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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Beach Ultimate, BULA, Burrow Beach, Interview, Rory Kavanagh, Ultimate Frisbee

WCBU : review of the Mixed division with Ireland’s Rory Kavanagh

By @SimonCocking

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Well done, great week what were your highlights?

Thanks Simon, we’re pretty happy with how the week went in general. My highlights were third day of competition, we knew we had 3 potential knock out games against three strong teams to finish the group and we smashed it. The Portugal game is also probably a bit of a highlight, the result was tough to take but the fight back the team showed and the emotions during that game were something else. The experience of staying in a 90th floor penthouse walking distance from the fields with the team is something that will be hard to forget.

In 2013 you had a surprise loss in the 1st round, this time around Portugal not exactly a ‘shock’ as they are a good team, but anything you would have done differently in that game or any of the others?

The loss to Poland in 2013 was the best thing that happened to us at that tournament. We entered off the back of a strong preparatory season and were probably somewhat complacent going into that game. Poland went up 5-1 by being more intense than us. They hit us like a freight train and by the time we recovered it was too late to take the game back. The lesson we took was that we need to start every game at 100% and try to do what Poland had done to us.

The context in Dubai was very different, we were the higher seeds in the group, but our preparation and team pitch time coming into this tournament was very different from 2013. We had seen Portugal playing in Lisbon and knew they were on form and had a deeper squad than in 2013. The way we started the game was a bit of a shock, but a close final score was to be expected.

For this game I think we were a little bit preoccupied with our opponents. We knew they had a couple of superstar players and what they liked to do. We focused too much on our opponents and less on ourselves so that we ended up starting with some nerves and unforced errors instead on being intense and hitting the field with confidence.

Was it tougher playing so early in the season, with less prep time?

The timing certainly provided some challenges. Having major tournaments in late summer gives you a good 9 months to prepare, and all the regular top competitions are at your disposal to get playing time together. In 2013 our objective was to make the most cohesive team possible by playing 3 tournaments (25+ competitive games together before the actual championships).

This time around due to the short preparation time and high cost of the tournament we had to get the team on the same page before the championships without raising the cost or commitment to a level that excluded the top quality players.

We had no trial, a couple of training days in Sutton and the majority of the squad made it to a warm up tournament in Lisbon. The first time the entire squad of 17 played together was our friendly against Australia the day before the tournament, not ideal.

Did playing in Dubai make any difference or much the same as in Europe?

In terms of playing, organization the tournament was delivered with the same quality and professionalism as ECBU or any of the best European tournaments. The only differences were off the field, the context for the tournament was so different to Europe. None of us had been to Dubai before so we spent the first couple of days craning our necks at the buildings and taking in the mix of culture Dubai has to offer. The heat was a challenge with a couple of players suffering during the tournament but it wasn’t as bad as Worlds in Italy in 2011.

You had some turnover from 2013 team, about 1/3rd maybe? Did that affect things, or not?

We only had 6 returning players from the 2013 squad, only one of which was female. However the vision was very much a continuation from the 2013 experience. The basic plan of playing to the strength of our women on O and a mixed bag of strategies and lots of intensity on D. We lost some of Ireland’s most experienced women, many of whom have since retired but the talent that stepped up in their place was equally impressive.

The average age of the team dropped dramatically. Also the clubs where the players came from were a lot more diverse than previous times. The youth and broad range of backgrounds and skills changed some minor parts of these plans. For example we played a lot of Zone in 2013, what we learned early in the season was we were a lot stronger on man D so we focused on that. On O our girls were moving the disc up-field a lot more and throwing and scoring the goals between themselves as opposed the male thrower to female receiver trend of 2013.

7th is pretty awesome, especially in terms of getting out of the first pool. Do you think it could have turned out any different by avoiding the loss to Portugal?

