For a game that is described as a cross between whistle-bound netball and officious American football, the complete lack of any match official could be a potential minefield.
But Nayland College student Tobyn Packer, who has been chosen to captain the New Zealand Junior Ultimate Frisbee team at the world tournament in Dublin, said it wasn't an issue.
He said the players' respect for the game drove a spirit of sportsmanship that precluded the need for a referee.
Tobyn and Nelson College's Eli Jones, who will also represent his country after taking up the game only last year, leave for the Irish capital at the end of this week. The team will tour the Emerald Isle for eight days, before competing in the WFDF World Junior Ultimate Frisbee Championships, August 12-18 at Dublin City University.
Over 1000 competitors will be competing at the event which will host teams from more than 20 countries. The United States, Canada and Great Britain are expected to feature in the finals after they finished first, second and third respectively in the 2010 champs in Germany.
Urban legend says that ultimate frisbee was given its name because its inventors believed it was the ultimate sport, combining pace and skill. Whether that is the case or they just wanted to make it sound radical to set it apart from the slightly mundane beach frisbee, Tobyn doesn't know. But what he does know are all the intricate details of the game required to play it at the highest level. For those who are unfamiliar with how a game of UF unfolds, Tobyn explains that it is pretty simple. "The aim of the game is to complete a catch in the end zone like American football. The netball side of it is that you are not allowed to run with the disk at all, you have to establish a pivot foot and pass from there, making your way up field."
Seven players take the field for each team, the object is to advance the frisbee up the 100m pitch. A team scores by passing the disc to a player inside an end zone to record a point. Games last for 100 minutes or until one team scores 17 points.
Like many sports you can play a zone defence or play man-to-man, matching and marking someone of similar ability. It is a non-contact sport but you can create turnovers by intercepting the ball or knocking down an opponent's pass.
With a good number of rules and different strategies to play, it seems likely a referee would be needed, but that's not the case.
"The game is self-refereed so a big part of the game is about the spirit of the game. There are contested calls and it does get pretty heated at times but often the coaches and captains will just take it back to the last throw.
"Everyone who plays does love the game and they respect the rules. It's looked upon as a bad thing if you are going to make a silly call."
The skills required, among others are speed, an aerial ability and you need to be relatively fit as there is a lot of running involved.
Tobyn said the mixture of skills needed combined to make a game he can't get enough of. "It takes a lot of hand-eye co-ordination and you need to be able to read the disc if a curve throw is put in."
"I reckon it's the best game. I play three times a week and I just love playing it."
Tobyn, who is 16, can be considered an experienced player after getting involved through his parents more than five years ago.
He is heavily involved in the growing UF scene in Nelson. In summer every Monday, you can find teams playing in a league as well as a beach tournament in Tahunanui.
In the winter, disc lovers play NUDE indoors - that is to say, the Nelson Ultimate Disc Experience tournament, where six all-ages teams compete in the indoor league, fully clothed.
- © Fairfax NZ News