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2017-01-09 13:20:00 CEST

More than Sports: “Playing Fort Lauderdale would be a dream come true”

Going back to his roots is very challenging for Adrian Carambula

When Adrian Carambula entered the FIVB World Tour in February 2015, he was an attraction, not only because of his skyball service. Born in Uruguay, raised in the USA and playing for Italy, the 28 year old has had a tumultuous life. Together with net patroller Alex Ranghieri, the 1,83 meter tall defensive player managed to qualify for the Olympics in Rio 2016 - just one and a half years after his first World Tour tournament. We met Adrian shortly before Christmas in Klagenfurt and talked about his plans for the future.

Adrian Carambula is causing a stir at the World Tour. Credit: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content PoolAdrian Carambula is causing a stir at the World Tour. Credit: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

Adrian, what brings you to Klagenfurt?

My girlfriend, Julia, she comes from Carinthia.

How did you two meet?

We started dating like two months after the European Championships 2015 in Klagenfurt. She worked there, (laughs), for Swatch Major Series. As my family lives in the USA and Spain, I am here with her and her parents. We are planning on travelling to Munich over Christmas to spend some time with my new coach Carlos Cartaya.

How did you come to work with Carlos?

Carlos (50) played with Marcos Macau (37), who was my first beach volleyball partner. I have a pretty good relationship with him, we worked together in Miami for five years. Carlos is a master of nutrition and training. After a month of working together we can already see where he is going to take us. Carlos was born in Venezuela, raised in Miami and is living in Europe for the past 20 years, at the moment in Munich.

Sounds a little bit like your story…

Indeed. The other funny thing is, during ECC last year, Marcos visited him (Carlos) in Munich and they decided to come to Klagenfurt. They actually stayed in our hotel room. That was funny, the four of us in one hotel room. Alex got to know him there and we talked a lot about nutrition and training, so Alex had a pretty good idea.

Beach volleyball by Carlos Cartaya

Beach volleyball by Carlos Cartaya

You also had a very good relationship to your coach Paulao, why the change?

Long story short: It was more Alex´s decision. He worked for at least five years with Paulao - myself just two. He felt, that it was time to move on and I understand that. But I was also a little bit sad to see Paulao go, because he is not just a very good coach, he had done a lot for me. In the beginning it was very difficult even with the Italian federation. They didn´t know me as a player. They just saw a short player, a little chunky – maybe they thought: This guy can´t even play volleyball. Actually, they tried blocking me from playing a little bit, but Paulao kept on fighting, he believed in me and then we got so many good results.

How is your preparation going?

I started November 10th and it´s going very well. I am working specifically on my physical condition and my nutrition. I have to say: Last year was more about surviving, because physically I could never reach where I wanted to be.


We played a lot of tournaments in 2015 and 2016 started with a tendinitis in my knee. I always had little injuries, nothing major, but they kept me out of the rhythm. Because of that, I was not that confident on the court. 

This fatty is on a mission 😠🍔🚫 #MrSkyball #beYOUtobeGOOD #beachvolleyball @federazioneitalianapallavolo @italiateam

See this Instagram photo by @adrian_carambula * 1,129 likes

What was your experience of the Olympics?

It was the best beginning I could have imagined for the Olympics with the opening match against Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst, but the worst ending possible with the loss against Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo. I felt like I was a Mummy on the court, I had no energy, nothing. That was crazy. This year, I am much more hungry and focused and we are doing stuff that will take us to the next level.

 What are your goals going forward?

We want to improve on what we have done the last two years. Personally, I want to reach a physical level that can take me to the next level as a player. We want top results in Vienna at the World Championships, that´s the tournament everyone wants to win.

In 2010 Adrian won three times the AVP Young Gun event in Fort Lauderdale. Source: www.bvbinfo.comIn 2010 Adrian won three times the AVP Young Gun event in Fort Lauderdale. Source:

Season starts in February in Fort Lauderdale. Can you tell us about your special connection to this location?

Well (sighs) it´s the city that I lived in last when I lived in the US, I played a bunch of tournaments there, I can´t even say the number. It would be a dream come true to come back and play over there. But honestly, I am trying not to think about it. When they had the World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, everyone was sending me videos and pictures, I really just disappeared from social media, because it hurt me – not to play where I grew up. That´s the beach where I basically started playing. This is the tournament or place, where I would like to go back and show what I am able to do on the court with Alex.

Since you left the USA 2014 you were unable to enter the country again, Why?

When I was 17, I spent like 14 months living in the US without a Visa. Before that, I was living under the same visa as my parents, and when that expired, I was 17 and already living on my own, I didn´t know. But when I left the country, they told me that I am not allowed to come back because I had stayed for more than a year without a Visa. It´s kind of silly, because I am not a criminal, but they kind of treat you that way. I have the best lawyers in the country working on that, it´s just a matter of time. I hope, they can resolve it before February.

Merry Christmas!!! Everyone knows how much i miss home so this is the sweetest present ever from Julia's grandpa. It's an awesome piece of art from our #305 (South Beach) beach box. It's where I grew up playing and where I met all my brothers and sisters ❤️ #MrSkyball #beYOUtobeGOOD #beachvolleyball #ONElove

See this Instagram photo by @adrian_carambula * 1,280 likes

You have never played an FIVB tournament in the US since, but more importantly: When last have you seen your parents?

My brother and father are in Spain, but my Mum is still in the USA. I haven´t seen her for two years now. I am looking to bring her to Europe to live with me, so hopefully that happens.

Your Italian grandmother is the reason you can play for Italy, is she proud?

Yes, I think so. She is 91 years old, the only family I still have in Uruguay, but she doesn´t understand much about beach volleyball. My whole family, even my mom, even if I play like five minutes away, she can never watch me play because she gets super nervous.

You have had a lot of bureaucratic issues over the last couple of years because of beach volleyball. Did you ever think: Why am I doing all of this?

So many wonderful things have happened because I took the risk and I gave all this a go. If I were a scared little boy and did not to take the risk, I would still be in the US, sleeping well at night, but I did what I had to do and it changed our lives, both mine and Alex’s. This made me a strong person. It made me grow.

When you lose the first match of the tournament, head hanging a bit low, but your partner leaves this on top of your the back he wrote 'Love you'... We ended up winning 😳🏆 Love is a lethal weapon my friends. True story🔑❤️ #MrSkyball #theNetPatroller #beYOUtobeGOOD #beachvolleyball #lifeisgood #ONElove

See this Instagram photo by @adrian_carambula * 539 likes

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