Class of 2017Active: 1982 - 2000
6 Open Victories
Gail Castro, was a professional’s professional. Over an almost 20-year career, Castro played in an astounding 190 tournaments. She was a pioneer in the birth of women’s professional beach volleyball and a proud Olympian.
Born in the San Gabriel Valley, Castro starred in volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics at Crescenta Valley High School. She played indoor volleyball at Los Angeles Valley College and Cal State Long Beach, where she was all-conference performer.
After playing professionally in Italy for two years, she was introduced to the beach game by Darlene Bailey. Having grown up far from the beach, the sand game was entirely new to Castro, but she quickly found success competing in CBVA tournaments. In 1985, Castro won her first Open tournament playing with the legendary Kathy Gregory.
In 1987, Castro helped establish the WVPA and served on its first Board of Directors. Over the history of the tour, she played in every single WVPA tournament ever held, except the one tournament that conflicted with the Atlanta Olympics.
Castro competed with a wide variety of partners, but had the longest partnership and greatest success with Lori Forsythe. In 1991, Castro and Forsythe had a season for the ages, placing in the top four in ten tournaments, making seven finals and winning three of those. She also had a long and successful partnership with Elaine Roque.
One of the fittest players on tour, nobody out-trained Gail Castro. Taller than most defenders, she covered the far reaches of the court and once she got her hands on the ball, could convert for points with her strong offensive attack. She also had a lethal jump serve, leading the tour in aces several times.
Over the course of her career, Castro won seven tournaments and remained a top competitor well into her forties. Her career culminated at the Atlanta Olympics where along with partner Deb Richardson, she wore the red, white and blue when beach volleyball made its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
After retiring from the circuit, Castro remained involved in the sport, coaching indoor high school volleyball where she has won two State championships and passing on her love of beach volleyball to both club and high school players. Her passion for the game has never wavered, as she continues to play regularly in San Diego where she lives with her husband Michael. As she says, “volleyball has been a blessing to me. It never made me wealthy, but enriched me in all the ways that really matter.”
Written by: Chris Warshaw