Stoklos has stewed over this inequity as his game has blossomed, at times trying so hard to be as glib as Smith that you can almost see the beads of perspiration standing out on his enormous brow. "Randy's the most dominating player on the tour," says Obradovich, "but Sinjin gets all the publicity because he can talk. That's why we need Sinjin on the tour. If we have to rely on Randy Stoklos to talk, we're screwed."
Smith plays in one of the few sports in which the combination of his hunky good looks and his obvious intelligence probably work against him with the players, and he knows he is far from being the most beloved pro on the tour. "It's basically their ignorance," he says of the players who whine about him hogging the limelight. "The more I do, the more publicity I get. the bigger the prize money, the better it is for them. But that doesn't stop them from hammering me every time they talk about me. They'd rather bitch than do something to help themselves."
A gigantic picture of Smith—bare-chested, with a beautiful woman wrapped around his shoulders—once appeared on billboards all over California, below the message MILK—IT DOES A BODY GOOD. Sinjin's younger brother. Andrew, is such a successful fashion model that a modeling assignment once forced him to abandon a tournament they were doing well in, thus leaving his partner to play one-on-two for fifth place. So many of the top players are also pursuing modeling careers, in fact, that the players who are merely normal-looking have begun to feel the beach Adonises have an unfair competitive advantage. "When our sport became popular, people saw the glamourous aspect of it and really tapped into that." Stevenson says. "Now you've got guys getting better, contracts [from sponsors] because they are models. That's the reality of the sport these days. I resent it when I get overlooked for things because I haven't taken that tack. I don't like to have to be tan. I hope there's room in the sport for the thinking man's volleyball player."
Well, there may be room for him. but probably not on the team of Scott Ayakatubby, 24, and Brent Frohoff, 25. "Those guys should win every match they play." says Obradovich, "but they haven't got a brain between them." On the very day that Obradovich made this observation at the Hawaii Open, the two played their way into the finals by winning several long, grueling games in heat that exceeded 90�. They might have won the whole tournament were it not for the fact that Ayakatubby suddenly passed out from heat exhaustion after upsetting favorites Smith and Stoklos in the semifinals. As a result. Hovland and Dodd won the tournament by default.
To their credit, the players have not all let the money change them. Hovland still brays throughout every match, sometimes at himself, but more often at Dodd. Hovland is also the game's foremost practitioner of the withering glare, which players characteristically direct at their teammates when they have missed digging a ball out of the sand on an crucial point. "Tim's got a great stinkeye," Stevenson says.
Stoklos figures he will make $100,000 on endorsement deals this year, and if he and Smith can regain their touch on the tour, his total income could go as high as $250,000. "Before we were playing for all this prize money," he says, "we were stars in our own little cults. People looked up to us. We were heroes in our own right. Even now, we're not thinking about prize money. It's still, Who's King of the Beach?"