Life's a beach for fans of ultimate frisbee

20:05, Nov 20 2012
Jen Robinson
WELL HELD: Jen Robinson, Mike Packer, left, and Jim Risner warm up for the Fat Out ultimate frisbee to be held at Tahunanui Beach this weekend.

In a tradition spanning 12 years, close to 100 people gathered by Nude will lay out at Tahunanui Beach this weekend and throw some hammers.

The crew from Nelson Ultimate Disc Experience (Nude) will welcome people from across the globe, travelling to New Zealand especially for the award-winning, annual ultimate frisbee beach tournament - Flat Out Nelson.

The lay out, a diving horizontal catch of the game disc, tends to be more prominent on the sand than the grass version. The name Flat Out suggests there will be a fair few bodies flying through the air and ultimately eating sand on Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine.

 	 Jen Robinson
WELL HELD: Jen Robinson, Mike Packer, left, and Jim Risner warm up for the Fat Out ultimate frisbee to be held at Tahunanui Beach this weekend.

Jim Risner, of Nude, describes the game as a mix between netball and touch rugby. The aim is to complete a catch in the scoring zone, much like scoring a try in touch.

While in the field of play, the disc is worked up the field by passing to team-mates. Once the disc is caught, a player must establish a pivot foot and pass again, there is no running with the disc - hence the netball comparison.

The popular Nelson event is one of only two major beach frisbee events in New Zealand. The hat-style tournament will see all registered players assigned teams. Risner said that style of tournament had the classic Nelson feel to it.


"It is a very social tournament. Being Nelson, it's very laid-back. Actually, three of the last four years we have won the best tournament in New Zealand.

"We not only have people travelling from all over New Zealand, we have international people coming - a few Germans and a few Americans are coming this year.

"This is a tournament for everyone. One thing about ultimate frisbee, is it is all about the spirit of the game. There are no refs; if you call a foul and it's not, we decide amongst each other and go from there."

Running since the year 2000, the tournament is a beach variant of a vastly popular, highly organised, fast-field-based game. At the very top level world championships are held, and some of Nelson's local internationals will be in the mix come Saturday.

Nayland College's Tobyn Packer and Nelson College's Eli Jones travelled to Dublin in August to compete in the WFDF World Junior Ultimate Frisbee Championships. The international pair will be among a number of hammer-throwing locals, as Risner explains.

"The hammer is a certain throw where the frisbee starts out one way and turns itself upside down. They are very tricky to do, especially at the beach in the wind.

"It's considered something risky to do, but because we are Nelsonians and this is our beach we throw them. Everyone else is like, ‘What are you doing throwing hammers in the wind?' "

The action jumps off from about 10am on Saturday.

For more information or to get involved in the regular, all-welcome, beach games on Sundays or field games at the Botanics on a Monday evening, email:

The Nelson Mail