Vienna’s Donauinsel is ready and waiting to host this year’s beach volleyball tournament in a few days’ time. As are Martin and Moritz – the two pro athletes who make up the beach volleyball team ‘Ermacora und Pristauz’, and will be taking you behind the scenes at the Beach Majors Vienna 2018 event. We caught up with our beach volleyball ambassadors beforehand, and asked them about them and their motivations…
Why do you play Beach Volleyball?
Moritz: We play beach volleyball because it’s simply the coolest sport in the world. It’s fast-moving, fun, takes you to the most laid-back places in the world, and the atmosphere’s always amazing.
When did you discover your Passion for Beach Volleyball?
Martin: I came to it relatively late, actually. We’d both been playing in sports halls rather than on beaches, and decided to build a career indoors. At some point, though, our hearts said to us: “Switch over to sand!” Then I moved to Vienna four years ago, and it’s been our overriding passion ever since.
Where do you most enjoy playing Beach Volleyball?
Martin: We like playing in Austria most, because it’s our home crowd, and home crowds are so special. We only have the crowd cheering us on like that in Austria. Playing in front of so many people usually spurs us on.
As Pro beach Volleyball Players, you’ll undoubtedly spend a lot of time travelling to the next Tournament. How much time do you spend in the Air?
Moritz: We attend something like 20 tournaments a year. Factor in the outbound and return flights and that makes at least 40 or 50 flights, as well as another 2-3 trips a year privately. It all adds up.
Martin: There’s also the training camp to get to. We usually start with our preparations for the coming season in December. Most tournaments aren’t held in Austria, so we’re reliant on flying. It’s all part of the job.
What’s your connection with Austrian Airlines?
Moritz: First and foremost, of course, all those flights. We both like flying Austrian Airlines because it’s just one of the most comfortable and laid-back airlines in the world.
Martin: The food’s great as well! Apart from that, the flight attendants are always ready to help, and genuinely friendly. To sum up, we genuinely like flying with Austrian Airlines.
You’ve got lots planned for our Instagram channel during the Vienna Majors – give us an idea what we can look forward to!
Moritz: We want to bring beach volleyball closer to the Community. We’ll even be letting you in on what all those secret hand signals actually mean.
Martin: You’ll be getting some unique glimpses behind the scenes with us. As if that weren’t enough, we’ll be showing you what our daily routine looks like: from physiotherapy to food, and our preparations for each match.
What are your highlights from last year?
Moritz: Definitely the world championships in Vienna – that was massive, a really special event. We’ve never played in such a large stadium, and the mood was really unique. Our first world championships, and then in front of your home crowd – that’s something we’ll never forget!
Martin: We stood under the stadium before our last match – when we narrowly lost against the Brazilians, unfortunately – and just drank in the atmosphere. I get goose pimples just thinking about it!
Isn’t it difficult concentrating under those conditions?
Martin: At the start of the tournament, we did find it a bit difficult. After a while, though, the atmosphere and crowd drove us on even more. We celebrated with the people in the stands, and it actually raised our game to the next level.
What makes you a good team?
Moritz: Our relationship with one another. If you get on well with your team partner, then everything works more easily.
Martin: We’re good friends off the court as well as on it, and spend our free time together. At the end of the season last year, we flew to Ibiza together with some friends.
Moritz: You see one another continuously for about 30 weeks a year, then you still decide to go on holiday together!
Can you remember when you flew for the first time?
Martin: I was a few months old. I was in Sardinia with both my grandmothers and mum.
Moritz: It was Crete for me, I think, with my family. We played our first world championships together in 2015, in a small Chinese city of about 8 million people (both laugh). That memory will stay with us forever.
What are you expecting of 2018?
Moritz: We’re certainly looking forward to the Majors in Vienna very much. That’s going to be the highlight for us. We want to show what we can do there, of course, and give it absolutely everything we’ve got. And we’re definitely aiming to win a medal at the Austrian National Championships.
Where can we follow you?
Moritz & Martin: For the next two weeks, at the Austrian Airlines Instagram Account.
Moritz: Otherwise you can find us individually as @MartinErmacora, @moritzpristauz on Instagram, and as a team at @bvtep. We’re also very pleased to be tagged with #bvtep. The hashtag will even be on our shorts!
Martin: You can follow us on Facebook at Beachvolleyballteam Ermacora/Pristauz
Main header photo: @Thiago Diz