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Ace's Take on the ARIA Game of the Year

Ace's Take on the ARIA Game of the Year

        Hey all! You probably don’t know who I am, but if you’ve been on our website you may have seen me in the ARIA team page. My name is Candace (or Ace), and I recently moved from NYC to the Seattle area and have been working with ARIA for the last few months. I wanted to give you my own personal recap thoughts about the ARIA Ultimate Game of the Year that we had on April 7th here in Seattle.

        First off, the weather was akin to some of the hurricanes my mother in Florida describes. Swirling winds and cold rain, not quite the best of weather to debut our new disc, but a fitting tribute to launching a Seattle company! For those of you who only play in glorious sunshine, I’d like to take a second to lay out why this weather was so difficult. In windy conditions, the disc requires a bit of extra spin to cut through any headwinds and fly straight. In rainy conditions, the disc requires less spin in order to make it easier to catch. You can see the difficulty in the situation when both conditions are present, as you both need more spin AND less spin on the disc, go figure!

The ARIA Ultimate flag, blowing in the (heavy) wind.

        Games with such weather often lead to one of only two outcomes: you become so frustrated and aren’t enjoying any aspects of what you’re doing, or you just have to laugh at the things that happen on the field because sometimes they aren’t in your control.

        I consider ourselves very lucky to have had two rosters completely full of people who were able to take the weather in stride and laugh. The spirit on the field was so palpable you could feel it on the sidelines; you could see it behind the camera lens in the smiling faces of the players. There was no competition on the line, no high stakes to fight for in this least for the players. For those of us who were anxiously biting off all of our fingernails in the nervousness about how this game would turn out, the stakes were pretty high. We were showing you all a new disc, and as ultimate players we’ve all reacted to new discs or seen reactions from others over new discs, we know how the story can go.

        So what did I notice? I noticed seven players on the line, fourteen people on a field, fans and teammates cheering from the sidelines, one disc, and a game of ultimate. I noticed the high energy, the smiles of the players, the great plays and nice throws, the good defense and solid offense. What I didn’t notice was the disc. The disc didn’t take away from the game being played in front of us, it didn’t detract from anything happening on the field, and it performed excellently in the wind and rain. You may wonder why I say that as a good thing that the disc wasn’t the center of attention. It’s a great thing, because it means that the ARIA disc is doing what it was built to do. It’s a tool to bring people together with a similar goal in mind; to play a game and to celebrate a community and it’s values. If you don’t believe me, ask the players who were there!

Chris Mazur leads players down a line of high-fives at the ARIA Ultimate Game of the Year.

        I know that while we are just a disc, we aren’t JUST a disc. We are trying to change the world through our disc, by putting discs into the hands of thousands of people across the globe. We already have 700 discs prepared to go to social organizations who will use them to spread ultimate and create environments where anyone can feel safe and welcomed. The disc as a tool on the field is made to be familiar, to not change the game...but the disc as a tool outside of field is meant to change the game. We have lofty goals and hopes that we can get more discs into the hands of more people... we believe that ultimate is intrinsically good for the world. Dreamers change the world, and in this case...ultimate players can change the world through a dream and a lofty goal. Let’s change the world.

  • Ace, ARIA Ultimate

Players take the field at the ARIA Ultimate Game of the Year.


Photo credits to Tino Tran Photography.

Want to help us change the world through ultimate? Check out our online store and see what ARIA has to offer…


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ARIA Ultimate Game Of The Year 2017 Recap

ARIA Ultimate Game Of The Year 2017 Recap

ARIA Game of the Year participants at the end of the game!

On April 7th 2017, ARIA Ultimate hosted the Game Of The Year in Seattle, WA. 30+ top athletes and droves of diehard fans braved the weather for the first live ultimate game to be played with the recently launched ARIA Ultimate disc.

ARIA Ultimate is a Seattle based company dedicated to serving the sport of ultimate by making a top level 175g ultimate disc that gives back to the community through a 1 for 1 donation model. The project spent over two years in development phase, launching publicly this April with the support of players and organizers worldwide.

Game of the Year player Opi Payne signs an ARIA disc.


