Beaches, Cape Clear, Cape Clear Ferry, Cork, Ireland, Photography, Storms, West Cork

Stormy Imogen comes to visit

By @SimonCocking

The crossing was lively. The priest said it was his worst in 20 years of coming to the island. Down on the beach the next day the wind was really howling. Even parking the car, over 100 metres away, there was sea foam blowing over. Walking up the hill to reach the Dunanoir (golden castle) beach the wind was whipping up and over me. They talk about 100 mile an hour winds, maybe it wasn’t but walking and even breathing was difficult as you were pounded by it. After cautiously staggering onto the beach, and across, through the foam, my trousers, from toes to waist, were completely covered in foam. I should have taken a picture of that! Next time.

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Beaches, Canon PowerShot, Cape Clear, Cork, Digital Photography, Photography

South Harbour, choppy waters

By @SimonCocking using Canon Powershot D30

(pics first, words at end)

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It feels weird the first time you take a camera and stick it into the sea, under the water, and press the button. It feels wrong. But I read the manual (for the first time, to check) and it said up 30 or 40 metres under way, far more than 6 inches anyway.

Testing the camera more thoroughly third and fourth time out, discovered the zoom is pretty impressive, though with the boat bobbing around a little tricky to snap freely. But I was out in a lull between a couple of different gale force storms, so that might be the conditions rather than the camera.

It was messy, and I did well not to capsize, and grab some pics too. Not possible to get into the sea caves yet, still way too rough, but will try again after tomorrow’s storm eases.

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Beaches, Canon, Canon PowerShot, Digital Photography, Photography, West Cork

South Harbour, choppy waters

By @SimonCocking using Canon Powershot D30

(pics first, words at end)

 

IMG_0183

IMG_0389 IMG_0390

IMG_0422

IMG_0423IMG_0194

 

IMG_0160

IMG_0444IMG_0154

IMG_0464

It feels weird the first time you take a camera and stick it into the sea, under the water, and press the button. It feels wrong. But I read the manual (for the first time, to check) and it said up 30 or 40 metres under way, far more than 6 inches anyway.

Testing the camera more thoroughly third and fourth time out, discovered the zoom is pretty impressive, though with the boat bobbing around a little tricky to snap freely. But I was out in a lull between a couple of different gale force storms, so that might be the conditions rather than the camera.

It was messy, and I did well not to capsize, and grab some pics too. Not possible to get into the sea caves yet, still way too rough, but will try again after tomorrow’s storm eases.

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Aidan Kelly, Beach Ultimate, Beaches, BULA, Burrow Beach, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee, WCBU

WCBU : review of Open division with Ireland’s Aidan Kelly

By @SimonCocking

Well done on representing Ireland at WCBU.

Thanks Si! Much appreciated. The support back home was really immense and made us all feel even more proud to be representing our country.

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Open, were there many trials for it?

It was a little complicated, if I remember correctly. Boyler had a great policy where he was not only trying to construct a team, but attempting to publicise Beach Ultimate, so there were some people at the trial that weren’t actually fighting for a place there. Funnily enough the provisional team picked before the Mixed bid went through was also much different to the final squad!

How did you find training over the winter for it?

It was…interesting. We knew that it was never going to replicate the conditions that Dubai would greet us with, but we all had very determined and positive mindsets for each training weekend. It was almost always windy, and absolutely freezing, but we still had plenty of opportunities to fine tune our tactics and attempt to gel as much as possible. The weather/wind was so bad during one of our weekends that we had to retire to Trinity Sports Halls after about 40 minutes on the beach and train indoors. Not ideal!

When you hit the sands of Dubai, what was the contrast like?

Tough. Much, much tougher than I had imagined to be perfectly honest. The sand was so fine, and your feet would sink into it with ease. It was energy zapping and slowed down even our fastest players. It took us awhile to acclimatise but I think by day 2-3 we had come to terms with it.

