FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Many of us in our days have created games in our backyards with made up rules and scores.
But, what if that game became an actual sport, with regulations, organized leagues, and even a board of directors.
Introducing, Epic Kayak Ultimate, a sport invented in North Pole about 11 years ago, that combines Ultimate Frisbee from land, and brings it to the water with kayaks.
"Well we were just sitting on the lake tossing the Frisbee back and forth, three different guys, solo canoeing, a couple of good old friends of mine," Tony Mustered, the inventor of Epic Kayak Ultimate says of the creation of the game. "We thought about it and we said, 'you know, we should make this competitive in some way.' And one of them suggested, 'we will set up goals and do Frisbee golf or something like that.' The other one said, 'ultimate I think'. And I went, 'ultimate, that's it, that's the one we want.' And so that night I went in and wrote up the rules.
The rules follow similar to that of Ultimate, with two sets of teams marching their way down the 120 yard area of water to bring the disc to the other side while keeping it away from your opponent.
It is much more difficult to catch in a kayak, so rather than an end zone for a scoring mark, teams get a point when they hit any part of an orange cone with the disc.
The game can appear intimidating for those inexperienced in either activity, but it is an inclusive, family fun sport that can be enjoyed by all.
"They asked me how good I am and throwing a frisbee and I told them 'I am not.' And they were like 'but do you like to kayak?' And I was like 'yes'. And so they told me I just just combine the two into one and it seemed like a lot of fun." Alysha Childs said, a EKU competitor.
Alaskans are often looking for new ways to get out and about during the short summer season, and Epic Kayak Ultimate introduces a unique way of doing so, while creating relationships.
"I would say the comradely is pretty nice," EKU player Rose Vining said. "Honestly, even if you're on an opposing team, we are pretty nice to each other and I kind of like all of the friends I have made out there. It is just a really good way to get a work out."
The Alaksan sport has reached at least three states, and hopes to reach participants on a global scale.
"We have had folks from all over the world do it. I have had folks from Belgium this year, from France this year, and from Germany this year who have played," Mustered said of the expansion of the sport. "I have had folks from France last year who said we are definitely making this happen there. And I keep hoping they are going to start some International competition and we will take the Alaska team to compete in International competition. I think Alaska will dominate this sport. But it has been very, very comforting and gratifying to see this happen and I really am excited to see where its going. We have really high hopes for this. "
League competition is underway, but there is often leisure play, if you ever want to try one of Alaska's emerging outdoor activities.
For more official rules and more information about Epic Kayak Ultimate, visit http://www.epickayakultimate.org/