SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. — On Sunday, April 25, the Los Angeles Kubb Club hosted their fifth annual West Coast Kubb Championships in South Pasadena. After missing the 2020 tournament due to the pandemic, the Southern California kubb community was very excited to be back at Orange Grove Park playing the game that they love with their friends and neighbors.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions limiting public events and quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors, this year’s tournament was small by recent standards—limited by the club to 16 teams of two compared to the 39 teams that competed in the 2019 championships. Fortunately, the energy in the park didn’t suffer with the smaller crowd. Players of all ages and abilities competed for the six coveted surfboard trophies as the music played, neighbors caught up with one-another, and fun was had.
Following the Klassic format and using Keystone Kubb’s Tournament Director software, the tournament started off with five seeding rounds in the morning to determine standings for the afternoon playoffs. The top eight teams after morning play would play full best-of-three matches in the championship bracket, while the bottom eight teams filled out the silver bracket, playing single game elimination matches. Undefeated and in top form at the end of the seeding rounds, the Twins (Wayne Busick, Rich Fineza) found themselves atop the leaderboard in first place going into afternoon play.
With Fineza’s drilling and Busick’s blasting on point and both players throwing well at 8 meters, the Twins didn’t lose a single game all day until their semi-final encounter with K’Bam (Brett Barnard, Eric Neu). After losing game one, however, the Twins were able to come back to win the match and earn their place in the finals against the Kubbix Rubes (Marshall Dostal, John Pettersson).
The final showdown proved to be a competitive and exciting affair, finding the Kubbix Rubes and Twins very evenly matched. Both teams were playing at the top of their games and the few dozen spectators that stuck around to watch the championship were rewarded with some very exciting kubb! With consistent drilling and baton throwing on both sides, game one progressed steadily to 10 kubbs in play. Game one drama included a rare, crowd-pleasing neighbor drilled by Pettersson and a crucial missed opportunity by the Twins to clinch victory when a final baseline kubb was missed with their second-to-last baton.
The second game was just as competitive as the first, with neither team pulling too far ahead. The Rubes at one point, made the same red-zone error as the Twins made in game one, missing a crucial chance at victory. In the end, the Kubbix Rubes took game two, avenging their morning loss to the Twins, and hoisting the West Coast Championships trophy.
Another highlight of the day came when, earlier in the afternoon, the Termites (Monika Petrillo, Karie Reynolds) found themselves in the longest match of the tournament. With 10 kubbs in play in their semi-final match against Stupendous, Livin’ in this Kubb (Grady McFerrin, Andrew Vogel) the game reached its 45-minute time limit, and then continued through their 15 minute extension period. At this point, feeling they were outmatched, Vogel and McFerrin offered to concede the game to the Termites, but to the surprise and delight of onlookers, Petrillo and Reynolds declined their opponent’s concession, hoping for a more satisfying and legitimate victory. Tournament officials conferred and decided to employ the little known Accelerated Kubb Match Rules in order to break the stalemate and nudge the match to a fair conclusion. After only two kubbs were removed from play under the accelerated rules, the Termites were able to clear the field and win the epic game. Petrillo and Reynolds then went on to beat Kubbulus (Cliff Houser, Ken Houser) in a decidedly less dramatic fashion to win the Silver Bracket.
Photos courtesy of L.A. Kubb Club