[Dream Team] Rena Kawabata, Traffic, Canada

Matsuno is the leading players of the impressive japan open team that made it to the finals in WUGC this year, he’s been in every national, continental or world championship since 2006!

How did you come to play ultimate?

A friend in elementary school introduced me to the sport at the end of 6th grade. When I got to high school, I remembered the super fun, new sport called “ultimate” I once learned on a warm summer’s day. I started playing in grade 8 and never looked back.

And how did you stick to the sport?

Despite playing throughout high school and competing at WUGC in 2008, it wasn’t until I played with the U23 Canadian Team in 2010 that I really fell in love with that sport. I loved that team so much, and we had such fun together. My teammates were the real reason I fell in love with the sport.

What’s your best memory about ultimate?

My best memory in ultimate was at the 2013 USAU D-1 College Championships when my team, the UBC Thunderbirds, were playing the top seeded team in our pool. We fought hard against Michigan Flywheel, a favourite to take the title that year, and came through with the win 15-13. I remember my teammates and I feeling unstoppable that game and this was the epic photo that was captured after the winning point.

What’s your vision about the future of ultimate?

I want ultimate to continue to be a leader of gender equity and sportsmanship in the world of sport. My dream is to see ultimate on television and at the olympics in our truest in original form – With women and men competing at equal levels and with Spirit Of The Game at the forefront. I am proud to be a part of a community that cares so deeply about respect and equity. This is why I love ultimate, and this is why I’m so excited about our future.

What’s you thoughts about ultimate frisbee cleats?

Throughout my ultimate career I’ve tried every kind of cleat. Based on trial and error, I have narrowed down my top must-haves in cleat selection. Here are the qualities I value most in priority order:

  1. Comfort – This comes down to the fit and feel of the cleat. I am a woman, so my feet are a different shape than men’s feet, and I found I could not wear men’s cleats due to this difference in foot shape. I also have narrower feet, so I found that certain brands were not as comfortable just based on the fact that they were marginally too wide for my feet.
  2. Stability – This comes down to the stub pattern. I found that I slipped a lot when playing in blade-style studs, and that triangle-studs or a variety of stud shapes helped me achieve greater stability when accelerating, changing direction, and decelerating.
  3. Style – I love wearing #blackandyellow to represent my club team, Vancouver Traffic. In fact, I wear black and yellow socks now as well as a yellow headband and black armbands. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the right pair of cleats that meet my comfort and stability requirements and are also stylishly black and yellow. I hope that my dream will one day come true!

Credits : Tino Tran Photography

Rena’s timeline

  • 2004
    • Began playing with high school team, Tight
  • 2006
    • 1st Place at Canadian Ultimate Championships in Junior Division, BC Pyro
  • 2007
    • 1st Place at Canadian Ultimate Championships in Junior Division, BC Backbone
    • 2nd Place at Canadian University Ultimate Championships in Women’s Division, McGill University
  • 2008
    • 4th Place at World Ultimate & Guts Championships in Junior Women’s Division, U20 Team Canada
  • 2010
    • 4th Place at U23 World Ultimate Championships in Women’s Division, U23 Team Canada
  • 2011
    • 2nd Place at Canadian Ultimate Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
    • 5th Place at USAU National Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
  • 2012
    • 11th Place at USAU D-1 College Championships in Women’s Division, UBC Thunderbirds
    • 1st Place at Canadian Ultimate Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
    • 9th Place at USAU National Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
  • 2013
    • 5th Place at USAU D-1 College Championships in Women’s Division, UBC Thunderbirds
    • 1st Place at Canadian Ultimate Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
    • 7th Place at USAU National Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
  • 2014
    • 5th Place at World Ultimate Club Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
    • 7th Place at USAU National Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
  • 2015
    • 1st Place at Canadian Ultimate Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
    • 5th Place at USAU National Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic
  • 2016
    • 6th Place at USAU National Championships in Women’s Division, Vancouver Traffic