Snow Volleyball pioneer Robert Kufa looks forward to 2017 European Tour
2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour
Luxembourg, December 15, 2016. Robert Kufa is a real pioneer when it comes to Snow Volleyball. The 29-year-old player from the Czech Republic made his debut on snow back in 2008 alongside his brother David. Some eight years later he is set to be one of the main forces to be reckoned with in the 2017 edition of the CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour featuring stops in as many as six countries.
“When I first played Snow Volleyball, it was mostly for fun,” Kufa recounts. “I was invited to an exhibition in Austria where I played together with my brother. The rules were essentially taken from Beach Volleyball and since I am a kind of showman, I was mostly trying to entertain the audience and to have fun rather than focussing on the result.”
Kufa returned a few times to Austria to play Snow Volleyball and in 2010 joined a competition where the ‘unofficial’ world champions of this young, dynamic sport were crowned. However, things changed quite a bit last year when he joined forces with Michal Matyja to finish first and fourth at the CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour stops in the Czech Republic and Italy.
“Everything became more professional and structured and as soon as you start seeing the CEV logo being displayed almost everywhere, you can sense that it is getting more serious,” Kufa says. “Last year I played at two stops and really enjoyed it, because of the professional setting and cool ambiance, but also because the visibility of the sport grew a lot bigger.”
An accomplished Beach Volleyball player, Kufa is not afraid of playing on snow or ice: “You just have to wear warm clothes and football shoes, that’s everything you need! The game in itself is really exciting, because compared to Beach Volleyball, it is a lot more difficult to predict what the opponent will be doing, so you have to be able to improvise and be clever at reading the moves of the players that are standing on the other side of the net.”
Kufa has a few things to say also about how to grow Snow Volleyball: “Right now we would need star players from Volleyball and Beach Volleyball to join the tour because Snow Volleyball is still too young a sport to produce its own stars. I would encourage all of my fellow Beach Volleyball players to come and try. There is nothing they should be afraid of, as the organisers have confirmed – and I can confirm it myself – that no player suffered any serious injury in many years since the first Snow Volleyball tournaments were held.”
How does it feel to play on snow? “Well, you have to adjust to the conditions. In Beach Volleyball there are players who prefer to play on deep sand. In Snow Volleyball there are those who like icy surfaces and others who prefer soft snow. Personally I do not like ice so much, but it’s all about being able to move fast even though you can’t really run. To me it is definitely a challenge and I like the feeling of taking on it,” Kufa says.
Some people hope Snow Volleyball will follow in the footsteps of Beach Volleyball and one day it will become an Olympic sport too: “That would be really cool! Unfortunately, this is going to be a fairly long process and I am not quite sure I will be able to make it and compete as a player if Snow Volleyball one day is added to the programme of the Winter Olympics. However, when it comes to entertaining people, providing fans with a good experience and the right share of fun, Snow Volleyball certainly can fulfil all of these requirements,” Kufa admits.
For the time being Robert will re-unite with his brother David to compete in the 2017 edition of the Snow Volleyball European Tour. They are set to compete at the opening stop in the Czech Republic and will possibly register for another one or two tournaments. So see you in Špindlerův Mlýn on February 25 for the first of six stops of a highly anticipated 2017 Tour!
For further information on the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour visit www.snowvolleyball.com and the Snow Volleyball section of the CEV website