Riptide Bring Professional Ultimate to Victoria
By Scott Lewis
The Vancouver Riptide are taking Ultimate back to its provincial roots when they play their AUDL home game against the San Francisco FlameThrowers at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria on Saturday, May 14th, at 3 p.m.
There’s a certain poetry to this Riptide home game being held across Georgia Strait from their usual venue at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. After all, it was in 1974, long before anyone had heard of Ultimate, when a group of friends started playing a self-invented game they called Frisbee Football at Willows Beach in the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay, the first organized disc sports in B.C.. And it was Sept. 22, 1979 when the first Ultimate game in the province was played as part of a multi-disc sports competition at Kinsmen Gorge Park in another suburb called Esquimalt. And when the Victoria Flying Islanders were founded in 1982, they became the first Ultimate team in the province.
When it became clear Swangard would not be available for this game, Riptide GM Brian Gisel was more than ready for the team to hop on a ferry.
“When the opportunity came up to hold the first ever professional Ultimate game in Victoria, we jumped at the chance. The Riptide are not just Vancouver’s team, we feel that we represent the whole province, and we are eager to play in front of current and new fans from the Island.
Jeff Pozin, President of the host Victoria Ultimate Players Society, is just as excited.
“This is professional Ultimate, with some of the world’s best players demonstrating their mastery of the game. We rarely have an opportunity to see this level of competition in Victoria. If I had to quantify our excitement level from 1 to 10; I’d say we’re at 11.”
VUPS expects that the thriving Ultimate scene in Victoria these days will provide a good number of spectators in the stands.
“We have a fairly large and strong Ultimate community in Victoria,” said Pozin. ‘The great facilities and great weather all year round make it a fantastic place to play. Both the University of Victoria Open (UVictim) and Women’s (UVixens) teams are thriving, as is intramural play at UVic. (You’ll see a few UVictim alumni on the field playing for Riptide). And our city league is doing well, with a rapidly expanding youth program.”
Victorians are notorious for buying tickets at the last minute, but as long as the weather comes through, there will be a substantial crowd taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to enjoy top level Ultimate in the cozy confines of Royal Athletic Park. And expect loud cheering on behalf of the Riptide, particularly for those team members with roots in Victoria.
You can buy tickets for the Victoria game, which will be held on Saturday, May 14th at 3 p.m. here.
Vancouver’s home opener will be held at Swangard Stadium on Saturday, Apr. 16th, at 6 p.m. You can buy tickets here.