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Sport Alternative: BossaBall

By Taylor Axelson

Imagine you’re on vacation in Brazil.

As you meander onto the beach and the sand touches your toes, you see a huge inflatable volleyball court look-alike with people bouncing and flipping all over it.

You have wandered right into a BossaBall game!

BossaBall originated in Spain, but is also popular places like Germany, Brazil, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. (photo via

BossaBall is a mixture of volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, and capoeira that originated in Spain between 2003 and 2005.  It is a simple enough game with an extravagant setup that is played outside on beaches.

The game is played on an inflatable “court” and it has the same dimensions as a volleyball court with a net cutting the court in two.  In the middle, there is a trampoline on each side of the net where the attacker gains momentum and prepares for a “spectacular smash.”

Spiking is what this game is all about, and the fancier the better.

There are 3 to 5 players on each of the two teams, and their goal is to ground the ball on the opponent’s field.  If the ball is grounded in the inflatable part of the court, the team receives one point.  If the ball is grounded on the trampoline, they get 3 points.  Similar to volleyball, there can only be 8 hits by a team before the ball must be hit to the other team.  But unlike volleyball, a player can double hit the ball, as long as it is by different body parts.  They can hit with their head, feet, chest, and hands, which is where the soccer comes in.

What makes this game really interesting to watch is the artistry that the players add to it.

There are back flips, double backs, and kick flips.  Because the court is inflatable and there just happens to be a trampoline in the middle, these players get serious air that produces sick tricks.

The tournaments for BossBall are treated as festivals for the local fans.  There is food, drinks, music, and bikinis.  Plus, the “Samba” referee is not only equipped with a whistle, but with a DJ set.

It is a must see sport. Hell, I started Googling around for trampolines for sale the same weekend after we came back to see if I can make any sort of imitation in my backyard. The technology doesn’t exist yet.