Tri Bourne, in His Own Words

Ad Staff member Tri Bourne gets real about his Sandcast Podcast and the life lessons he's learned along the way.


Photo courtesy of Catherine Aeppel, @CatherineAeppel



By Tri Bourne

If I could tell my daughter only one piece of advice for the rest of my life, I would tell her to GROW. Grow as a person. Be a different person tomorrow than you are today. A person who is OPEN-MINDED, WILLING TO LEARN new things, and gain NEW PERSPECTIVES from all walks of life.

I think to a lot of people, including my younger self, this concept seems backward. I used to try to hang on to the things that I had when I was younger, or the good old days, in hopes of continuing to gain joy from those same things that have always brought me joy. But I have come to learn that by doing this, we are closing ourselves off to new opportunities and experiences that will help us to live fully and contently in the present day. What worked for us in the past is not supposed to work for us today. Time never stops moving forward so neither should we.

Tri Bourne spiking a volleyball

Photo courtesy of Mpu Dinani, @AGamePhoto

When I was taking some time away from volleyball due to my health issues in 2017 & 2018 this mindset of GROWTH came in clutch.

Since I couldn’t play volleyball or work out all of a sudden, I had to find a new way to feel like I was still moving forward in life. I felt like I lacked an outlet for my energy and something to fill the creative void that volleyball and the dream to become an elite pro athlete had been filling for me since I was a kid.

Finding that new path wasn’t easy and in the beginning, it made me stressed and overwhelmed. But once I put my ego aside and accepted my circumstances in that particular moment, I was ready to move forward and accept the challenge.

Here I was, open to embrace whatever it was that came my way. And sure enough, something did!

I got invited to commentate over the live stream for one of the tournaments on the AVP tour. It was something I had never tried before and public speaking was definitely not a strength of mine, but I went for it anyway. My first attempt was a little bumpy, but by the end of it I had already started feeling so much more comfortable.

After that first event, I decided to sign up for an improv class in Hollywood. I had heard that improv helps with public speaking and feeling more confident when it comes to thinking on your feet, so I went for it. I really value what I learned and the confidence I gained by taking that class. The next opportunity that I got to commentate on the live stream, I used everything I learned from improv class. It felt so much better. I felt like was actually bringing a valuable perspective to the table.

Eventually, I signed up for another class in Hollywood. A hosting class, where I learned the basics of conducting an interview, hosting a talk show, and being a reporter. Then it was back to the live stream booth on the AVP tour to try out my new skills. And sure enough, it was getting way better and more comfortable each time.

Although this was not my initial intention, everything that I was learning about being on the hosting side of the microphone was secondarily helping me understand how to give a better interview as an athlete.

During the 2017 Manhattan Beach Open, the AVP brought me on as a guest commentator to call one of the matches. The other commentator was a guy named Travis Mewhirter. I had absolutely no idea who he was, and I was so glad to have had some practice, from hosting class to having “banter” with another person while on air. Travis made my life easy on that particular broadcast. He was calm and composed and he even asked me questions and led the conversation when I tended to get quiet or feel rushed. That experience stuck with me.

Tri Bourne and Optx ball

Photo courtesy of Robert Beck, @Shoot802

A few days later, Travis called me to do an interview. He was a writer for Volleyball Magazine, among a few other sports reporting entities. His interview felt more like a conversation than an interview and once I read the article that came out of it, I was a full believer that he was the best journalist this sport had. I never felt like the players' stories had been told in a totally authentic and engaging way. And I felt like Travis was one of the key ingredients for people to get some real perspective into our sport.

So I contacted Travis. We met for breakfast at the Ocean Diner in Hermosa Beach. And we brainstormed ideas on how we could collaborate using my insights of the game and newfound ability to speak into a microphone and his ability to conduct an interview that feels nothing like an interview but rather just a genuine conversation about a topic that you love.

The idea: A podcast about beach volleyball. Intimate conversations that are not the standard Q & A style interviews that we had been used to having with media. Rather, we’d try to emulate the same great conversations that I’m able to have with these athletes on tour, in the players' tent, over dinner, on a plane, etc.

I’ve been so lucky to get advice or hear stories from some of the great people that I’ve admired like John Hyden, Misty May, Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers. I wanted to let others in on all of this and share the value with our beach volleyball community.

With the SANDCAST Podcast, we wanted to provide the fans and enthusiasts of our sport access to the human beings behind the entertainment. We want the listeners to get to know the person that they’re cheering for. We want them to take sides and invest energy into their favorite team/players for reasons other than the fact that he or she jumps high, has a high ranking, or wears a cool looking bathing suit.

Two years later, we’ve managed to post a new episode every Wednesday without missing a beat. With hundreds of guests from all over the world. Players, coaches, media personnel, referees, medical staff, etc. All of our guests have been open, honest, and unique. They have been the heartbeat of the show and we are really grateful to have so many people support us with their time, energy, and openness.

So here I am in the year 2020, and I’m a co-creator/co-host of the most listened to beach volleyball podcast in the world. I co-wrote a book with Travis (Volleyball for Milkshakes), and am a proud member of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors. These are things that I would never have imagined for myself when I was younger. Not only did I not think that I would ever be capable of these kinds of things, but at the time I could never have imagined myself wanting to be a part of these kinds of things. I might have thought they didn’t feel like me, or that I wouldn’t enjoy them.

By being open-minded and willing to learn, I’ve allowed myself to grow into someone that can do more than I once believed I could do.

This gives me confidence that I can continue to accomplish more in the future beyond my imagination. And I don’t necessarily need to know what those accomplishments may be. I just need to be the best version of myself in this particular moment, be open to the fact that I don’t know everything, and trust in my ability to adapt to whatever circumstances are coming at me. No matter what happens, in my opinion, it’s best to face your challenges head-on. Never run away from the unknown, because that’s always the best opportunity to GROW.

Don’t be the same person today that you are tomorrow.