Class of 2008Active: 1972 - 1979
12 Open Victories
At 6'4" with flowing blond hair, Tom was the prototype of the Southern California beach boy. He combined All-American good looks with tremendous athletic ability and an easy good-natured personality. During his relatively short beach career, Chamales was a favorite of fans and his fellow players alike.
Before taking up volleyball Chamales excelled in surfing and basketball while at Santa Monica High School. He was introduced to volleyball his senior year and thereafter became a fixture at Sorrento, going head-to-head with the best players of his era.
Chamales had an abundance of natural talent – he was extremely agile and explosive for his size, with a lightning quick arm-swing. He quickly became one of the top players at Sorrento. Chamales won his first Open with Greg Lee in 1972 at Santa Barbara. He then teamed with one the legends of the game, Ron Von Hagen and the two had great success, winning eight times over a short four-year period, including a victory at the Granddaddy of them all, Manhattan Beach in 1974.
Chamales balanced the beach with the hardwood, playing basketball and volleyball at Santa Monica City College before ending his college carrier at UCLA, playing for the legendary Al Scates. He also competed for three years in the Indoor Volleyball Association professional league.
On the sand, Chamales also won Opens with his good friend Jim Menges, as well as Fred Zuelich, and Marshall Savage and finish his career with 12 victories, an outstanding record given his short time competing on the beach and the more limited schedules in the early 1970s.
While he’ll certainly be remembered for his thunderous, crowd-pleasing spikes, his legacy also includes an infectious smile, a warm personality, and an easy carefree manner. He embodied the beach lifestyle while cementing his place as a true legend of the sport.
Written by: Chris Warshaw