Top names from around the continent came to Seattle to compete in the Game Of The Year, invited based on their athletic skills, disc experience, and commitment to the sport of ultimate and its value system. In addition, ARIA invited four engaged and spirited Seattle area youth players to join the squad.

June Rapisura gets by Amanze Oleru for a pass during the Game of the Year.

What better weather to launch a disc than 25-40 mph winds and cold rain? While the weather didn’t cooperate with us, it didn’t scare away the smiles of the players and fans. In fact, even with the weather, the new disc performed to or exceeded expectations in both directions, both at high speeds and for short distance precision throws.

Ari Lozano enjoys the rain at the Game of the Year.Fun with weather at the Game of the Year.

While the score of the game was not the primary focus, the teams were fired up for some healthy competition. Fans had a stake in the game, too, as they followed along to see if their pre-game voting on the outcome would pan out in their favor for a chance to win a disc signed by all the competitors! Team Blue ended up chalking up the W 15-11 over Team Black.

While the game was best in class given the weather conditions, it was also great to get some early opinions on the new ARIA Ultimate disc. We were able to collect a bunch of feedback ourselves (link to testimonial page), but it was also great to hear reactions from the players themselves.

ARIA Game of the Year player Chris Mazur shares his thoughts.


Thoughts on the Game of the Year from player Molly McKeon.

Now that the dust has settled a bit and the parkas are dry again, the athletes have another challenge ahead of them. They will decide how they would like split up and donate 500 ARIA discs to any organizations of their choice. The conversation is ongoing, and we are excited to be learning about the various different lenses the players are using to identify and choose how to impact people through the sport of ultimate.

Stay tuned for videos and pictures of the ARIA Ultimate Game Of The Year 2017. If you are interested in the GOTY 2018, sign up for email updates at

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ARIA Discs 1 for 1 donation model

ARIA Discs 1 for 1 donation model
ARIA Discs operates with a 1 for 1 donation model. When a customer buys a disc from us at retail price, we make one disc available to one of our social partners. The customer chooses which partner, or if they don’t have a preference, selects “area of highest need”. When a current ARIA partner has received enough discs to fulfill their immediate needs, we will cycle them out and include a new social partner as a recipient. We are always encouraging new partners to apply to be a part of our social organization donation process.


Some people might know this model as the TOMS Shoes model, often referenced in business school case studies and social impact thesis papers. I would like to dig in a little bit and peel back several of the layers of this 1 for 1 model. While helping people out by donating discs to them may seem simple on the surface, it is far more complex than that.

Titcomb running an ultimate frisbee clinic in Mexico

Why ARIA chose a 1-for-1 model

ARIA Discs is not interested in being the privileged benefactor that dumps plastic toys into underserved communities. In contrast, it is our goal to foster successful partnerships between organizations that are trying to have a positive impact in the communities they operate in based on a social model that they have learned works best for their constituents. It is not our goal to decide how a single disc can best be put to use. Instead, it is through conversations with organizations such as AgeUP, Ultimate Peace, E.R.I.C., or Bridging the Gaps that we listen to the needs of ultimate organizers and position ourselves as a platform to help them acquire the tools (discs) they need through our donation model.

Why not just donate money to these organizations instead of giving them a disc? This is an excellent question, because at the end of the day, funding is more versatile and can easily translate into a variety of different uses. There are a few different ways that consider this criticism.


Why does ARIA donate ultimate discs?

Firstly, from a numbers perspective, we are choosing to make discs available to these organizations at our expense as opposed to the retail cost they would otherwise incur to buy a brand new high level disc. Our partner organizations end up with a product, at zero cost to them, that is the exact same high quality product that an top level player would buy to play with in a championship level game.

Secondly, everyday ultimate players buy and use discs all the time. We are trying to establish a deeper connection between these people and the concept that ultimate can be used as a tool for social change. An ultimate player now has a direct connection with making an impact, learning that their purchasing decisions can empower a leadership program or healthy living environment for someone that is otherwise not as privileged. We hope that the effect is that that player then enters into other life decisions, now equipped with this new lens, as they choose how to spend their time, money, or talent. Imagine if every conversation that took place between an ultimate player and a non ultimate player included a perceptive understanding of the intrinsic value system of the sport (integrity, cooperation, athleticism, inclusiveness, acceptance, to name a few elements). If the result was one where more resources, attention, and money were dedicated to the furthering of these values, I think we would see progress on some of the challenges our society faces these days.


