VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A sight for sore eyes on Vancouver beaches this weekend.

Canada’s best beach volleyball players are in town to compete in the National Beach Volleyball Championships. There will be around 50 courts set up from Spanish Banks to Jericho West.

Mark Heese, an Olympic bronze medallist from the ’96 Games, is here as a coach and promoter. He says it’s too bad the sport has lost some of its prestige in Canada.

“Here in Canada we don’t have the professional tours and therefore the media, the sponsorship, the funding isn’t quite as strong as it could be or has been in the past,” Heese notes. “Back when we were medallists in ’96, we probably had one of the top pro domestic tours in the world.”

He hopes this tournament opens some eyes about the sport.

“Our athletes at the top of the chain are here, even one of the Olympians is playing here at the National Championships, [but] I would call them more amateurs than pros. A lot of the top countries in the world have professional tours [and] some of [those athletes] are household names in those countries.”

The event is free to the public and Heese is encouraging you to come out and watch.