Christopher St. John “Sinjin” Smith is perhaps the greatest beach volleyball player in the history of the sport. Smith, by large measure, is considered by many to be the "face" of modern beach volleyball with over 150 tournament wins worldwide spanning over 30 years.
Smith won his first Open tournament n 1977, before a smattering of spectators standing, sitting and kneeling around the main court at the foot of Marine Avenue at Manhattan Beach. He and partner "Stormin'" Mike Normand won respect, but not a penny of prize money at the time.
1980 Manhattan Beach Open Champions with Karch Kiraly, Smith went on to win 5 Manhattan Beach Open championship titles.
Sinjin Smith, at 22 years of age, would then go on to win the first World Championships of Beach Volleyball at Redondo Beach's "King Harbor" with partner Karch Kiraly, who was just 19 years of age.
1979 World Championships of Beach Volleyball. The Kings of the Beach.
Sixteen years later, in 1993, Smith won his 154th and final title in front of packed grandstands in Fort Myers, Florida and a national audience on cable television. It was stop three of a 25-city, multi-million dollar professional tour and Smith and partner Randy Stoklos split $15,000 for the win. Beach volleyball was surging toward its first Olympic competition in 1996 and an international tour had sprouted that would eventually globalize the sport.
He and longtime partner Randy Stoklos won more professional beach tournaments as a team (114) than anyone before or since. Along the way, there were exciting wins, including the 1991 Seal Beach double final and the 1992 Honolulu Open. Randy Stoklos became the first beach volleyball player ever to go over the $1 Million mark at the beautiful beach venue at the 1992 Honolulu Open.
Sinjin’s 154 career victories rank him amongst the winningest all-time individual players. As the "cover boys" of beach volleyball in their heyday, the legendary duo of Randy Stoklos and Sinjin Smith dominated the growing sport in the late '70's, '80's and 90's and were a classic pairing of fire and ice on the court.
Together, Smith and Stoklos won multiple World Championships, including victories in 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, at the beautiful Copacabana Beach, site of the 2016 Olympic games.
Smith Stoklos vs. Edinho-Tinoco, World Championships of Beach Volleyball, Copacabana Beach, Rio e Janeiro, Brazil 1989.
Smith and Stoklos were a big part of some of beach volleyball's greatest rallies ever and are the winningest team of all time. The pair won over 50% of the Opens they entered together and were in the top three 80% of the time. No team will ever surpass such greatness, and therefore, in King of the Beach lore, these two legends are the true Kings of the Beach.
Smith-Stoklos won their historic 100th Victory together in Sacramento, California against the team of Tim Hovland and Kent Steffes.
Sinjin has 7 World Championships, “King of the Beach” Invitationals, 5 Manhattan Beach Opens and has represented the United States in the Olympic games.
Legend Sinjin Smith then and now. 2015 Legends match at the 2015 Manhattan Beach Open and in 1988.
Sinjin played for the USA Indoor National Team for 4 years and was a collegiate All-American at UCLA where he won two National Championships and a finals MVP for the Bruins.
He was the second volleyball player ever inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame. In his youth, Sinjin was a fixture at legendary Sorrento Beach where he learned the game from pioneers like Ron Von Hagen and Gene Selznick. Sinjin is a longtime resident of Pacific Palisades where he lives with his wife, Patty, and the couple’s three children, Hagen, Stanton and Sinjin, Jr.
For all his records as a beach volleyball player, Sinjin is perhaps just as well known for his service to the game off the court.
Sinjin Smith coaching the Celebrity players at the World Series of Beach Volleyball, August 2016 ©King of the Beach® Foundation Photos
Author, commentator, entrepreneur, actor, coach, ambassador—even model—Sinjin has been a cultural force in the sport his entire life.
Smith interviews the Latvians after a recent victory on the FIVB World Tour
He’s made appearances in television series, commercials and motion pictures, including the hit TV show Magnum P.I.and the Tri-Star feature film Side Out. Sinjin has appeared on the pages of many magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Volleyball Magazine. Now retired from active competition, Sinjin is called upon regularly to provide commentary for media outlets such as NBC Sports, Turner Sports, Fox Sports Net and ESPN2.
Sinjin is a USVBA All-American and former member of the Board of Directors at USA Volleyball, as an athlete representative. He has served as President of the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) and as the President of the FIVB’s Beach Volleyball World Council. Currently, Sinjin is a member of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission presiding over the sport in over 219 member countries including the Olympic and International Games. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization as well as the United States Youth Volleyball League (USYVL.). Sinjin is also a committee member for the Los Angeles Olympic bid LA2024, which features Beach Volleyball on the opening pages of the bid, as does Paris 2024.
As Master Coach of SinjinVolleyball, Sinjin hopes to share the knowledge and experience he’s accumulated over a lifetime dedicated to the sport with the next generation of athletes, parents and coaches.
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