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How did you find Dubai? Good bits? Any parts like a JG Ballard, post modernist scene?

All I can really do is echo Rory. It’s a bizarrely amazing city that’s hard to really make a fitting description of. So Americanised, but you still see the Middle Easten culture there in the background. It just didn’t seem like real life to me, so although I enjoyed my time there, I don’t see a return trip any time soon.

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WCBU the event – highlights for you? Top games played? 

It was by far the biggest tournament I’ve ever experienced. So well organised, and incredibly fun. You can really see the effort put in by Patrick and the volunteers. I think the feeling of walking around during the opening ceremony and getting to soak it all in will stay with me for years to come!

In terms of games, each game was really competitive and despite only getting one win, I’d like to think every team from 5th to 16th was on a similar level, which is incredibly rare to see and really exciting to play. I think our top game was certainly against the winners! We went out against the US with absolutely nothing to lose and the lack of fear gave us a huge boost. Not only to get the chance to play, but to go a break up against a team of pros was just crazy.

I will also say, it’s the most spirited tournament I’ve ever been apart of. The consistent level across all our games was really humbling and so refreshing to experience. Every team seemed to have a great mutual respect for one another and it made each game that bit better.

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Any wins that got away??

India, without a doubt. They beat us fairly handily on Day 3, so when the rematch came together we were gunning for them. For 80% of the match we were playing our best Ultimate and it looked like we had done enough to win. The Indians have really admirable spirit and drive though and somehow managed to grind through three really long points at the end of the game and pipped us on Universe. We were in absolute bits after that, which showed how much we wanted it.

Singapore, you came close in both games, what made the difference?

I think playing them first thing was the worst scenario we could have been met with. We were still pretty raw as a team, and it was our first ever competitive fixture as a full squad. They, however, were extremely well drilled and had that extra bit of pace on the beach. We gave them a better battle on the final day, but due to a number of reasons (fatigue, lack of focus, the Thursday night party) we lacked that spark needed to best them second time round.

You beat Kenya, was that a highlight? They seemed to start tournament well, but run out of steam – was superior fitness a factor?

I was sadly sidelined for the Kenya game due to almost collapsing from the sun prior to our warm up (Maybe that was the key to our win…). But, I was extremely proud of the team for being able grind through the game and take that much deserved win. From watching the Kenyans, I think they struggled as the wind grew as the tournament progressed. They had a lot of really fast and athletic players, but only a small number of them had the disc skills (or perhaps just the confidence) to play in the wind. That was certainly key in our game anyway, and it was a little funny that the horrible Sutton winds actually stood to us.

Anything that you would do differently as an individual and a team?

Hard to say. I have to admit I was slightly intimidated by the occasion so I played a very safe game. I would rather lose yards and dump than turnover trying to throw a score, of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing but in hindsight it would have been nice to have been able to shake the fear of turning over and throw some no-look scoobers…

As a team, I think we had some really effective tactics, but maybe a lack of plan B did hurt us somewhat. I would put that down to a lack of warm-up tournaments available to us, so I genuinely feel we did the best we could in the conditions we were met with.

Which Open teams really impressed you? 

The Philippines were disgustingly adept with the sand, for good reason. And, as I already said, India had a wonderful attitude and infectious positivity throughout the tournament.

What did GB and Philippines excel at in the games you played against?

As I said, the Philippines were at home on the beach. They would run you ragged and leave you chasing shadows. The most difficult game we played without a doubt. GB were mostly Clapham players so they had great team unity that shown through as they made their way to the final.
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Were the USA any good? Why, what can we steal from them to help Irish Ultimate?

In a word, Yes. They didn’t look like they were light years ahead of the other teams, or even ourselves if I’m being a bit bold. They did, however, have the knowledge, ability and determination to best any team they faced, which was how they are now gold medallists in our division.