Helping vs. hurting

There is another challenge with the TOMS Shoes model that is worth mentioning. It is difficult to deny, in a silo, that a child with a pair of shoes is better off than the same child that goes barefoot. However, as many international aid workers will argue, it is important to consider the ecosystem in which the child exists in order to understand the impact of the donated shoes. If all of the shoes in a community are donated, you would put the local shoe vendor or shoe manufacturer out of business. While the individual donation is helpful to the child, the process ends up being detrimental to the economic ecosystem within the community. On top of that, should we not also be be considering the source of the problem? Why does the child not have a pair of shoes? The root cause of the shoelessness is one that is deeply embedded in the fabric of our society, centuries of systems of oppression leading to a divergence between the haves and the have nots.

ARIA Bridging the Gaps using ultimate frisbee as a tool for social change

In ARIA’s case, we are not just dropping discs out of an airplane onto masses below. Rather, we have identified organizations that are operating in communities that they personally know and understand. We have engaged them in conversations about how we, as a for profit actor in the ultimate community, can better support them. We are not trying to replace local toy companies or local disc vendors in the places that the social orgs we are partnering with are operating. Instead, it is our hope that because of the access to resources or education offered by our local partners, the people benefiting from ARIA Discs will gain the power to improve the quality of life for themselves and the communities that they live in. If we ever get to a point where no one is asking ARIA to donate discs, we will have achieved our mission. Until that time, we will do our best to operate as a company that supports the excess of passion and purpose in the lives of ultimate players that are using this sport to do good in the world.


Looking ahead

At the end of the day, ARIA Discs is interested in being a sustainable business that serves the ultimate community with high-level discs while supporting the growth of the sport at a grassroots level. At the same time, our goal is to empower passionate ultimate players and social workers around the world to use the sport of ultimate as a tool for social change. We've said it before and we will say it again, “We believe that ultimate is intrinsically good for the world.” We've seen it firsthand, and we've heard countless stories about how a disc has changed a life or changed a community. We hope that we can build a business around the concepts that make this transformation possible for more people.

Help us sustain the rise of ultimate and all we stand for as a 1 for 1 model company by checking out our online store.

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We did it!

We did it!

UPDATE May 10th, 2017: Our Kickstarter campaign ended on May 3th. Thanks to all of your support, we've doubled our initial funding goal! 

ARIA Ultimate kickstarter is 100% funded. Let's do this! 

Thanks to your support, we're off to the races! This funding milestone will let us complete our first round of production of ARIA Ultimate discs in order to get some of the very first of them into your hands and into the hands of our social partners.

Over 700 discs to be donated!

ARIA Ultimate will donate at least 700 discs to their social partners thanks to their Kickstarter pledgers

 Bridging the Gaps - Ultimate in India. Love the stunner with the shades :)

Work with us here and visualize what this means.  700 discs is A LOT OF DISCS. Thanks to you, THOUSANDS of underserved future ultimate players will be running around fields across the world, smiling, chasing down a disc. This is only the beginning. This gives us confidence that we might actually be able to change the world. 

ARIA Ultimate - Game Of The Year 2017 was a huge success! 

ARIA Ultimate Game of the Year was a great succes!

Weather be damned, we will test this disc.

Huddled masses of fans braved the wind AND rain to join us for the Game Of The Year 2017 in Seattle. Maybe it was the free pizza, maybe it was the high level play, or maybe it was getting to see their ultimate heroes from across the continent, but players and fans alike smiled through the evening for a terrific debut of the ARIA Ultimate disc in high level game play. If you are curious to hear some of the reactions of the fans, here are a few early testimonials, and more will be pulled together in the next week on our social media platforms. 

