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Ultimate Discs: WFDF, USAU approved?! What do all these mean?

Discraft Ultimate Singapore

Photo by John Kofi on Unsplash

Discraft Ultrastar Discs are pretty much synonymous with the Ultimate Game and we’re pretty sure you have at least one ultrastar in your stash! Lately however, we’ve been getting questions from customers on the difference between discs from other brands that we carry - Is it OEM? Is it approved? Does it fly the same way?

We got around to digging how frisbee discs are certified and who actually certifies them.


World Flying Disc Federation Ultimate Frisbee

All these while, we initially just assumed that the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is the one doing the certification process for frisbee discs as they are the international governing body for the sport of Ultimate, after all. 

It kind of makes sense right? For example, FIFA does the certifications for the soccer balls that are used in competitions worldwide. So, it's probably the same with Ultimate Discs?

Nope, we are wrong. First, let's take a look at what WFDF is!

World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF)

The WFDF governs the sport of Ultimate in the world (and other flying discs sports) and it comprises of 86 member associations. However, it relies on the certification work of two of its member associations for frisbee disc approval - USA Ultimate for ultimate frisbees and Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) for disc golf discs. 

 USA Ultimate Frisbee Singapore

USA Ultimate (USAU)

Initially founded as the Ultimate Players Association, USA Ultimate (USAU) is a not-for-profit organisation that serves as the governing body of Ultimate in United States. It is a member of the World Flying Disc Federation.

Confused yet?

Let's put it into a Singaporean context and relate it to a sport a lot of us enjoy - football. 

USAU is very much like a national sport organisation - similar to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), which overlooks the sport of football in Singapore. The FAS is a member of a larger international organisation that governs the sport of soccer worldwide, which is FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association). In the ultimate frisbee context, FIFA is akin to the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF). 

Pancit Sports Store SingaporeNope, we're not referring to the the FIFA game! FIFA is actually a real organisation!

Okay, back to the certification process.

USA Ultimate manages an approval process that certifies frisbee discs for various levels of game play. Besides meeting physical standards such as size and weight requirements, discs would have to go through a multi-level player review to ensure that they have acceptable flight characteristics and meet other technical standards such as a comfortable grip and reasonable catchability.

Levels of Approval

Frisbee discs that are approved are accepted into two levels – general approval and championship approval.

  • General approval: The disc is good enough for league, non-championship tournament play and for USA Ultimate member’s general use. May or may not be USA affiliated.
  • Championship approval: Good enough for use in high level ultimate competition. Good enough to play in USA Ultimate Championship events and associated events.

Here's the list of Championship-approved discs on USAU's website

  • ARIA Ultimate Disc – Hot Stamp
  • ARIA Ultimate Disc – Full Color
  • Discraft UltraStar, Westland Mold – Hot Stamp
  • Discraft UltraStar, Westland Mold – Supercolor Center
  • Discraft UltraStar, Web Mold – Hot Stamp
  • Discraft UltraStar, Web Mold – Supercolor Center
  • Discraft UltraStar, Web Mold II – Hot Stamp
  • Discraft UltraStar, Web Mold II – Supercolor Center
  • Daredevil Gamedisc – Hot Stamp
  • Eurodisc 175g 4.0 Organic – Hot Stamp
  • X-COM Ultimate Standard – Hot Stamp
  • Yikun UltiPro – Hot Stamp 

XCOM Ultimate Disc and Daredevil Ultimate Gamedisc

As you can see, XCOM discs and Daredevil discs are on that 'Championship-approved' list together with the Discraft Ultrastars.

Xcom Ultimate disc Pancit Sports See the words 'WFDF approved' on the XCOM disc?

On their discs, it was also printed that they are 'WFDF-approved', but that just means more or less the same thing because WFDF actually follows USAU for their certification! We can only guess that they printed those words to just reassure players that their products are certified by international governing body for game play.


White Discraft Singapore

Why are the Ultrastars so widely used then?

One word: branding!

First created and introduced to tournament play in 1981, The Ultrastar sport disc was selected as the official disc of USA Ultimate ten years later. Since then, it has grown to be a well-recognised brand name and model and is used around the world as the standard disc. Everyone trusts the Discraft Ultrastars!

Now that you know that these discs are all certified to the highest standard, why do you choose Discraft?

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