Left to right: Claudia Erban, Ryan Vandenburg, Mike George, Aaron Nusbaum, Michael Campbell.
Meet the Team
Allow me to introduce you to Ryan Vandenburg and Aaron Nusbaum, two of Canada’s top beach volleyball players on the cusp of the most important competition of their careers: the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, for which they’ve recently qualified by winning the World Beach Volleyball Trials in Canada.
Unabashedly self-identifying as “men with cats” (also: cat shorts), and touting the celebratory Talladega Nights-inspired exclamation of “shake-and-bake”, this dynamic duo understands the formula for success. Succcess means finding the balance between serious dedication and having a little fun.
It’s for this reason, and a recommendation from a Trisura staff member and friend to the team, Claudia Erban, that Trisura is supporting the pair of promising athletes on their road to Vienna, and ultimately, the road to a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.
“People take things too seriously sometimes. Of course we take it seriously. We train seriously. We play seriously too, but beach volleyball is about the crowd. The atmosphere. We like to have fun and entertain because that’s the kind of guys we are off the court too,” said Vandenburg.
“We’re so focused that we can step back for a second and enjoy it, then get right back in,” added Nusbaum. “That kind of atmosphere is something we aspire to be a part of. It’s the kind of atmosphere that’s going to be at the World Championships, with a grandstand of 10,000 people looking on. We’re not interested in playing on the side-court.”
History of Success
Both Nusbaum and Vandenburg have a history of success. Nusbaum holds a silver medal from the U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships and an OUA Gold Medal. He’s also the newly minted owner of a premier league volleyball team in the rapidly growing league, ONE Volleyball. All of this without mention of running a financial consulting business on top of it all. Vandenburg is a 4 time OUA All-star, a US Open National Champion and Canadian Club National champion. The holder of numerous OUA records, Vandenburg was inducted into the Ryerson Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
The schedule crunch of pursuing athletic success isn’t remotely manageable without the mental strength and drive that this team lives day-in, day-out. This attitude embodies the Canadian spirit. Any person, team, or company do the same in order to survive and thrive in today’s competitive world. It’s also the kind of attitude that many young Canadians can learn from, especially when they have access to people and a community that embraces these values.
“It doesn’t matter how young you are or how old you are. If you have a goal, and you really want to accomplish it, there’s literally nothing that can stop you,” said Vandenburg. “Yeah, it’s going to take time. And yeah, people are going to tell you no consistently. I’ve been told no a million times over. Now I’m going to the world championships.”
Yep that’s a cat riding a rainbow unicorn. Coach Steve gets in on the shot.
The World Championships begin July 28th and run until August 6th. Keep up-to-date on all the action at the tournament website.
Follow team shake-and-bake on Instagram.
Find out more about the growing volleyball community in Canada. Visit ONE Volleyball.