We never set expectations or goals before the tournament. We wanted to go out and execute our game plan and see how far that would take us with the limited preparation time. USA, Portugal, Russia, Japan, Australia and Switzerland are big names and our high seeding put a target on our backs. We started the Portugal game nervous and we paid for that. Having said that there were no “Easy” quarter finals. The top 4 of the other pool was just as scary. Beating Portugal would have given us the Philippines instead of Canada. It’s hard to tell what that match up would have been like.

Personally I was very happy to make it to the quarters but frustrated that we didn’t have a stronger performance against the North Americans.

Germany World champs, did you predict that one? Glad a European team did it, any sense it could have been you guys, or were they a stronger unit than the 2013 version?

I don’t think any of us predicted that one at the start of the week. I’m delighted for them they played an unreal game in the final and thoroughly deserved the victory. I think we would consider Germany, as well as Portugal and Sweden to be our peers in Europe, and seeing one of your peers win world’s obviously makes you imagine yourself there. In 2013 we played the Germans at Paganello (and won quite convincingly) but the Dubai German Team was light years ahead of the team we played then.

With the team and preparation we had this time I don’t think it we could have been there instead of Germany. Ireland are still a long way off but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for a future Irish team with the right preparation to take down a North American team.

Canada seemed to improve across the week, across several divisions, finding their sand legs perhaps? Do you think a European team could have taken down the US too?

I’m not certain but I believe the Canadians were from across the whole country so I imagine preparation as a team before hand must have been near impossible. They certainly had talent so I’d imagine it was the team gelling with every game they played. They also managed to get their semi against the US on the very windy day which I think equalised things a little bit.

Having played both the US and Canada I have to say I was much more impressed with the US strength and depth compared to the Canadians. The US defence was completely smothering and their O was clinical whereas with the Canadians we felt more room to manoeuvre and a closer contest.

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What’s next for Irish beach? 

Worlds will be back in two years. They’re changing the rotation so that it doesn’t clash with other international events. Location is TBC. I think lots of us would be up for giving it another bash in the mixed division.

Domestically, this year on Sept 18/19th we’ll have the first All Ireland Beach Championships which is being pushed by Irish Beach Ultimate. The idea is to get an event in the calendar and see some domestic beach take off the same way indoors has grown in recent years. The ideal situation is that by 2017 a lot more players will be playing and interested in Beach ultimate so we can send more teams with more depth.

And you, do you now look at grass again?

Warming up for my first grass practice after Dubai felt very strange. I still play grass and still love it, but beach has taken over as my number one. I will even be putting my body through a week long grass tournament this summer at EUC in Copenhagen playing with Spain mixed.

Being Spain based, why do Spanish teams not make it to worlds as often as other nations? 

The short answer is money. Spain had a team in every division at Euros which was in Spain, however for Dubai there were no projects put together. There was some interest but the cost of the tournament and the timing made it hard to get sufficient numbers. Instead in 2015 there’s a lot more focus on EUC. Spain are sending teams to 5 Divisions in Copenhagen.

What is the depth / strength of Spanish ultimate relevant to Ireland, or even Portugal?

I think the Spanish and Irish communities are very different. I would say Irish Ultimate is much more organized and growing faster. The university and schools / juniors set up in Ireland means that every year there are more and more players being trained by better and better coaches. In Spain there are no university clubs, and while school programs have really taken off in the last year (especially in Catalunya) the results of this work wont be seen for a while. Player growth in Spain is competitively slow.

Ireland has also benefited from being so close to the UK. Being able to travel to Tour every year is a great and inexpensive opportunity for Irish Teams to learn that you just can’t replicate here.

In terms of the quality of players there are some great teams here. Corocotta from Santander, Quijotes from Madrid and Mubidisk from Lanzarote are the three that dominate domestically and have put in some quality performances at European / Worlds level. One big difference is that with most Spanish teams the average age of players is a lot older than in Ireland. Because there is less organic growth in the community most clubs best players are over 30 and have been playing since their club was founded. This is exemplified by Spain having an Open Masters and Women’s Masters team at EUC.