What can we steal? Well I think we should all probably spend the next year in the gym if we want to emulate the yanks. They also had a fantastic level of spirit that I honestly didn’t expect. To win the division and the SotG award is huge and admirable. Boyler’s dream double!

Open teams at  World Beach have generally tended to have more inexperienced / debutant players for Ireland. Many of those players have then made great leaps and gone on to do great things for Ireland. 

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Question, what do you plan to bring back to the teams you play for in Ireland? 

I’ve already adopted/stolen a few tactics and systems that Boyler brought to the Duboys, as well as plenty of drills. Personally, I think that the weekends of attempting to play in the horrible weather has improved my ability to throw in the wind, which I’m pretty chuffed about. I think the experience garnered from the week at WCBU (or any Worlds tournament for that matter) is impossible to replicate so I’m pretty happy that I wasn’t the only DIT or Hammertime player over there. It’ll only improve our teams!

Anything else I should have asked you / you’d like to add?

Yes! I’d like to publicly thank Boyler for everything he put into the team. It almost looked like there wouldn’t be any interest in sending any sides to WCBU months ago, but Boyler put the team on his back and put in a huge amount of effort to get us over there. The entire campaign, from the trial to the flight home was a brilliant experience for all of us, and one we probably won’t ever shut up about. Sorry guys! #Duboys

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Africa, Beach Ultimate, Beaches, Declan Moore, Del Robins, India, Interview, Irish Ultimate, Philippines, Tadhg Healy, Uganda, Ultimate Frisbee, USA

March : Latest Ultimate articles including WCBU teams

By @SimonCocking

Chennai Heat - 7v7 Floodlit beach Ultimate tournament

It’s been a busy month since the last round up post.WCBU produced some great matches, many of which can still be viewed via Skyd and their youtube chanel

Surprisingly perhaps many of the articles on the newer ultimate nations, Philippines, Uganda, and India were viewed as much as the pieces on Team USA, as well as our own Irish teams.

Also some great in depth interviews with some longtime quality players;

Tadhg Healy, Irish Captain, Cork innovator

Declan Moore, Australian and (briefly) Irish Captain, [Irish Ultimate’s Roy Keane!]

Del Robins, GB Ultimate player and #1 UK disc golf player for 22 years straight

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Beach Ultimate, Beaches, BULA, India, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee, WCBU

WCBU preview : Team India

Interview by @SimonCocking with India Captain’s Manu, AP and Abhi

  • Manu Karan (Manu) – Captain – Team India (Open Masters)
  • Arun Pandiyan (AP) – Captain – Team India (Open)
  • Abhinav Vinayakh Shankarnarayanan (Abhi) – Captain – Team India (Mixed)

India (Open) at WCBU 2011 - Photo Five Ultimate

 Ultimate in India! Delighted to see you guys coming to WCBU. When did Indian teams first start managing to travel beyond India to play tournaments?

Abhi – Thank you! We are thrilled to have teams in 3 divisions (Open, Open Masters and Mixed) represent our up and coming community at WCBU 2015.

Manu – Indian teams first started travelling to international tournaments in 2010. Singapore Ultimate Open 2010 (SUO 2009) was the first time players from India put together a team to travel to an international tournament. We have had representation at every major South East Asian regional tournament since.

(Most of the) Mixed Team at a recent practice session

 

Most of the mixed team at a recent practice!

How long did it take to grow ultimate to the point where you were able to have national tournaments?

Manu – Chennai Ultimate Frisbee (CUF) began with less than 10 players in June 2007. Before the end of the year, we found that there were pockets of Ultimate in New Delhi (Northern india) and Ahmedabad (in the state of Gujarat, Western India) and had reached out to them. We had our first ever national tournament in early 2008 hosted by Ahmedabad Ultimate. We had teams from Chennai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Chennai Heat draws huge crowds over the weekend

Meanwhile, unknown to us, there were two other communities of players in India

–  Players in Bangalore, who were actively playing Goaltimate since 2004 and

– Players at a residential school in Kodaikanal. They had hosted mini tournaments before 2008 predominantly catering to school kids and teachers (expats)

We had more than one tournament a year starting in 2008

AP – Starting from 3 tournaments in 2009, Today, we have tournaments around the year. It’s a good selection of a variety of tournaments  – some on grass fields and dirt, fun hat tournaments, beach et al. We are close to the point where its hard to fit in tournaments to our calendar without an overlap!

