"Local Love" features TidalBall
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
“Keep it rolling!!” shouted two slightly sunburned, boardshort-clad, enthusiastic players, as a crowd of beach goers watched a bright green wooden ball make its way across the sand, slow down, and teeter right at the edge of a semi-circle trench. As luck would have it, a strong breeze then blew off the ocean, with just enough force to knock the ball in. Fans cheered in celebration - subsequently followed by the winners doing victory laps around the court while wearing bald eagle masks - as another match of “America’s Beach Game” came to a close.
What did I witness you ask?.....
Born on the white sand beaches of South Carolina, TidalBall is the fun-loving-lowcountry love child of three men (Tommy, Greg and Chad) and a beach-buried-keg-o-beer. I first met one of the co-founders, Tommy Reilly, when he and his lovely (now) wife, Jordanna, moved to Charleston. Tommy and my husband were fraternity brothers at the College of Charleston and easily picked up right where they left off. That summer, we spent countless weekends with friends at Sullivan’s and Folly Beach, soaking up the sun, and playing TidalBall.
Easily portable (weighing only 10 oz) and suitable for all ages, TidalBall has serious curb appeal. With elements and scoring similar to cornhole, you can play up to 21 points, or whatever, the only rule is to have fun, the rest are just suggestions.
“We've been playing the beach game for more than a decade, and now we're letting everyone in on the fun.”
Wagering is highly encouraged, but should you lose a match, you are likely to be filmed making good on your bet. Victory dancing is another category in itself and is always good for a laugh.
Each TidalBall set includes the essentials: 6 wooden balls (3 of each color), one shovel for digging out the court, and four koozies, to help keep you beverage cold and you hydrated while playing in the hot sun.
In an effort to support local small businesses (and friends!) I hopped over to the Reilly house on James Island to help fill an order for Coastal Provisions, a beach shop located on HHI, while learning the ins and outs of the business. (See Q&A at the end)
Can you spot Lewie? aka the HR department. He ensures quality working conditions, oversees all packaging shifts and sorts through customer feedback.His preferred method of payment is squeaky toys.
Now available on Amazon.com and retailers along the coast (including the West Coast!), the owners reflect on the challenges of owning a small business. The wooden balls, initially just a natural wood color, required hand stamping and 2 coats of polyurethane. Discouraged by extra work, and worried their neighbors would complain to the landlord about the smell, they knew they needed a better strategy. With no professional background in sourcing materials, they researched, formed new relationships and were determined to find the right products to make their game a success. Today the balls, available in custom colors, are made in the USA and arrive colored, stamped and ready to be packaged.
"I look back to the beginning days and think, 'we’ve come so far!'”
Waterproof, sand proof, and boredom proof, TidalBall is the perfect addition to your family vacation, beer Olympics, or beach day with friends. Science suggests that women are naturally better at TidalBall - to find out for yourself, grab (at least) 4 beers, 3 friends, 2 American flags and 1 TidalBall set and head to the beach for a friendly match of America's Beach Game! I'll see y'all out there.
K: I'm diggin the rad logo, who designed it?
TB: Tommy designed the logo. It was a picture he took of his friend during a game in Charleston, which he then turned into a silhouette.
K: Who was the first store to sell TidalBall?
TB: Ron Jon surf shop in FL! Since then, our product has retailed in about 20 shops down the coast from Charleston, SC to Clearwater, FL. We even made it out on the West Coast to Santa Cruz, CA.
K: I've got to ask...what is with the eagle mask?!
TB: TidalBall is “America’s beach game”and eagles are patriotic…but mostly we just like costumes.
K: What does the future look like for TidalBall?
TB: We are looking forward to expanding our products. We currently offer TidalBall sets, replacement balls and apparel, but we’d love to branch out and offer beach essentials as well. Our goal is to double our sales year over year, but most importantly we want to keep having fun.
K: What is your favorite TidalBall memory?
TB: For TidalBowl 2015 we took a bus of Charlestonians down to HHI to meet a bunch of “super fans!”. HHI digs them some America’s Beach Game. We have sold more sets to that sleepy beach town than any other city in America.