I’m less familiar with Portugal. I know they have strong clubs like Bufa who play the big Beach tournaments in Europe helped along by some strong foreign players but domestically as far as I’m aware their club scene is growing but wouldn’t have the depth that Ireland and Spain have. I would liken them to Ireland Open in 2007, where the community was of a size that allowed a couple of very strong players to build a team that played and trained together to the point that the team was stronger than the sum of it’s parts.

How was Dubai in general?

Dubai was really strange. We stayed in an Airbnb penthouse apartment on the 90th floor of the Princess Tower. (The tallest residential building in the world) It was 15 minutes away from the fields with spectacular views of the marina and Palm Jumeirah. The jacuzzis on the 5th floor were put to use nightly. It’s a really strange mix of everything, cultures from all over the world, western consumerism and outlandishness expensive displays of wealth, because ‘why not?’ I don’t see myself going back there any time soon but I’m happy I got to experience it even for a little while.

Are you done with beach, or already looking at next WCBU, in 2017?

Definitely not done with beach. Word on the street is that the next worlds is in 2017. I’d very much like to be a part of that project in whatever way I can and I know Sam and some of the team are already into it. Here’s hoping it’s somewhere in Europe.

What else should I have asked you / would you like to add?

Our kit was sponsored by an Irish company, Nurse Jobs Ireland https://www.nursejobsireland.com/ so a big thank you to them.

I’d also like to thank the community for the support they showed us and the open team during the tournament. The messages of support are really touching and mean a lot.

See more from their blog here and their twitter @irlmixedbeach

 

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Beach Ultimate, BULA, Interview, Uganda, Ultimate Frisbee, WCBU

WCBU preview : Team Uganda

By @SimonCocking interview with Team Uganda

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How long has ultimate been going in Uganda? How many people play

Ultimate in Uganda has been going on over 17 years,  estimate about over 60 people play Ultimate in Kampala and another 60 for other clubs around the Country. The game mostly grew in Kampala City, there are two clubs, that’s is to say the Kampala Ultimate Frisbee Club and Makindye Ultimate Frisbee Club however Ultimate is also played in other districts such as Gulu, Masaka, Mbarara(Ishaka) and Fortportal.

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How has it been training over the winter?

Uganda has 2 seasons rainy season and sunny season, we don’t have winter! We train rain or shine 🙂

Because Uganda is a land locked Country, beach spaces/fields are not very big and it’s about 40 km from Capital city so we have been driving every Sunday morning to train on Sunday so that we can get used to sand condition. And we have been very lucky because January and February have been hot (Sunny) months just to give us feel how it might be in Dubai.

How geographically spread out is your team, and how has this affected training?

The team isn’t that much geographically spread out, most people live in Kampala, we only had Beach practice training on Sundays where majority of the team were able, so it has not affected the team very much.

Have you played any warm up tournaments? It must be tough being relatively distant from other teams?

Yes.

We haven’t played any warm up tournaments in preparation for Worlds. However on the Team Uganda, we have been having several scrimmages against players who are not coming to Worlds.

Plus Kampala Ultimate Frisbee club has regular Weekly pickup games, we have been playing just to give us disc related work out.

Where does Beach Ultimate fit in relation to ultimate in general? Do you play mostly on sand or grass or both?

Uganda Ultimate Team is a grass team. We mostly play on grass but we attend the annual Regional Beach Tournament Frisbee East African Sand Tournament (FEAST). FEAST bringing a lot of good Ultimate Teams from East Africa, We have won FEAST 3 times. Because we are mostly a grass team, we organize Beach training once a month to keep us trained for sand conditions and prepare for FEAST.

In 2011 I heard you didn’t make it due to visa issues – it’s great you are able to attend this time – was it easier this time around, more time to prepare for it perhaps?

Yes, that is true we missed going to WCBU2011 because of denied visa and also because Ultimate is not an Olympic sport. The Visa consular asked us to get a letter from Italian Olympic committee talking about the championships in Italy. Only then he could have a look at our visa application. Our visa application was considered on merit which means some players would have been denied visa.

