Class of 2017Active: 1982 - 1993
114 Open Victories
Randy Stoklos was inducted into the CBVA Hall of Fame in 1999. Sinjin Smith in 2002. I addition, we honor them not for their individual careers, but for their unmatched accomplishments as a team.
And indeed, Smith and Stoklos really were unmatched.
No team in the history of our sport, not Dodd & Hovland, not Von Hagen & Lang, not Karch & Kent, and not even Misty and Kerri stood at the top of the podium as many times as Smith & Stoklos.
Their team record will likely not be broken in our lifetime.
Ironically, we have the great Karch Kiraly to thank for Smith & Stoklos’ success. In 1982, Karch’s decision to dedicate himself to the indoor national team left Smith looking around for new partner. Stoklos, who had won his first tournament in 1981 at Manhattan with Jim Menges, wasn’t Sinjin’s first choice. Instead, Sinjin started the ’82 season with Mark Eller and Stoklos with Andy Fishburn. But by the fifth event of the season the two decided to combine forces at the Santa Barbara Open.
They won that first tournament, beginning a partnership that would last well over a decade.
Smith and Stoklos played in a record 235 tournaments, winning 114 of them. They won at Manhattan. They won at Hermosa. And when the sport began to explode beyond Southern California, they won in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and San Antonio and all sorts of places in-between.
In many ways, Smith and Stoklos were the face of the golden era of the AVP. Stoklos with his headband, chiseled physique, and death stare and Sinjin with the upturned Side Out hat and matinee idol good looks. They brought the sport of beach volleyball into living rooms across the country.
Smith and Stoklos were also at the forefront of the sports’ international expansion. They won the first ever FIVB event in Rio in 1987 and as that tour grew, would go on to win 10 of 12 FIVB tournaments over their careers. They were instrumental in the international acceptance of the beach game.
Smith and Stoklos’ skills complemented perfectly. Sinjin’s exceptional ball control and precision hitting, Stoklos’ commanding presence at the net combined with perhaps the sweetest hands the sport has ever known. But their legendary competitiveness and will to win is what separated them from other teams. They competed as hard in their first round matches as they did in the finals. They weren’t on tour to make friends; they were there to win.
And no team in the history of the sport knew how to win better than Smith and Stoklos.
Smith and Stoklos. A true Hall of Fame team.
Written by: Chris Warshaw