World Championships of Beach Ultimate

This year the world championships for beach ultimate were held in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, and I was lucky enough to find a team! It was a week in northeast Italy, and I was really excited to go. I’ve never played in a world championship before, and I was really jealous of all my friends who got to go to Prague, and this time, I wasn’t missing out on the fun.

While WCBU was a fun time, I do have a lot of complaints. I played the tournament with a team called Currier Island which is a made up island that was present at the first WCBU, and the supposed idea of the team is that people who can’t play with their home country, can play with Currier Island in a sort of international pick-up team. I think this is a great idea, it provides opportunity for people like Jeff and I, that live in a foreign country but aren’t yet qualified for that countries team. It would of allowed anyone from a country that couldn’t field a full team to come and play. My complaint though is that this was executed really poorly on the coed team. Maybe the open, or master’s teams were better, but I think our team only had seven international people, and the rest were people from New York. It wasn’t a international pick up team at all, it was New York with a few international pick ups, complete with prepacked drama and social groups. The people on the team were of course good people, and besides the drama I enjoyed playing with them, I just felt like I had signed up for something completely different then that.

After that, the next biggest issue was that the tournament was terribly ran. We all paid to stay in the tournament dorms, and this included food. Jeff and I didn’t sleep in our room a single night because it was too hot to sleep in. We would pull our blankets out to the beach and sleep there because it was much cooler. We asked the front desk for fans or AC, but they had already given out all the fans they had and couldn’t turn on the AC. Some rooms had a balcony, which people would sleep on, or a window that fully opened, but ours didn’t. Five Ultimate let us sleep in their tent some nights as well, which was great to get a couch to sleep on in return for keeping an eye on their stuff. The food provided by the dorms was actually not to bad, but they served pasta for lunch and dinner, every day. Sometimes they supplemented it with something delicious, but other times it would be with something definitely not delicious.


Other ways the tournament was ran poorly: the showcase fields was a one mile walk away, there was no transportation home from the party, the party venue was closed the first night, when it opened it was 8 euros for a beer (with our player discount).

The best night was when the party was at the beach. All the Currier Islanders started the drinking with some flip-cup. I was on the team of the double losers, but let it be known that the girls did their flip in one try. Then we moved to the main party where we took to the dance floor and yelled all night. We closed the party and ended the night with a dip in the ocean, which turned out to be my first ever skinny dip, so I can cross that off the to-do list. The other notable night was going out with the Australians, which was on the last night, and that was awesome. We learned a new drinking song, which they used to thank various people (captains, physicians, organizers, etc) and goes something like this:

Here’s to (insert name)

she’s true blue

She’s a pisspot 
thru and thru
She’s a bast*** 
so they say
She tried to go to heaven
but she went the other way
drink it down, down, down!!” 
The person then would finish their beer.
Playing in the tournament was okay. I didn’t play very well overall. The first two days I was still jet-lagged, the third day I played my best, and then the rest of the days was some combination of being hungover and being tired of the team drama. Any game between 11am and 4pm was torture because of the heat. The sand was burning, your body is sweating every molecule of liquid it can find, your muscles don’t move anymore and any effort on the sand is rewarded with a slow sloth like movement. Games in the evening were really really good though. We got to play a lot of fun teams, like Switzerland (most of them ZUFfers!), Australia, Ireland, Brazil (our first win), Germany, Netherlands, and others. We were supposed to play Uganda but they couldn’t come because the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities wouldn’t grant them the visa, saying that Ultimate was not a legitimate sport to warrent the visa.


WCBU let me see for the first time ever the use of a Spirit Time Out. This is the rule that one team can call a Spirit Time Out and both teams get into a huddle and talk about the spirit of the game and how it needs to improve, and why it is bad. The Italian coach called it during their semi against Philippines. Italy was one of the top seeds for the tournament, as were the Phllippines. The difference between Italy and Philippines though was that everyone loved the Philippines team, and thought the Italian team were jerk-offs. Both teams can have questionable spirit at times, but seeing the large 20-some person Italian team complain about the bad spirit of the 13-15 person Philippine team full of short people was ridiculous. The Philippines ended up winning the game 13-4, completely wrecking the Italians.

The finals for all the divisions were pretty uneventful, except the Grand Masters division. Apparently Team USA only had one turnover the entire game, which is kind of unbelievable. Mixed Masters is the only division the the USA did not win, and it was won by Great Britain and had a few Herd players on the team. For all of the finals, it seemed everyone cheered for whoever was playing against USA (except for Team USA from other divisions, and the Italian Open team didn’t cheer for Philippines). Maybe it is the psychology desire to cheer for the underdog, (true story, look it up).


Grand Masters     USA vs. Austria
Masters                USA vs. Austria
Mixed Masters    USA vs. Great Britain
Mixed                  USA vs. Germany
Open                    USA vs. Philippines
Womens               USA vs. Canada

On the walk to the showcase field I chatted with some Netherlanders about the overall feel of the tournament. One of them said they don’t know why they even bother going to Italian tournaments. We seemed to find a phrase that basically summed up how we felt for most of the week: “We aren’t surprised but we are still disappointed.”


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