Boracay Open 2015: AN EPIC WEEKEND WITH UNFORTUNATE ENDING

by Don Laczi

There are a lot of things to talk about during the recently concluded boracay Open 2015. Lots of great moments. Great plays. Awesome display of SOTG. Lots of good vibes during the 3 day tournament.

NEW CHAMPS.
Boracay Open has been dominated by the beach kings of Asia, The Boracay Dragons, for 12 years. But this year, the Dragons decided not to be on the running. Instead, they want to challenge every team in Pool A to beat their Dubai Open, Mix and Masters National teams, and whoever has the best record against them (that also includes the win/loss record of the Pool A teams) will have the chance to play for the finals. At least that’s my understanding.

The teams from Southeast Asia, Australia, United States and beyond did what they are supposed to do on the beautiful beach of Boracay. Play great Ultimate Frisbee. Massive highlights all over the place. I always shoot two fields at a time when I am out under the sun, and all the teams this year undoubtedly put on a great show. Such a great treat for an Ultimate photographer to witness all of these amazing plays.

The two US visiting teams, Humiliswag and Bangerang took the top seeds in Pool A, and played in the finals. Seeing two different teams in the finals of the Boracay Open was a rare sight to see, but these two American teams deserved to be there and they seriously put on an amazing show of teamwork, highlights, and awesome display of SOTG. I am still pretty bummed that I didn’t get a chance to witness the end of the game, But that’s another story to tell later. Congratulations Team Bangerang for winning the Finals this year!

AFTER PARTIES.

Boracay open will never be called as the most anticipated beach ultimate tournament in Asia without their well planned After parties. The Day 1 After Party at Area 51 was wild. With DJ Tutay at the helm, Ultimate players danced the night away on classic hip-hop tunes and dance music. Day 2 After Party on the other hand was epic.

This years Boracay Open is an Ati-Atihan themed tournament (Ati-Atihan is a yearly festival in Kalibo, Aklan in honor of the Santo Nino (Infant Baby Jesus). The Frisbee community started their Sad Sad (Street Dance) at Casa Pilar with paints on their faces. Head dresses and colourful outfits (Some were half naked. We’re in Boracay so that’s totally fine!) Ati-Atihan warriors and drummers leading the way with Ati-ati dance moves and drum beats. They all marched/danced together to Club Summer Place, and everyone was entertained by the club DJ’s (DJ Wendell, DJ Ben Yap & James Yap), and whoever has the mic, he or she will be the MC to pump the discheads up. It was one of the best parties I’ve seen for quite a while. See for yourself!

THE COMMUNITY.

Ultimate community is by far the best sports community that I have been a part of. Yes, we may all have language barriers and such, but everyone seems to understand each other on and off the field. Even If I don’t play the game, It feels like the ultimate community considered me as one of their own. This years Boracay Open is no exemption. The players battled it out like warriors on the field, and eat their lunch or have a bottle of beer together off the field like family. I photographed Boracay Open for the first time last year. And the only people I know back then were Karen, Buboy, Sheilamar, and Liza of Boracay Dragons. I only went to the after party once, and I only talked to a few folks and eat my lunch alone. One year later, I never thought that I will have this many friends in the community after a year of shooting Ultimate. The Ultimate community is a blessing.

THE THUMB.

I got sick. First degree burns. Got dehydrated. Got hit by Frisbee discs multiple times. But I have never got hit by an ultimate player that hard last Sunday afternoon.

Finals game. Bangerang versus Humiliswag. I already saw it coming the moment I saw the disc flying. “I’m totally gonna get hit by this guy” I said to myself. I knew that I am going to get hit by the Bangerang player, but I really want to take one more shot of him. But It was too late. The moment I turned my back away from him, It all went dark. I was on the ground, thinking what just happened. I was surrounded by ultimate players, but the first thing that I noticed was I can’t move my right thumb. It was dislocated. Two words came to my mind “Oh S#*^!” I immediately grab my thumb and pop it back in. “Move thumb!” and it did. It felt like I got hit by a Freight train, to be honest. I have never got hit that hard. It was a hard hit that the second camera that I have took a picture of the crash by itself.

The photo that my backup camera made during the crash.

I tried to shoot a few more frames after the crash, but the camera got heavier that I couldn’t hold it anymore. The pain on my right thumb is unbearable, so I decided to call it a day and went to the medic station for an ice pack. Not shooting the remaining parts of the event really hurts me the most. All I care is to shoot Boracay Open from top to bottom. But, it’s just too impossible to finish the job with a broken right thumb. No drama here, but I was crying inside not shooting the remaining parts of the finals and the awarding. But I have full respect and gratitude to all the people that saved my cameras from getting wet. You all are my heroes during that freaky incident. I never had the chance to thank you all for doing that. So, I am going to do it now. Thank you all so much for helping me out last Sunday. I truly appreciate your help, making sure that I’m okay, and most especially saving the equipment. The broken thumb will heal, but a damaged camera will take time for me to save up some cash for repairs or get a new one. Thank you for saving my beloved babies!

Last picture that I made after the crash

Besides the dislocated thumb and damaged camera battery grip, Boracay Open 2015 was a huge success. KUDOS to the all the organizers, sponsors and Boracay Dragons for a job well done. Congratulations to all the winners, most especially to Team Bangerang. I hope you guys will come back next year and defend your title. We would love to see you all back again, and to see how you fair with the Dragons in complete line up.

As for my thumb. It is getting better as we speak. I guess it’s just one of those risks that I have to face when I am on the field in order for me to produce good images and share it to you all. Accidents happen. I love this sport so much. And I will do the best I can to spread the good word about Ultimate to the world through my photos.

Safely this time around.

Until Then… TULOY LANG ANG PARTY!

For more photos, please visit:

www.facebook.com/donlacziphoto

www.instagram.com/donlacziart

www.twitter.com/donlaczi

    The Picture Peekture

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    I travel a lot because of sports photography. And I love every second of it! #TravelingPhotographer #ChasingWind #DiscShooter #ShootHoops #PeopleShooter

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