The Volcanic tournament down in Costa Rica just wrapped up its 9th year this past Memorial Day weekend and SAVAGE was lucky enough to be able to not only provide gear for the tournament, but also got to send one of our own to play in the tournament. Volcanic is a great way to not only enjoy a weekend full of good Ultimate, but also allows those from out of the country to delve into the Costa Rican culture through way of exploring some of the beautiful rainforest, tasting some of the traditional cuisine and of course by developing friendships with some amazing people.
Every year this tournament is comprised of a group of ultimate players from around the world. Each team (this year had the tournament's largest turnout with 7 teams) is made up of a mixture of half Costa Ricans and half foreigners of all skill levels and backgrounds. The first game, as in any hat tournament, is definitely the most difficult as you learn how to play with the people on your team, except now there is also the added struggle of a language barrier. Fortunately for non-Spanish speakers, most of the Costa Ricans can speak high-level English, and if not, there’s typically at least one person on your team who can get away with their Spanish speaking skills.
The first day, after everyone arrived, was spent seeing some of the country as the group was taken on a nature walk through the rainforest. Carlos and his brother, Fico, who put on the tournament every year, were very informative, sharing all sorts of information about the different plants and wildlife that were crossed throughout the hike. After the hike, there was an optional treetop zip line tour followed by a traditional Costa Rican lunch of Casado, which is a plate of rice, beans, choice of meat, and fried plantains. That evening, the Costa Ricans joined the rest of the group for a late night pickup game before the tournament was to start the next day.
Saturday morning everyone was up bright and early to get started on pool play games. Each team played four games to 13, with only one team making through the day undefeated. The first several games had beautiful weather, albeit a bit hot and humid, but as you should expect in the rainforest, a heavy rainfall shortened the last round of games. That evening, after everyone was showered and rested, the tournament party was held in a covered outdoor area at the resort. Everyone got together to drink some of the local Imperial beer (or tequila if that was your preference), dance, play drinking games, and even do a bit of human bouldering.
It was a late night for some, but everyone (well, almost everyone) was up again the next morning to get a start on bracket play of the tournament. Sunday had only two rounds of games; the first round had the top 4 teams from Saturday compete in the semi finals. The Red team, who was seeded first, won handedly in their game, while the Gold and Lime Green teams, the 2nd and 3rd seeds, battled it out in a game that went to universe. Gold came out on top to play Red in the championship game but in the end, Red ended up winning it all. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and hanging out with everyone at the Hot Springs nearby to rest sore bodies and get ready to head back to the real world.
The Volcanic experience is one to be had; anyone who has attended would highly recommend going, as there are many who go every year. It is a great chance to see a new place, take in a new culture and play ultimate with a bunch of new friends. It truly was amazing to see how all of these different teams quickly morphed into one big family as the week went by and I’m thankful that I was able to be a part of it. Until next year Costa Rica, until next year...