 Has the sheer size of India been a challenge in terms of getting to play teams from other parts of the country?

Manu – It is a significant challenge,  despite India being extremely well connected by rail and air – By Rail, the farthest tournament from Chennai (which is New Delhi) takes over 2 days! And expensive flight tickets are  out of reach of a vast majority of our players.

To overcome this, we have tournaments spaced through the year (with no real off season). TDs give players visibility of up to 3-6 months to enable them to book their train tickets in advance. Almost all our tournaments are held over a long weekend so players won’t need to take additional days off.

Team India (Open Div) Spirit Award at WCBU 2011_Photo- Alexandr Tikhomirov

 How were the teams picked for WCBU 2015? Are all the players from Chennai?

AP – All the three teams have an excellent mix of players from across India (and Indians living abroad). The teams were picked from a group of players who could meet the required eligibility criteria that included being able to fund themselves for the entire campaign. This is a big jump from 2011 where we had a grand total of 10 players at WCBU!

What are your expectations for WCBU?

Abhi – India has had good representation at tournaments in South East Asia since 2010. Through Patrick’s (BULA) help and guidance we put together a team for WCBU 2011. We were thrilled just to be there and went in with no expectations. We finished with no wins but took home the Spirit Award!

We look forward to showing the world that we can play Spirited Ultimate and bring it to the parties. A notch or two under the wins column would be nice but that is not going to stop us from having fun!

AP – As Abhi mentioned, just the opportunity to play at a tournament of this scale is huge!. Since most of us don’t get to play international ultimate, we rarely get to see what it looks like (videos apart). Playing with the mindset to learn and adapt, will hopefully make us better players. So I’d be speaking for most of us when I say we’re not looking to predict outcomes, just aiming to play to a plan and learn.

It’s great that you have 3 teams appearing. Was any one squad harder to fill than another? 

AP – We have slowly raised the gender ratio at our national tournaments from a loose mixed 5:2 to 4:3. It has been a slow but rewarding process. We had little trouble finding women players!

Manu – Our Open Masters team was the hardest to fill. We are a very young community and many of our players started playing only a few years ago. We really don’t have anyone who has played for 15 years.

Chennai Heat - 7v7 Floodlit beach Ultimate tournament

Is there a distinctive Indian beach ultimate playing style?

AP – BULA certified Chennai Heat, India’s biggest Beach Ultimate Tournament is played 7v7 (mixed) on a full size field (100m X 37m)! So the style of play is quite unique and different from 5v5.

The Chennai Heat tournament itself is pretty unique – Not only do we play hour long, 7v7 games on the beach, playing hours are from 6.30 AM to 10 AM and from 4 PM to 9 PM (under flood lights!). It is just too hot to step onto the sand during the day! The tournament is watched by more than 6000 people over the course of the weekend (It’s on a public beach in India!)

 Which teams are you most looking forward to playing / watching?

Abhi – We look forward to meeting all of the teams and making more friends in the international community. We look forward to seeing how we match up against the ‘developing’ countries.

I love watching the Boracay Dragons (Philippines; Open Div) play. I have many friends on the team so I know the amount of hard work and effort that has gone into their preparation. We have a lot to learn not just from their flashy style of play and athletic performance but also their humility and approachability.

Will we see Indian Ultimate teams appearing at grass based Worlds tournaments anytime soon?

