Number of active players: 100
Notable beach tournaments: Bar do Peixe
Past participation in beach championships: WCBU 2004, WCBU 2007, ECBU2008, WCBU2011
Division participation at ECBU 2013: Mixed and Open
Portugal’s Ultimate history is relatively young. In 1997, the now infamous Bar do Peixe tournament got started and put Portugal on the (Beach) Ultimate map. This year will be the 17thedition of the four day, six night hat tournament where the summer solstice will be celebrated on the idyllic beach of Praia do Meco.
In 2004, Portugal established its place in the beach Ultimate scene by hosting the first BULA World Championship of Beach Ultimate (WCBU2004). With 20 countries and more than 450 players participating, this event took place at the stunning beach of Figueira da Foz and was a huge step for Beach Ultimate worldwide
There are currently approximately 100 players in Portugal, distributed amongst 6 teams in 5 cities and ranging between 12 and 50 years old. It is an eclectic community filled with many surprising and unique personalities that have two things in common: they love the disc, and they play hard and with loads of spirit. Proof of that are the many spirit prizes conquered by Portuguese teams in various international tournaments such as ECBU2008, Sandslash, Costa Brava and Bibione. The growth and development of Ultimate in Portugal will surely be aided by the recent foundation of the Portuguese Ultimate Association (APUDD) and its recognition by the WFDF.
At the ECBU Portugal will be represented in the Mixed and the Open division. The selection process involved a number of preparation weekends, where ultimately a more experienced/stronger mixed team and a smaller open team were put together:
After good results at the 2007 World Championships in Brazil and the 2008 European Championships in France, Portugal’s best ranking came at the World Beach championships in 2011, where the Mixed team conquered a very respectable 4th place out of 22 countries. This team served as the basis for the current team, which consists of many of the most competitive players in Portugal. The men are physically strong and very used to beach play. Pedro Vargas, the team captain who recently moved to the UK and joined the highly competitive team Ka-Pow, is responsible for the team strategy. Pedro has held demanding team practices and individual training exercises for the past eight months.
But Pedro is not the only talented player in the Portuguese Mixed Team. There is also the legendary Patrick van der Valk, who, together with his wife Sofia Pereira, was responsible for bringing Ultimate Frisbee to Portugal in the late 90s. The contribution these two veteran players give to the team is priceless.
Filipa Bringel, Pedro Vargas’ wife, who gave birth to beautiful girl a couple of months ago, is ready to rock the sand and make their kids proud. And beware of Inês, her sister: besides her astonishing speed you will certainly see (a lot of) scoring lay outs.
Speed is also a signature feature of Rui Pires. Do not be fooled by his shy personality, he is one of the fastest and physically advanced players of the team. André Carvalho on the other hand is not shy, and combines speed and a large experience playing with many teams in the most competitive international tournaments.
David Pimenta needs little introductions. His skill and talent (together with his height and long arms) are well known at the Ultimate community.
The upcoming superstars Ricardo Patrão and Sebastien Lacroix, each one in his very own style, will certainly leave an unforgettable impression.
And let’s not forget about internationally experienced Ultimate machine Asia Wojciechowska or the lady athletes (and also raising ultimate stars) Goreti Silva and Sofia Lopes. They can strike at any moment.
Although the team never had the chance to play with all players at the same time in any of the preparation tournaments, they achieved the 3rd place both at Burla Beach Challenge 2012 and in Calafell Arena 2013, and 2nd place at the Monte Gordo preparation tournament where they lost the finals to the surprisingly strong Irish team. If they got this far with an incomplete team, they will sure strive to reach the podium with all of them playing together.
The Open team has had a tough birth. Many players in the Portuguese community could not commit and in the end all options had to be explored to get a full team together. The team now is a mix between young fast players and experienced “vintage” players. Speed, technique, strength, and beach experience will undoubtedly result in the participation of this team being a highly positive experience for all involved.
The team is lead by Ricardo Madeira, a Portuguese national playing in Spain and who all players respect for his extraordinary disc skills.
Helping Ricardo are several players that play for the relatively new team of Aveiro: Daniel Cleary, a Dutch Ultimate anarchist who will surprise many opponents, Gareth Baxter, another long-term resident of Aveiro who has shown tremendous growth in the last few months, and Licínio Pereira, a full-blooded Portuguese who is not afraid to lay-out and give it his all.
Lisbon is also well represented in the Open team, staring with another legend: 50-year old Ze Luis Falcão who probably holds the record of the player that has played at most Beach Ultimate tournaments in the world. His team mates are the rising stars of Dani Bodor and João Lopes. They can outrun most opponents and they love to layout. Together with their fourth team mate, patient safe and efficient José Pedro Cruz, they will play a key role in the success of the team.
The team is completed by Andreia Pucci and Christian Hedenius. Both players contributed to the growth of Beach Ultimate in Portugal before heading back to their home countries where they further honed their skills. Now they are dedicated to helping the country where they had such a positive experience with Beach Ultimate.
All in all, a promising team who will certainly make history at ECBU.
Article by Filipa Tavares da Matta, Sofia Pereira and Patrick Van der Valk