Khalif El-Salaam laying out at the ARIA Game of the year catching the ARIA Ultimate frisbee disc

Khalif El-Salaam diving catch at the ARIA Game Of The Year 2017

Deals of a lifetime under-realized:

FREE Discs FOR LIFE.* Discs for life, eh? I know that there are dozens of alumni groups out there that would love to support their alma-mater with guaranteed practice discs for their program for the next 10 years. Imagine the impact! So, reach out to your friends from the days of glory, and see if you can rally the troops to help propagate the memories that help make you who you are. But there is an added BONUS here. Each year, your former program gets to donate discs, too. Allowing a college or high school team to come together and discuss the impact of the sport beyond just chasing plastic could be very meaningful in their future, helping them grow into citizens that well represent the value system of our sport. 10 years of this. And all because of you. Think about it... 

Hook up your city's league. Only a few lucky folks have pounced on the custom team discs, and no-one yet has gone for the League level reward tier. We think it's because ultimate league organizers are already super busy, so busy that they are missing this incredible opportunity. SO, if you know someone, say something. Encourage your organization to jump on board, and in addition get 500 discs donated directly to youth programs in YOUR community. 

Under-performing reward tiers:  

Throw with the pros. We expected more folks to pounce on the opportunity to throw with some of the top throwers in the game! Honestly, this would be a dream come through for any middle school or high school student that has grown up in the ultimate community. The chance to toss with one of the top names in the game, let along meet them, typically drives kids mad here in Seattle. Let us know if there is something missing here, or maybe we are not reaching the right people? 

Thank you! Share ARIA with your friends.

Pass the word along. If you are on an email list serve or in a Facebook group, do us a favor and let your friends know about this cool new company you are supporting. A tiny little bit of support can go a long way. Let's double that 700 donation disc number!  With your help, we can. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or

What stretch goals do you want? 

Let us know what you'd like to see happen if we reach a $30,000 funding goal! 


Join us in our mission to spread the values and gift of ultimate all around the world through our 1 for 1 donation model in our online store.

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Wisdom From the Future of Ultimate - ARIA Game of the Year

Wisdom From the Future of Ultimate - ARIA Game of the Year
     We’re really excited to get to watch ultimate grow from the bottom up, with youth players and leagues around the globe. Cultivate, teach, listen and help them grow…they are the future of our sport. So we sat down with the four Seattle youth players who were invited to take part in the ARIA Game of the Year and asked them a few questions before the game -
Zahlen Titcomb: Why do you love ultimate? 

Ally Constantino: I love ultimate frisbee because it is a unique sport that requires a lot of terms of athleticism and thought. Since it is so small, a lot of people do not understand that skill, but I know how hard I have to work to get to my best. Also, the sport draws such amazing people. Every game I play I make a new friend on the sideline or even on the field. The sport gives me something to look forward to, and to keep working for. 

June Rapisura: I love Ultimate because it saved me from doing bad things that occurred in my community. I love Ultimate because it's a unique sport and the "Spirit of the Game" embodied me...and because it creates community and a sense of family.

Z: What motivates you to get better at the game? 

Ally Constantino: One super cool thing about [ultimate] frisbee is that there are always new rules you learn. I've been playing since I was in fifth grade and every year I learn something new. With that, the thing that motivates me most is playing with older people and people that play a level above me. I see them play and I learn new things and I know those things will help my game, and so I take them and I practice them.

Z: What do you think is great about spreading the sport to other people locally, and around the world?

Kaia Roast: Spreading the's like spreading the love! Ultimate is such an amazing sport because it's competitive while also being focused on spirit and having fun. I don't know of any other sport that is quite like that. So, by spreading ultimate, we are spreading the love, the fun AND the fire

Z: What's one piece of advice you would give to other young ultimate players out there? 

June Rapisura: One piece of combined advice for young Ultimate players out there is finding the love for the game. Once you fall in love, you will love the process of working hard everyday because it's fun. When is fun and you love it, you establish this fun and hard work mentality with the hunger of dominating and getting better.  

Amanze Oleru: Take advantage of any opportunity to get better. Try out for things, go to pick up, play mini, anything really. Stay focused on the goal and realize it is achievable. 

