Thanks Josh and the UltiVerse for this interview. You picked the right people, asked great questions, and got great responses 🙂
Jumpi mentioned that there are many people that consider Beach Ultimate as just a fun sport and that there should be more emphasis to make it a ‘real’ sport. More spectacular for the spectators, shorter stall count, and perhaps have (paid?) managers that make decisions to take care of future of Ultimate.
One the other hand he recognizes that improving the sports aspect of Beach Ultimate is somewhat contrary to the fun/social part of Beach Ultimate. As Jumpi said, Beach Ultimate is the most wonderful sport in the world because of the sport *and* the social aspect. So how can we grow both?
Jumpi feels that the (Beach) Ultimate community is conservative and it should not be afraid of changes. He might be right in that with regards to making the sport more ‘professional’. As soon as there is real money involved one of the fundamentals of the game, the Spirit of the Game, is in danger. Money changes people. I believe Mike has some experience with prize money at Wildwood for the competitive bracket. He might have some insights there. But even if that single experience is positive we have to be extremely cautious bringing in professionalism into Beach Ultimate. Is it worth making the sport more professional and putting the Spirit in danger?
A shorter stall count has already been incorporated into 4-4 Beach Ultimate (which BULA also supports) and we see this grow in popularity. At the World Championships Beach Ultimate in Brazil the team from the Philippines came in 2nd. They were used to playing the 6 second stall and their game was spectacular! So some fundamental changes might be in the making.
Brian and Jumpi both mentioned creating a competitive series. This is something that keeps on surfacing within BULA and I have no doubt that it will happen. There are two problems: 1) Money to travel to a series a few times a year. To have a series you need commitment. Players will commit the sport means a lot to them. This here is where the next problem is: 2) there are not many Beach Ultimate leagues. To my knowledge there are only Beach Ultimate leagues in Spain, Portugal, Philippines, France, and the US.
Once there are more real Beach Ultimate communities can we have a real Beach Ultimate series where teams really want to be the best at the sport and will commit the money. Now teams at tournaments are mostly pickup teams, or the beach version of a team that normally only plays on grass. They play mostly Beach Ultimate for fun and the social aspect. BULA is actively trying to get more leagues worldwide and eventually I think we will create such a series. It just takes some more years 🙂
All in all I was very happy to hear that:

  • There is a push to promote Beach Ultimate to the youth
  • Beaches is a good alternative to grass because it is usually easier to get permits for
  • Beach Ultimate is used as an outreach tool for people from all walks of life.
  • Beach Ultimate also attracts an older crow and that there are signs that mum, dad, and kids can play in the same tournaments/team in a few years
  • Beach Ultimate continues to grow.

Lastly, I fully agree with Brian: players should clean up after themselves. Even better, players should leave the beach cleaner than before they played on it. We are nice people that like to play hard, like to have fun, and are responsible. We should all clean up.
Thanks again. Great interview
Patrick van der Valk
President – Beach Ultimate Lovers Association

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