifeguard Warren Young defended the region’s beaches.
“In my travels overseas, I’ve never travelled anywhere where the sand squeaks. It’s so white and fine. It’s unique to the Gold Coast,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable and I love the place because of that.”
Mayor Tom Tate echoed this sentiment, maintaining the Gold Coast sand was excellent.
“It’s a testament to how fine our sand is, it’s world class,” he said. “Unfortunately for the athletes, they need something firmer beneath their feet, so they have to truck in a coarse sand from Brisbane.
“After the Games, I would say, Brisbane can have it back.”
A spokesman for GOLDOC said it was determined to ensure local sand is used.
“There are potential suppliers of the sand in the Brisbane, the Gold Coast and wider south-east Queensland region and negotiations for supply are continuing,” he said.
“Nothing has been signed yet with any of the suppliers, but the sand will be coming from our region.”