-ARIA Ultimate, April 2017

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ARIA Discs Materials Science

ARIA Discs Materials Science

As ultimate players, when we sat down to figure out how we wanted to make our ARIA disc, a big part of our planning process included identifying what the final material would be. Plastics are amazing, but they are also very complicated. There are thousands and thousands of varieties of different plastic raw materials, all of which have very individualized properties. On top of that, when you decide which ones you are going to mix together, they interact in unique ways such at the final product can be very different even with a slight change in recipe.

ARIA discs are more consistent over a wide range of temperatures.

There are several elements of a disc that interact directly with our chosen material. Firstly, I'd invite you to consider the malleability of a disc. At a fixed temperature, consider the times when a disc bends. Even though it happens in the blink of an eye, when you catch a disc from a strong throw from a teammate it actually deforms for a quick instant in your hand before returning to its original shape. As these images illustrate, the faster the throw and the larger the change in momentum between the disc and the catching hands, the more the disc deforms before recoiling.

Ultimate frisbee disc deforms ARIA Ultimate disc

For the design of the ARIA disc, we decided to settle on an average malleability at an average temperature that allows for a comfortable catch. We would not, however, compromise to a level of flexibility that doesn't let you control the disc when you then go to throw it to the next receiver. A secondary consideration when designing the malleability of the plastic we use in the ARIA Ultimate disc is that of its temperature range threshold.


Many of us have played a game of ultimate in extremely cold temperatures and even in the snow. Most plastics will naturally become firmer when they are exposed to cold temperatures. On the other hand, if you haven't experienced it, you can imagine a disc becoming extremely hot after sitting out on a dry turf field in the sun in the middle of the afternoon. In situations like this, plastics tend to take on a lot of the heat radiation from the sun, and in many cases become extremely floppy or bendy. When designing the ARIA disc, we took both of these scenarios into account and were able to settle in on a mix of plastic materials that allows for a slightly less knuckle-breaking stiff disc in the cold, and a slightly less floppy disc in the extreme heat. We do not expect this to drastically change the game for most people in most scenarios, but it's intentional design decisions like this that we think are important to bring to our sport.

Durable plastics for ultimate discs are a science... and an art.

Secondly, a major consideration when putting together plastic composites is durability. It should be noted, however, that durability is not a stand-alone attribute. When you start to tinker with different levels of what we might consider durable or less durable plastics, you also have an effect on the tactile feel of the disc, as well as its malleability in hand and in flight. Our ultimate decision was to settle on a durability level that maximizes the amount of time a disc can live in an optimum playing condition. All discs will become scuffed and scratched in most playing scenarios, more so on concrete or in urban environments than on turf or nice grass fields. Even catching a disc can leave a fingernail dent in the plastic. Rather than trying to make something that never dented at the expense of comfort in the hand and dependability in the air, we decided to settle at a place we think is just right for all players in most playing scenarios across the boards.

Clean and consistent white discs.

And last but not least, the simplest and most visible element of plastics is color. We knew we wanted to make a white disc, but it is quite astonishing how many different variations of the color white there are! We settled on a color that we think is the right balance between soft, clean, crisp white, but not too electric. We also wanted to make sure the disc is able to maintain the same hue and clean white color over time. Each of these specific decisions is not just a single dial you turn and settle on in your first try. There are a lot of different material concoctions that have effects on the color of a disc.


There are many other discs out there that are produced in colors other than white, either through dyes or alternative raw materials. From the beginning, ARIA is choosing to stick with just a plain and simple white disc because we want to make sure we nail the most basic elements of a single product before we expand into other colors. It should also be noted that different colors of plastics will react differently with ultraviolet light and sunlight. Some colors take on more heat which can affect the temperature and flight path of a disc, while others can be more finicky in weight discrepancies, depending on the dyes used to color them.


At the end of the day it's not rocket science. But at the same time it is. Some of the design issues we are tackling are complex materials science topics that may typically only appear on the desks of aerodynamics postdocs. Luckily, we have had some of these on call for our process in designing the ARIA disc!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of this with us, we are happy to hop on a call with you for a chat. Short of divulging our trade secrets, our intention is to educate ultimate players around the world not just about our process, but also about why we have chosen to do things the way we have. See you on the field!


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