Class of 2023Active: 2000 - 2021
43 Open Victories
Jake Gibb's ascent to beach volleyball royalty should serve as an inspiration to dreamers everywhere.
It helped that he was 6-7 with a prototypical beach volleyball body – long, sinewy and agile. It was his mental toughness and perseverance, however, that brought Gibb down from the mountains and onto Southern California beaches to become one of the all-time greats.
Gibb played the first year three years of his AVP career with fellow Utah native Mike Daniel, a local legend who was a 5-11 outside hitter from BYU. The Gibb-Daniels tandem played 14 events in the qualifiers from 2000 to 2002 and managed to make three main draws and earn $850 while being based in Utah.
No trivial accomplishment for players outside the South Bay beach bubble, but not enough bounty for a guy from Bountiful, Utah. That's when Gibb made the big decision to change his environment. He moved to Southern California in 2003 and put himself into the fray of the Hermosa Beach elite practice courts.
Initially snubbed, Jake was determined to make his mark in the sport. His potential as blocker was obvious early on even if his tan was a work in progress. He started getting games on the top courts and his ball control and setting evolved, his confidence swelled and his partnership options expanded beyond the red rock player pool.
Jake opened the 2003 season with Ty Loomis and worked his way out of the qualifiers permanently. His breakthrough tournament was in Hermosa Beach that year partnering with Adam Jewell, finishing third with notable victories over Eric Fonoimoana-Dax Holdren, Scott Ayakatubby-Brian Lewis and Stein Metzger-Kevin Wong.
The alliance with Jewell lasted through the entire 2004 season and produced Jake's first career victory in Austin, Texas, which featured a three-set victory over Todd Rogers and Sean Scott in the finals. Jake ended that year by finishing second in the individual Best of the Beach event in Honolulu. Jake "Spiker" Gibb, the new phenom from Utah, was watching his stock take a meteoric rise.
Prior to the 2005 season an Olympian came calling. Jake teamed with Stein Metzger for that season and revitalized AVP under Leonard Armato had more depth and quality since the heyday of the early 1990s. Jake and Stein ended the 2005 season as the top-ranked men's team and recorded four victories including the Manhattan Beach Open. The state of Utah was represented on the Manhattan Beach Pier and the limited route to AVP stardom had changed forever.
Spiker, however, had to deal with a wicked knuckle floater prior to the 2007 season when Metzger elected to break up the tour's No. 1 team and switch to Mike Lambert. To say Jake landed on his feet would be an understatement. Enter Sean Rosenthal to form the most memorable partnership of his career. Jake's blocking and calming influence was the perfect balance to the swashbuckling style of Sean and his legion of Rosie's Raiders. The pair went on to win 14 tournaments together and place fifth in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. It was a unique and strong bond between Jake and Rosie that had influence on the entire tour. Rosie's Raiders joked that they would go to church on Sundays if Jake requested it.
More than 10 years into his career in 2013, Jake's partner shuffle continued – this time pairing with Casey Patterson, another BYU product. That partnership produced 15 more wins including another Manhattan Open and a trip to the 2016 games in Rio.
At 41 that seemed like an ideal time for Jake to call it a Hall of Fame career, but he was still an elite player and a tremendous mentor. He connected with another free spirit and acrobatic defender in Taylor Crabb to start one final impressive run in 2017. That partnership produced another 10 wins and his fourth trip to the Olympic Games. That's double digit wins and an Olympic qualification with three different partners which is a feat no other American player can claim.
Jake's pro beach volleyball career did not start until he picked up the game at the age of 21 and ended after 21 seasons. Along the way Jake qualified for the Olympic Games four times, tallied 43 tour victories, collected nearly $2 million in prize money and a earned priceless reputation of being a true gentleman and an international ambassador for the game. He held that same reputation at home with his wife Jane and children Crosby and Cora Jane, who provided full support for the journey.