As 2010 draws to a close, we are happy to say it’s been another fun year in freestyle footbag. A great Worlds came and went, we had the ‘Summer of Footbag’ leading up to it, and there was some great promotion. Once again Fourkast is happy to release its Year End Best Of list, many thanks to the people who helped with its construction. Here we go!
2010 Videos of the Year:
Best Raw Shred Video: Autumn by David Clavens
Was there even a question? David has been busy this year, not just in footbag, but in life as well (moving to California, starting a new job with Google). Footbag-wise, he has been very productive in 2010. One of his accomplishments is the great end of the year video entitled Autumn, which destroys people’s mindset about the boundaries of technical freestyle footbag. David displays with no ego that he is undoubtedly the greatest technical shredder in the world at the moment, many of his combos are simply amazing in their execution and difficulty. This video inspired a great amount of players in the scene, and we are sure it will become a classic for future generations to look back on. The best thing is that Autumn may be the beginning of a series of freestyle videos released by Mr. Clavens himself. Great stuff!
Best Edited Video: Footbag Fanatics by Juan Miguel
This is a beautiful piece of video editing by a student at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig and Universidad Politecnica de Valencia. Juan’s work in Motion is impressive to say the least, we have never seen anything like it. His use of effects is masterful, if you haven’t seen it we guarantee it will impress. Great stuff Juan, we look forward to your future footbag projects!
Also a shout out to Jorden Moir and Jay Boychuk’s Badassery: 100 Moves You’ve Never Seen. It is creatively groundbreaking, and definitely worth multiple viewings. You can learn more about it here;
Event of the Year
It is almost cliché to state that the World Footbag Championships is the event of the year, but it is a well earned cliché. Held in Oakland California by our good friend Mr. Chris Ott (with the help of Steve Goldberg and Eric Wulff, just a few of many contributors), this event was a reminder of what a great scene we have. Case in point, the perceptive minds on the Worlds staff were kind enough to book the event room (a massive expo hall) for a full twenty four hours a day during the event. That means the nice carpeted freestyle area and padded footbag net courts were up and running 24/7, leading people into playing and socializing all day and night. From this there were many great late night stories involving good shred and other. Aside from the late night music, dancing, card playing, video games and never ending footbag (Dylan Fry won the award for last kicker standing, played a few days at 6-7 hours straight), the actually tournament was a great success. Its execution was dead on, props again to the tournament directors for a great job. Within freestyle footbag, there were certainly some competition highlights, including Nick Landes’ Semi Finals Routine, Tina Aerberli’s Winning Routine, David Claven’s Masterful 2nd Place Routine, and of course Milan Benda’s great finals routine (more on that in a moment). There were many impressive performances from this event, these are just a few examples. Another highlight was the induction of Evan Gatesman (now deemed ‘The Silencer’) into the Big Add Posse. Great work Evan! We hope every Worlds can at least meet the quality of this last year’s event, it was simply a roaring good time. Our hats off to the tournament organizers and the IFPA!
Promoter of the Year
Jan (Honza) Weber
It’s been a great year for our long time friend Honza Weber. For a few years there we weren’t sure what direction Jan was going, meaning he seemed to be at a crossroads in our sport before 2010. Some rumors said he was gradually stepping out, some said secretly training. But in this last year, Honza confirmed that not only is he still on the map as a player, but also has been showing his worth as a tireless promoter of the sport. Honza’s been everywhere this year, from commercials to online video games, high profile demos, and of course great shred videos. He has also performed well at all of the events he attended this year, taking 4th at the World Footbag Championships, 2nd at the European Footbag Championships and 1st in the Czech Footbag Championships. This was good exposure already, but then Honza went the extra mile and really started working to get the word out about our fine sport. More recently, he flew to southern California to team up with Nucleus Footwear to promote and demo at the Tony Hawk Stand Put for Skateparks fund raiser event. It looked like a great time, with some very good exposure. During that same time he also shot the new Shred Sessions online video game, which is a lot of fun. If that wasn’t enough, he also traveled quite a bit doing exhibitions in Europe, North America, and Asia. We have always had a great respect for Mr. Weber’s abilities as a player and organizer, it is good to see him graduate to this next step! Great stuff Honza, your work energizing the community is greatly appreciated!
Here is a quick playlist of Honza’s activity over the last year.
Moment of the Year
Milan Benda Worlds Finals Routine
This was an exceptional moment for freestyle footbag in 2010. Milan had been on the rise for a couple of years, placing high in various freestyle events and making a name for himself as a top player in the community. Worlds 2010 marked another milestone for this young player, he would ascend to the thrown of World Champion with an amazingly executed/technically difficult routine. If this wasn’t impressive on it’s own, it can be said the circumstances leading up to the routine lent acclaim to Benda’s victory. Going into finals, he was seeded last and therefore the first to perform in that final pool. To Kenny Shults’ knowledge, no one has ever come back from the last spot in finals to win a Worlds. Milan apparently didn’t get the memo (or more appropriately rejected it), and threw down a jaw dropping masterpiece of a routine. The drop count was zero, the execution and difficulty were very impressive, and the judges and crowd were floored by the performance. A standing ovation went up as Milan sealed his routine, and with that he had thrown down the gauntlet to his fellow finalist competitors. Soon his accomplishment was carved into the history books, not just for the stunning win, but also for the comeback from last spot to seal the victory. It was not only a shinning moment showing what hard work and dedication can accomplish, but also a message to never give up whatever the odds. Our gratitude to Milan Benda, who truly created a classic moment in the history of freestyle footbag, one that will not easily be forgotten.
