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Beach Sports Party

Ashleigh Went

Did you know that Canberra has our very own beach?

Lyneham Beach might not have access to the ocean, but it does provide access to six beach volleyball courts – and it’s the venue for this Sunday’s Beach Sports Party, presented by Urban Rec.

It’s a party that combines so many things we love – the beach, drinks, beats, eats and – here’s the kicker – social sports.

We caught up with the Aussie founder of Urban Rec, Madeleine Wilkie, to find out all the details of tomorrow’s party, plus what she has in store for Canberra.

Where did the idea for Beach Sports Party come from? 

We were really excited to discover the Lyneham Beach Facility. Its a wonderful venue, and it seems crazy that Canberrans are not getting enough use out of it. We decided that if we turned it into a space where you can not just play sport, but also come and hang out, like you would at the beach, we could attract some of the locals. That’s really what we are about, getting ladies and gents, who are not necessarily sports people to re-think what sport can offer them. It’s a social, fun environment to get a workout without even realising it.

Can you tell us a bit about Urban Rec – why you started it, what you do, what the goal of the organization is?

It’s always a huge surprise to people when they learn I never played sport growing up, and I am actually a horrible athlete. I played Urban Rec in Vancouver while living there and walked away with a soccer team full of friends, and some amazing experiences on and off the field. At Urban Rec no one cares that you suck as sport, it’s about the adventure of trying new things!

I started it up in Sydney with no budget or experience five years ago, I begged a handful of friends to get involved. Almost six years later we have almost 7,000 members and the connections people have made through our leagues is inspiring. One of our members from Sydney (Donald) moved to Canberra in 2016. We recognise that Canberra is another up and coming city with plenty of people looking to try something new, be fit, and meet new people! Being an adult in a new city can be lonely, and playing sport is the BEST way to meet new friends in a non-awkward way. It’s the ultimate bonding experience.

The goal for Urban Rec is to bring recreational sports with a social twist to all the people of Canberra. We want to re-introduce people to sport. We want to be genuine, welcoming, humble, and provide a really FUN and safe place for people to get involved. It’s about the experience, the people, the healthy lifestyle and sports is just the driver for that.

What are your plans for Canberra beyond the Beach Sports Party? Can you tell us a bit about the Summer Leagues?

There are plenty of sports leagues in Canberra, but we really wanted to do something different! We are going to have multiple sports running on Sunday afternoon at the Beach at the end of October. We hope to expand that into mid-week sports at the beach in the new year.

We are also running some non-traditional sports like Multi-sport, Dodgeball and Street Soccer in Braddon on Tuesday & Thursday nights. Next year the plan is to run a Flag Gridiron, and some Dropkick Touch Footy. The idea is to run non-traditional sports in “Urban” venues that people might have not considered to use for sport. We would love to run a huge Dodgeball league in the Bus Depot one day!

What kind of experience will people have from Beach Sports Party?

They will hopefully walk away with a sore face from smiling and laughing too hard. Bentspoke are going to be running a pop-up bar, and we will have a traditional Aussie sausage sizzle! Teams will be playing in multiple beach sports throughout the day (expect very recreational levels of play). We will have a chill zone with paddling pools, floaties, beach cricket, and totem tennis. We’ll have tunes playing the entire afternoon, and EPIC prizes for best-dressed, winning teams, and of course prizes for the Wooden Spoon team! Ontop of that, if people want to come down and play solo, we will organise teams of players to get involved on the day.

the essentials
What: Beach Sports Party presented by Urban Rec
Where: Lyneham Beach, Southwell Park, Lyneham
When: 2-5pm, Sunday 8 October
Register: Be quick – registrations close at 5pm today. Register here.

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Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue

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