Abhi – India sent two teams to Asian-Oceanic Ultimate Club Championships 2013 (AOUCC 2013). We have a bid to send a mixed team to U23 Worlds at London next year under the leadership of head coach Daniel Rule from Melbourne, Australia.

I think it’s safe to say that we are on track to be the next Philippines (or Colombia, if you like). We are learning to build teams and coach better. Expect to see us more often!

 

 

 

 

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Beach Ultimate, Beaches, BULA, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee

WCBU preview : UAE Open

By @SimonCocking

Interview with Alex Niswander, UAE Open Team co-Captain @UAEUltimate.

How long has there been ultimate in UAE?

There has been ultimate in the UAE for quite a few years. I’m not sure of the specific count since I’ve only been living here for a short time. However, we have some people who have played here for at least six years, so there is a fair amount of continuity and longevity.

AdnaMuliawan-Captain(Open)

Adna Muliawan Co-captain

How many locals / expats play?

We have quite a few expats, as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are fairly international places. We have some locals playing and we are always looking to add more people to the scene here, especially those that are here full time.

How many teams, and is it just in one city or further afield?

In Abu Dhabi we have a weekly pickup game. In Dubai there are quite a few leagues and groups that play regularly since the player base is much larger. We regularly get together at tournaments to play against each other, and there occasionally is pickup (beach pickup!) that is attended by folks from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

TravisBrownlee(Open)

How would you describe your playing style? How much experience does the team have?

I play like a combination of a hockey player and a T-Rex. I tend to push off like I’m skating and I run around with my arms in a funny position in front of me. Our team has been playing together for the last six months, but subsets of us have been playing together for up to five years. Most of our experience is inside of the UAE, but we do have some folks who travel regularly to international tournaments. As a team we have not been to a non-UAE tournament – we are looking forward to playing against the best in the world in Dubai at WCBU!

Do you get to play against many other teams from neighbouring countries?

We do! We’ve gotten a chance to play at a tournament in Oman against our Omani friends, and on occasion we’ve played with some Saudi and Bahraini folks at hat tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It’s not a usual occurrence, but it happens every once in a while and helps keep our tournaments interesting.

WCBU, you must be pleased you don’t have to travel too far?

This is fantastic! It’s my first worlds, and it will never be more convenient. An hour’s drive from the beautiful Dubai beach is more than we can ask for.

DanNagel(Open)

What are you hoping to achieve at WCBU?

Our plan is to hold seed (and potentially break it, if we can manage it) :). We also want to have a great time and get to know some people on the other teams.

Who are you looking forward to playing, why?

We have a game against Kenya on the showcase field on the second day of the tournament. It hopefully will be televised, and my folks back in the states will have a chance to watch it. It’s also a game that we feel we can contend in, and we are excited to go out there and play as hard as we can!

Predictions for your divisions?

I want to see a USA v Philippines final. I think that would be a fitting game to end on – the Filipinos are so fast on the beach and the Americans have so many superstars. It’ll be nice to relax in the stands and watch some world-class athletes play some amazing ultimate.

Grass vs sand? Do you have any grass to play on?

I like both surfaces, but I prefer grass. The ability to jump a non-negligible height is something that I miss when playing on sand. However, I do like sand because laying out is so forgiving and when you are sandy you can just go wash yourself in the ocean. The bottom line is that I’ll play ultimate on anything, as long as it is relatively flat.

Will we see UAE teams at future grass worlds like London 2016?

Absolutely! I think our push for worlds this year (and the fact that we have submitted four teams – Grandmasters, Mixed, Open, and Women’s) will be something that will continue on, once people have realized how awesome it is. I anticipate that we’ll have enough interest to send at least one solid squad to London in 2016.

Anything else you’d like to add / I should have asked you?

Beach worlds is going to be awesome! Come by and chat with any of the UAE teams if you are in the vicinity – we know all the best things to do in the UAE and can help you get what you need.

See UAE Mixed team interview here.

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