When was Lanikai Athletic Club (LAC) founded?
We’ve been in operation for five years, going back to when my daughter was 8. With my background as both a volleyball coach and a player for the Israeli National Team, I wanted to find a place where she could train and get started in the sport. I had the idea of starting a club and approached Ed Chun because we used to coach together. Coincidentally enough, Ed had already started the process to get a club going for high schoolers. We joined forces, with Ed coaching the high schoolers and I took the younger kids.
Why do you think you’ve been so successful when there are so many volleyball clubs in Hawaii?
Aside from promoting high quality, organized volleyball, which is kind of a given, we really prepare the kids to play at a competitive level—high school, college, and even professionally. I played all over Europe and Ed played professionally in Germany. We’ve both traveled quite a bit with volleyball, so we see it as a great opportunity to expand your horizons athletically and personally.
How has LAC grown?
The first year, we were pretty small with about 30 total kids in the club. The following year we grew to 90 kids because we did some marketing and got the word out in the community. We opened more age groups and hired more coaches. From there, we kept growing and two years ago we opened a branch of the club in St. George, Utah. Currently, there are 150 kids in our Hawaii club and 70 in Utah, ages 8-18—we are the biggest club on the windward side of Oahu. We operate as a non-profit 501c3 organization, part of the Amateur Athletic Union.
“ Our E-Z UP is very professional looking and attracts many people to our events. ”
Why did you get an E-Z UP® Instant Shelter® for your club?
The tent came into play three years ago when we started hosting beach volleyball events. We’re outside on the beach for at least four hours, if not all day. It’s Hawaii, so we needed sun shelter but we also needed a hub for the tournament.. A place where the players and parents could check scores and the schedule, collect prizes, pick up giveaways, get water, and just rest in the shade.
In Hawaii, everyone has a pop-up. But we wanted a high-quality shelter tent that wouldn’t collapse or break with a strong gust of wind. Also, we planned to use it multiple times a year at the world famous Waikiki Beach and wanted something with a presence because it’s such a high visibility area.
How has E-Z UP helped you establish that presence?
We custom branded one wall of the tent with our logo and an aerial shot of Lanikai. It’s a beautiful area in Hawaii and where our club gets its name. People driving or walking by can see the custom canopy and our athletes and tourists take pictures in front of it all the time. The imagery of the backdrop is beautiful and it attracts people. So we get that big presence and branding on one of the most popular beaches in the world.
How were you promoting LAC at the beach tourneys before you got the E-Z UP shelter?
We only used banners, which we would stick in the sand. That’s about it. Aside from the pop-up shelter, a huge help has been the E-Z UP fitted table cover. We used to duct tape banners to the front of a table, but now we just slip on the fitted cover and even on a windy day it stays on tight and looks crisp and professional.
Do you feel like the E-Z UP products help your club look professional?
Yes, absolutely. We have a presence with the tourists, but more importantly with the participants in our beach tourneys. Players come to our event and experience the whole atmosphere, which helps us promote our club and the standards we have.
We also use the pop-up canopy at indoor tournaments or meetings as a merchandise booth —it’s where people can buy our t-shirts, hats, stickers, etc. We’ll also pop it up at fundraisers or community events. It’s very professional looking and attracts people.
Why did you decide to enter the E-Z UP “Share Your Story” contest?
I came up with the idea because I knew we had a nice tent and we already had a photographer coming to our tournament. I asked him to feature the tent in some shots and we managed to show all the action in 15 seconds. I think it came out really well.
We were excited to win the content and use the $500 gift card for an end-of-season awards party.
“ We wanted a high-quality shelter tent that wouldn't collapse or break with a strong gust of wind, that's why we chose an E-Z UP shelter. ”
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