Player of the Year
In many ways David was in the same boat as Jan Weber. For a few years now people have wondered what the status of this great freestyler would be. In 2004 Clavens first received notice when he won the Intermediate singles division at the World Footbag Championships in Montreal. From there, it was a quick rise to fame; by 2005 David was putting out impressive freestyle videos documenting his advancements. By 2006, he was one of the top players in North America, and became the first US Champion for the new generation. David continued to dominate over the years, but as time went on his focus and interests expanded outside of footbag. School and career were taking hold, and leading up to 2010 David wasn’t seen quite as much. This last year however proved to be something different for the young player. Instead of tapering off, David stepped up his effort to improve his own game. Over the years, many now iconic players have contributed different elements to the scene; whether it was Kenny Shults and Rick Reese bringing invention to the game, or Peter Irish showing the beauty of performance and execution, or Lon Smith’s insanely creative abilities boosting the scene, each top player has offered something unique to the game that is remembered. For David, it is simply his jaw dropping technical combos that have made a clear impression in the community. Many believe him to be the best circle shredder in the world right now, his display of raw power in his combos are a testament to this. Clavens brings the thunder like no other since Vasek from days of old, David is quite simply a machine in execution and form. Representing nerves of steel, the Cleaver has shown time and again he cannot be shaken by anything or anyone, in competition or the circle. For performance routines, David had a great year, winning some key events, including the European Footbag Championships, and the final Funtastik Summer Classic. He very narrowly was edged out by Milan Benda at the 2010 World Footbag Championships, where he also threw down a meticulous finals routine. In Circle competition, he is almost undefeated, and is the current World Champion of that event (he also is the current Shred 30 World Champion). Outside of competition, David has taken part in a few good promotional events, including the Tony Hawk Stand Up for Skateparks demo. Wherever and whatever David is doing, all one has to do is watch his freestyle game to understand David’s state in footbag right now, it speaks volumes on its own. Case in point, at the end of the year Clavens released Autumn, almost nine minutes of stunning cutting edge game play. This video quickly inspired the community, and showed what the boundaries of freestyle footbag are right now. It’s our belief here at Fourkast that this video is a marker, and hopefully it will set the new standard that freestylers will reach for. David’s game is inspiring, and along with his overall achievements, great exposure, and dedication to pushing the level of the sport this last year, we are happy to say that David ‘The Cleaver’ Clavens is now Fourkast’s 2010 Player of the Year. Great stuff for sure, whatever the future holds for Mr. Clavens we are happy to have witnessed his fine work this last year!
Freestyle Footbag Career Achievement Award
Simply put, Lon Smith is a creative genius. No one would argue that, he has had a very long track record of excellence in the game. Beginning in the early 1990′s, Lon was first and foremost a casual kicker, playing in circles and with other ‘hacky sackers’ in his home town of Grass Vally California. After some odd years, Lon began to slowly transition his foundational circle kicking game into freestyle footbag. He soon connected to Toby Robinson and Dave Hillis, two of Grass Valley’s senior players. From there, Lon began to build what can be described as a new natural style of play, almost unseen before that point. Lon mixed his circle kicking roots with new school technicality to create a completely new hybrid style of play. Elements such as Ducks, Dives, and Spins had existed previous to Lon, but it was his ‘outside the box’ execution of these concepts that really put them on the map with the new school. In many ways Lon is the most natural player freestyle footbag has known, and from various interviews he has revealed that his perception of the game is simply different than most players. In this regard Smith is almost an anomaly in our sport. He is incredibly talented despite not having the typical physical build that many top players do (shorter, lighter, low center of balance), and does not think technically as many other top players do. Contrary to these points Lon has stood out from the pack for many years as an innovator and inspiration. Where many players have developed a set rhythm in their game play, Smith constantly changes his style, sometimes during the combo itself. In this regard it can be said he is formless in his style. Lon has won a great amount of freestyle tournaments over the years, and though he has never bagged the title of World Champion, he has gained much of the respect that would go with that title. In 2000, Lon was inducted into the Big Add Posse in Vancouver BC. In 2001, most considered him to be the best player in the world. Every few years since then Lon has resurfaced (mainly at Worlds) to show the masses that he has only grown better with time. Much like the wise guru descending from the mountain to impart his knowledge, Lon continues to show wisdom and amazing ability in his game. Just recently at the 2010 World Footbag Championships, Smith once again reminded people that he was still a top tier player in circles and routines. His first round performance routine was an astonishing masterpiece, for which Kenny Shults immediately remarked it to be the best routine he had ever seen. High praise for sure. For this reminder, and all of Lon’s wonderful accomplishments over his long years in freestyle footbag, we are happy to give the award of Freestyle Footbag Achievement to this great innovative player. Hats off to Lon Smith, a true master of footbag and a player for the ages. We look forward to another 20 excellent years from this iconic freestyer!
Well, that’s it for this year. We look forward to a new and exciting year coming up, there are many great things on the horizon for freestyle footbag. Until next time, see you in the circles!