2016 Competition Working Group Meeting - Beach Update

Posted: December 12, 2016 04:10 PM

2017 Events, New Beach Playing Opportunities, Outreach Initiatives Discussed

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 12, 2016) – USA Ultimate’s Competition Working Group was in Denver Dec. 3-4, for its annual meeting to discuss various aspects of the organization’s programs, including outreach programs and the youth, college, club and beach divisions. The meeting included 10 USA Ultimate members, two members of the board of directors and 23 key volunteers and was held over two days. Following the meeting, we are releasing summaries of each smaller group’s discussions. The first two recaps, from the youth competition and college divisions, were released last week. Following this beach update will be club and outreach. 

The beach working group consists of USA Ultimate Events Manager Byron Hicks along with four regional beach directors: Kimberly Beach (East Coast), Becky LeDonne (Great Lakes), Sean McCall (Gulf Coast) and Keegan Uhl (West Coast).

2016 BeachWorking Group
Beach, Hicks, LeDonne, McCall, Uhl (kneeling)

The beach working group took advantage of their in-person meeting time by discussing both existing beach playing opportunities and upcoming new events, as well as brainstorming outreach efforts that will increase the number of people playing beach ultimate over the next several years.

With the introduction of a second USA Ultimate beach event in 2017, event size, formats and divisions for next year’s two major beach events were important topics of conversations for the working group. The third edition of the Beach Championships will be held May 20-21, 2017, in Virginia Beach, Va. In addition to the annual event, 2017 will include the first USA Ultimate beach event on the west coast – Beach Westerns, to be held April 22-23, in Santa Monica, Calif. Beach Westerns will not serve as qualifier for the Beach Championships in 2017, but will provide a USAU playing opportunity for teams on the west coast to help build interest in the beach division. 

The beach working group also discussed feedback from the U.S. Beach Open, an event run in partnership with LAOUT this November. The event’s experimental 4 v. 4 mixed gender format received positive feedback from strategic and gender balance perspectives, leading to a discussion of potentially using the format at other beach events. USAU plans for a second edition of the U.S. Beach Open next November, again in partnership with LAOUT, with the addition and promotion of a college division.

New outreach efforts were also discussed during the weekend, with three main focus areas:

  • Generating beach-specific content for the USAU website, including video content and resources on how and where to play.

  • "The beach is closer than you think" marketing initiative to encourage non-beach communities to get involved in beach ultimate by taking advantage of existing resources – sand volleyball courts for beach mini or larger facilities for regulation games or events.

  • Coordinating with youth and college programs to promote beach opportunities.

The new outreach initiatives led to the discussion of generating enough interest in the beach division throughout the country to introduce qualifiers for the Beach Championships, possibly as early as 2018. 

In addition, the beach working group discussed how the increase in outreach activities and west-coast playing opportunities factor into the strategy to increase awareness of and interest in beach ultimate over the next two years, leading up to the first ANOC World Beach Games, ultimate’s first official Olympic event, which will be held in San Diego in 2019. 

Stay tuned to usaultimate.org for more summaries from the 2016 Competition Working Group meeting. The club division recap is up next.

Previous 2016 Competition Working Group Updates:


2016 Competition Working Group

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