Boardball: How a Hamilton-area entrepreneur helped create the newest sports sensation

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Published May 6, 2022 at 2:53 pm

Boardball: How a Hamilton-area entrepeneur helped create the newest sport sensation
A Hamilton-area entrepeneur has created a fun new sport that will make a perfect addition to your backyard barbecues and beach days — Boardball. (Photo courtesy of Boardball)

An entrepreneur with The Forge, a business incubator funded by McMaster University in Hamilton, has created a fun new sport that will make a perfect addition to your backyard barbecues and beach days.

Amanda Nguyen co-created Boardball as a more accessible version of volleyball.

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“Boardball is a new sport that aims to lower the barriers to playing volleyball by reducing the extensive setup required,” said Nguyen. “Think volleyball meets Roundnet – that’s usually the quickest way to explain it.”

Roundnet — commonly referred to as spikeball — is a team-based game; usually played two versus two where the players stand around a small trampoline-style net. One player serves a small, rubber ball into the net for the other team to return. Teams are allowed three touches before hitting the ball back into the net. Points are scored when one team fails to return the ball back.

Boardball plays similarly, except the ball more closely resembles a volleyball, a board is used instead of a springy net, and players use the classic bump-set-spike skillset.

Boardball essentially eliminates the challenges involved with organizing and setting up a full-scale volleyball match.

“Boardball helps to lower these barriers to playing volleyball by reducing the extensive setup required,” said Nguyen. “All a person needs is a board and a volleyball to enjoy this new game that can be played with just a couple of friends.”

Nguyen discovered Boardball during a trip to Mexico. Unable to find a volleyball net, she and her friends began hitting a volleyball off of a hard surface.

“I unknowingly created a prototype and brought it outside for the first time. A group of people playing roundnet walked over and asked, ‘Can we play too?’ I answered, ‘Sure.’ Then a video recorded that same day somehow ended up on The Score, which is a popular media outlet,” said Nguyen. “The video went viral, and I got a bunch of people inquiring about Boardball. That night we incorporated the business.”

Nguyen now has two Canadian Olympic athletes as part of Boardball’s founding team. Decorated volleyballers Melissa Humana-Paredes, who won the Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2019, and 2016 olympian Steven Marshall. The Boardball team has now expanded into 40 US states and 10 Canadian provinces.

“The support from The Forge has been awesome,” said Nguyen. “The team has been integral to have helped us launch-to-market and operate effectively.”

The Forge is based in Hamilton but also serves novel and scalable start-ups in Greater Toronto, and Niagara Regions.

To learn more about Boardball, visit boardballsport.com.

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