SPEEDMINTON: Portable game is ‘exercise disguised as fun’ (photos)

SURREY — I first played badminton as a wee tyke and, apart from a brief hiatus as a prototypical surly teenager, have continued to play it throughout my life. It’s a superb casual sport where one need not spend a lot of money (a decent racquet runs $50) or be ungodly big, tall or steroid-enhanced to become proficient and have a heckuva good time.

One problem: If you don’t join an indoor league somewhere, you’re forced to set up your own court/net, and you’re usually also forced to play outside, where even a mild breeze will wreak havoc on the object of the game, the birdie.

Enter "speedminton."

Born in Germany in 2002, speedminton is badminton shaken to its core, altered and warped and X-Games-ified to better suit the reality of today.

In speedminton, there is no net. In its place are two 18-foot "squares," marked on the ground 42 feet apart from each other with tape or cones. Players score points by landing the "speeder" (a smaller, weightier, wind-resistant birdie variant) inside their opponent’s square.

It’s a far more portable setup than badminton, and becomes even more so if participants opt to do away with a court and simply smack the speeder back and forth — on a beach, say, or a mountaintop. Or wherever. Talk about adaptable.

The racquets are different, too. Forget the long handles and teeny tiny heads of their badminton counterparts. The speedminton ones are shorter and faster, with a massive sweet spot.

But does it make for a better game? Certainly it doesn’t put such an emphasis on trickery; the dainty drop shots of badminton are not to be found here.

But, as evidenced by the scores of folks who tried speedminton for the very first time at the recent South Surrey Community Festival, it’s a ton of fun nonetheless.

On hand was Kim Matthews of M4 Ideas (Speedminton.ca), the Canadian distributor of speedminton gear. Kim, along with other instructors, doled out the equipment, gave a quick five-minute tutorial and sent the players into battle.

Virtually everyone who jumped in grabbed the concept right away — one of the beauties of the sport.

And then up stepped this humble reporter — the badminton player from way back. My first shot went 20 feet over the head of the opponent. Within five minutes, though, we’d had a thrilling 16-shot rally and at least two distinct moments of glory.

As Kim had forecast, adhering to the boundaries seemed secondary to keeping the speeder in the air.

"Speedminton is exercise disguised as fun," she said. "The bonus is that people of any age, any stage of physical literacy can play the game."

And as I trudged away to my next assignment, I looked back at the action, wishing I was still in the middle of it.

• The third World Speedminton Championship will take place from Aug. 28 to 30 in Berlin.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read