The Ultimate In Fun At Lovefest

The action was fast and fun at Lovefest. Photos courtesy David Tamayo

They came from far and wide to share the fields of Hanalei as the early winter weather held off long enough to make things a major success. The 2011 Kaua’i “Lovefest” Ultimate Frisbee tournament saw 65 players gather on the North Shore for a weekend of disc and friendly competition.

“Lovefest brought people from all over the U.S. to a beautiful island where we had a week to explore everything that Kaua’i has to offer,” says Katie Kern of Portland, Ore., who came out first for Oahu’s Hopu Ka Lewa 13 tournament, which took place a week earlier. “We just thoroughly enjoyed the island.”

Many of the players were travelers who used the two tournaments as the backdrop for what turned out to be their multi-island adventures. The greatest distance was traveled by a pair of players from the Netherlands, while a number of other Mainland participants came from Alaska, California, Oregon and as far east as Arkansas.

With mostly just bragging rights at stake, the weekend took on a festive atmosphere. A Friday night party preceded Saturday’s all-day tournament. There was more celebrating Saturday night and some pickup ultimate and volleyball Sunday on the beach.

“It was an amazing amount of really cool people playing a great game,” says event coordinator Aaron Feinberg. “Everyone had a lot of fun. It was good partying, good energy. The weather was typical Hanalei, but everyone had a great time with it. You play through the rain, so the end zones were a little bit swimming pool-y.”

Some of the regulars from Kaua‘i gathered after the tournament

The tournament’s style was a “hat draw,” which assured even teams and introductions to new people. During signups, players assigned themselves a skill level from one to five. Teams were then randomly drawn from a hat to begin the round robin action and eventual championship game, which was won by Team 2.

In addition to good times, one thing the ultimate players hope to achieve with these types of events is a continued spread of the game and finding new participants.

“Most of the people who tend to come to these kind of tournaments are at a medium or higher level. There are a couple of new players who do come out, so you increase the sport. Even if you come out and just enjoy the people and have a good time, it’s more likely you’re going to come back and keep playing,” Feinberg says.

“We had one girl who was playing her first tournament, her third game ever, and she had a great time,” Kern says. “It was great to see the new people and people who had been playing for 10-plus years.”

Pickup games are still occurring each Sunday in Hanalei, now starting around 4 p.m. with the earlier sunsets. There also are games each Tuesday and Thursday at the North Lydgate Park Sports Field.