Yes, this time it has been very easy to get all the paper work in play and have processed group visa!

What are you hoping to achieve at WCBU

Mostly gain a lot of experience playing at such a high level of Ultimate, A lot of players on the Uganda team have played Ultimate for a while and are very passionate about the sport.This was really exciting news in general and it going to be great getting to compete at such a level.

Which teams are you looking forward to playing?

Philippines, US, Great Britain and Germany

Predictions for your category?

We to get to Semi finals/Finals 🙂

Where do you hope to finish?

If we are taking about being hopeful here obviously we hope to finish in Finals however we are taking it game by game, playing our best, playing with good spirit of the game, learning as much as we can, gain much needed experience playing at such a competitive level.

What would you like to add / I should have asked you?

We would like to thank the ultimate community around the world who have donated money and support Team Uganda to make it for WCBU2015 in Dubai. We a looking forward to sharing the beach with the world class players and having good time with everyone.

Thanks to Double Happiness who have sponsored our sweet Jerseys and Dubai Ultimate for organizing a tournament.

Team Uganda really happy and very honored to represent Africa.

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Beach Ultimate, BULA, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee, WCBU

WCBU preview week 2: UAE, Netherlands, USA, India & 2 bonus

By @SimonCocking

Chennai Heat draws huge crowds over the weekend

For those that missed any of this weeks preview pieces here they are;

UAE Mixed

Netherlands Mixed

UAE Open

USA Mixed

Team India

Bonus

The first 5 articles  Ireland Mixed, Patrick van der Valk, GB Masters, Ireland Open, Australian Mixed

Frisbee Golf Legend Del Robins

 

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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, BULA, Interview, Ultimate Frisbee, WCBU

WCBU preview : USA Mixed

Interview by @SimonCocking with Gregory Marliave and An-Chi Tsou from the USA Mixed team.

How has it been training over the winter, on wet? cold? sand for this one?

Northern California has given us a mix of cold and warm beach days. Definitely a fair number of overcast days, even one where it started raining on us just as we finished our workout. That being said, sometimes it is nice to have a cool day for a tough workout.

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How geographically spread out is your team, and how has this affected training?

Our team is pretty spread out. We have a core group of west coasters, a core group of east coasters, and a few floaters in the middle. It generally means we are working out in smaller groups. We only got together one time as a full team (minus 1) at Lei Out. The distance has an impact on overall team reps; but it doesn’t affect individual reps. We also are fortunate enough to have players who have experience together from prior teams, which is a big chemistry boost.

Where does Beach Ultimate fit in relation to the grass based version in the US?

Beach isn’t as formalized as grass, and doesn’t get the season long attention. 2015 will mark the first time we have had a national championship beach ultimate event. What we do have are widely attended single tournaments. Lei Out, for example, had 276 teams this year. We also have Wildwood and sand blast for those from around the country.

With the introduction of the formalized beach championships, this is an exciting time for beach in the US. It is a great opportunity for USAU to develop beach into a great ultimate program, drawing from their experience in grass and internationals organizations.

Is it tough / viable / practical to recruit players from the US pro league for example, or just from top teams in general?

USAU did a great job of broadcasting the beach championship opportunities. That led to a lot of extremely qualified applicants for only a handful of spots.

You guys did well in 2011, how does that affect preparation for 2015?

We only have 3 returners from 2011, so this will be a new experience for most of the team. We were fortunate enough to do well in 2011, but none of that carries over into 2015. It gives us an idea just how competitive the field is, and the challenges ahead of us, but in the end this is a new team that will need to rise to that challenge.

What are you hoping to achieve at WCBU?

We want to represent our country well and play to the best of our ability. We hope to have a high level of spirit for every game, that both our opponents and ourselves enjoy every game we play, and that we make some new friends.

Predictions for your category?

Our prediction is that the mixed division will be the most improved division compared to 2011. We expect a high level of play throughout the week, and a lot of down to the wire finishes.

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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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