Born: May 7, 1957 in Santa Monica, California (United States)
Country: United States
Category: Male Beach Player
Christopher St. John "Sinjin" Smith was a true California boy. He grew up tagging along behind the volleyball players on the beaches in Santa Monica and it was only natural for him to play volleyball. He started playing in tournaments at the age of 15. Since then, Smith has been involved in both aspects of volleyball, as an indoor player and as a beach player. He has been a tireless worker, promoting beach volleyball in many different organizations: the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), USA Volleyball (USAV) and the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).
Smith started his volleyball career by leading UCLA to two NCAA Championships in 1978 and 1979. He was named UCLA All American in 1978 and 1979. Smith was inducted into the UCLA Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 UCLA retired his college jersey, #22, in 1992.
He joined the U.S. National Men’s Team in 1979 and competed them for three years until 1982. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the USA Volleyball. He was named USA Volleyball All American in 1983 and 1984.
Smith’s first win on the beach was in 1977 at the age of 20 at the Rosecrans Open with Mike Normand. By 1979, he had teamed up with Karch Kiraly to win the original “King of the Beach” at the Manhattan Open. He went on to win the premier beach volleyball tournament four more times in 1980, 1982, 1986 and 1989. Smith and Kiraly became the premier team on the beach in the early 1980’s. When they went in different directions, Smith partnered with Randy Stoklos, with whom he played for 15 years until his retirement. He won the AVP International Championship in 1979, 1981, 1982, 1988 and 1990.
Smith’s strength in the game of volleyball is implacable mental toughness. He is excellent in defense and wears down opposing players with unrelenting side outs. He is considered a master of game fundamentals. He is well known for a one armed block, named by Chris Marlowe, the Kong Block. Sinjin Smith was the first player to reach 100 career open victories. He was thrice named AVP Best Defensive Player in 1990 – 1992.
Smith was one of the first players to recognize the marketing potential of pro beach volleyball. He participated in the formation of the Association of Volleyball Professionals, was member of the Board of Directors of the AVP until 1989 and served as President of the AVP.
Smith left the AVP in 1994 to pursue an international beach career in the FIVB. He played in the inaugural beach volleyball competition in the 1996 Olympic Games. He played in the 1994 and 1998 Goodwill Games. He began working with the FIVB as the Player’s Commissioner. He is currently active with the FIVB and serves as President of the FIVB World Beach Council. Awarded “Best Beach Team of the Decade” by the FIVB in 2001 “Greatest Team in Beach Volleyball History”
Smith retired in 2001 at the Manhattan Open to merely play golf, tennis, surf and train racehorses. He conducts volleyball clinics and sponsors volleyball camps. He was inducted in to the Catholic Youth Organization Hall of Fame in 1998 and he is on Board of Big Brothers of America. He wrote Kings of the Beach, which was turned into a Nintendo Video Game. He is co-owner of Sideout Sport, well named because it is his specialty, and owns Smither’s Active Wear with his brother Andrew.
The Volleyball Hall of Fames is pleased to induct Sinjin Smith as a Player, the King of the Beach.