WAILUA — After years of playing pickup games, a group of ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts are launching a league for the first time.
Kauai Ultimate will have its inaugural season starting April 8 at Lydgate Park and will play through May.
“Recently, we get about 20-25 players at pickup, which has been amazing. That’s what instigated (starting the league). Like, we kind of have enough players to start a league,” said Aaron Feinberg, Kauai Ultimate member, coach and organizer.
The club aims to have a co-ed league of four teams and hopes to have about 40 players.
“A full league requires seven-on-seven, which requires a lot of people. We want four teams for the league, and we’re going to do five-on-five. We want extra players on a team for subs and for no-shows. So, we need about 40 people to sign up,” Feinberg said. “If we get more, then great. Right now, with our community alone, we should be able to get 20-plus. So, we’re really trying at this point to really grow.”
Players of all levels are welcome. Prior experience is not necessary, Feinberg said.
“As far as the type of people, just anyone. We have such a range of abilities, you don’t have to be the best athlete on the field, as long as you’re having fun,” he said. “We have a great sideline community. When you’re not on the field playing, you’re talking story on the sideline and having a good time. Just looking for people to give it a shot.”
Feinberg added: “Because we’re going to be recruiting so many players, it’s beginners and up. We’re not looking to have a super competitive league. It’s more, we want to grow the community. We want to be teaching. So the first day, we’re doing a clinic.”
The league is free of admission. Wearing cleats is recommended though.
“There’s a lot of running. People do run barefoot sometimes, and actually, we haven’t had many issues with that. But yes, when people run around with cleats and no cleats, it’s a little stressful,” Feinberg said.
Feinberg said ultimate Frisbee games have been played since before he moved to Kauai more than a decade ago.
“It’s something that’s been going on in different capacities. So, when I first got here, there was a game in Koloa on Wednesday nights,” he said. “We would get anywhere between six to occasionally 15 people. The turnout was generally pretty light. That game went on for a number of years and then just kind of fell apart.
“A friend and I, we resurrected (the games) in Hanalei. That had some good traction. We actually had people drive up from Kalaheo, Southside and Eastside. This was about seven years ago. We had a bunch of people in the North Shore that were playing.”
The group then grew bigger after they discovered another group playing on the island as well.
“At the same time while we were playing up there, there was a contingent playing on the Southside as well. So we had this North Shore game and Southside game, both with moderate numbers,” Feinberg said. “Once a month, we would go to Lydgate, combine and play. Like first Sunday, we’d be like, ‘Hey, come on and play.’
“That ended being a lot of fun, obviously, because we had all these people together. We’d barbecue and do a lot of fun stuff. We decided, ‘Hey, let’s just centralize everything.’ So about five, six years ago, we’d centralized to Lydgate and went three days a week.”
For the last four years, the group has competed at the Hopu Ka Lewa ultimate Frisbee tournament on Oahu.
“When we brought the team four years ago, that was the first time Kauai ever sent a team. It was really, really cool. It’s a great way to get people that are kind of into the sport really into the sport. They community is just amazing,” Feinberg said.
“Even though you’re focusing on playing a more higher level of ultimate, it’s still an amazing amount of fun. People dress up. There’s a lot of silliness. The community is very inclusive. It’s very, anything goes kind of. There’s no judgments. Everyone is still competing and playing hard. But at the end of the game, you hug your opponent and drink a beer.”
For more information or to register for the league, go to www.kauaiultimate.com.