DUBAI // For most beachgoers a game of Frisbee is just good fun.
But it is serious business for the Dubai Ultimate Players Association, which recently sent its growing band of expatriates to the World Championship of Beach Ultimate in Italy.
The 18 players, some of whom only took up the game a year ago, paid their own way to the beaches of Lignano Sabbiadoro.
Each game features eight players. Points are scored if the disc is caught in the opposition's end zone.
Patrick Fourcampre-Maye, the co-founder of the players association, uploaded a video of a game his group played on Jumeirah Beach Residence beach last summer.
"The main organisers of the world championships saw it and offered us a spot to play," Mr Fourcampre-Maye said.
There is no official recognition of the team or the sport in the UAE, but plans are afoot to change that.
The Ultimate Players Association (UPA) team members joked about entering the world championship, but by March the team were the UAE's official entry.
Competition organisers waived rules requiring nationality because there was only one Emirati on the team - and he could not travel to the finals. Another rule requiring team members reside in a country for four years in order to represent it was also overlooked.
The Dubai squad were playing against world-class teams from the US, Britain and France.
"They have trials to get in the teams over there. It is really serious," Mr Fourcampre-Maye said.
The UPA lost all but one of their 12 games, beating Denmark in their final match. The team finished 19th out of 22 countries.
"Our main fear was being laughed at," Mr Fourcampre-Maye said.
After their performance and with the sport's growing popularity in Dubai, the UPA is expecting more players to show up at the JBR beach on Saturday evenings for weekly practice.
But its main goal is to get the sport recognised by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai sports councils so they can introduce it to school-age Emiratis.
It hopes a team full of Emiratis will eventually represent their country in future world championships.