Archive » June 28, 2012
Flying Disc Championships in the air
By Alonzo Orozco, Contributing Writer
With the arrival of the warm weather and summer solstice recently checked off the calendar, Santa Barbarans once again are seeing small flying objects floating in the sky.
And there will be plenty more of those to witness at this year’s U.S. Open Overall Flying Disc Championships held at various venues in and around the city. The event which started June 25 will continue through Saturday, as disc throwers will display their highly developed skills in seven different categories of competition.
“These are the best throwers in the world. It’s an overall tournament, it’s guys who do a lot of things well,” says Jeff Shelton, who along with Thomas Cole are running as well as participating in the event. According to Shelton, the open has been going on for about 35 years. Its origin influenced by Fred Morrison’s invention of the Pluto Platter in 1951, which became Wham-O’s model for the first and subsequent line of Frisbees.
But times have changed and things evolve over the years. “Nobody’s using the Frisbee brand, the only thing I think is using a Frisbee brand is a Double Disc Court (DDC) disc,” explains Shelton of the event wherein two-player teams attempt to successfully land the plastic disc in the opposing teams court. This particular leg of the tournament ends Saturday at Chase Palm Park.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the ongoing tradition of disc competition in Santa Barbara.
“Santa Barbara has always been one of what I call the magical islands, it’s the perfect conjunction of people and place, and environment and attitude,” says Dan “Stork” Roddick, a longtime disc sport champion who started his career at Rutgers University during the early days of the Frisbee sport of Ultimate. Besides being the home to a huge intramurals Ultimate program at UCSB, Santa Barbara is where one of Morrison’s cousins still resides in the county.
In keeping with tradition, UCSB’s Storke Field has agreed to host the DDC, the Self Caught Flight (SCF), and Distance competitions which began yesterday, and is scheduled to continue through Saturday. In the meantime, Frisbee golf players displayed their skills at Coyote Point near Lake Casitas in Ojai, finishing off on Tuesday. The Discathon where entrants throw discs around obstacles have wrapped up.
One of the more popular rounds is the Free Style discipline, which takes place Friday and Saturday at Chase Palm Park. “Free Style is with partners where you do a 3 to 4-minute routine of all your tricks,” says Shelton.
The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) who sponsors the Open will also have a Save the Children Auction, auctioning off old discs with the proceeds going to the Save the Children organization, whose aim is to bring relief to starving children at home and various regions of the world. No prize money is awarded to any of the winners.
The World Masters and Juniors Overall Championships are also intertwined with the festivities in which teens, ladies, and players of all ages compete. The tournament comes to a close with an Awards presentation on Saturday evening – and as sure as the summer sun will rise again, flying disc enthusiasts will no doubt return to the south coast along with future generations to follow.