Here are Fourkast we are happy to announce our Year End Best of 2009 List! It’s been an interesting year in our sport, filled with comebacks and transitions. Aside from the launch of Fourkast itself, we have taken notice that the sport of freestyle footbag is beginning to enter into another generational transition. From experience, this is a transition that occurs once every seven to ten years. These next few years should be very exciting as the sport again evolves. Here at Fourkast, we are honored to be a part of this next stage. Now we present what is to become an annual event, our Best Of Year End List. The list was compiled and voted upon by a selected panel of informed people in the community. Many thanks for their input and attention in the sport. Here are the categories. Enjoy!
2009 Videos of the Year
As usually, we saw quite a few great videos submitted from every corner of the globe. If the next generation is in fact on the rise, it can be said that the status quo freestylers and film makers did a great job holding it down for one more year. Though there were far less video submissions from the top guys, what they did release was quite impressive. Quality over quantity it would seem!
Best Raw Shred: ‘Pittsburgh Hack’ by David Clavens
The question it seems everyone is wondering is “how much are the top guys playing these days?” Sure, there wasn’t as much this year from Jim Penske, David Clavens, Vasek Klouda, and Jorden Moir. But the few video submissions we have seen are still impressive and inspiring. In one short video, David Clavens showed that whether he is in fact practicing or not, his game is still precise and unyielding. The technical mastery is undeniable as the Cleaver cranks out one impressive combo after another. Thus, we are happy to say that the video ‘David In Pittsburgh’ is our top choice for Best Raw Shred Video of 2009. We wish you a long freestyle footbag career David!
Best Edited: ‘Reindeer Games’ by Jere Vainikka
It really came as no surprise to anyone that Jere Vainikka’s Reindeer Games was an amazing short film. Long ago Jere impressed with his production abilities; included in this resume is the professional DVD ‘Bringing Out the Shred’. Though he doesn’t freestyle as much anymore, Jere has a wealth of top footbag players to pull from, this time around utilizing the skills of Juho Marjo, Mikko Lepistö and Pekka Raitio. The eventual shred is top notch of course, but what takes the award is Vainikka’s masterful shooting and editing of the short film. Armed with a Sony EX1, the film is crystal clear high definition. It becomes apparent that Jere and crew carefully mapped out the project; from using multiple locations to enacting a script, the end results are glorious. Once again Vainikka’s work tells a story, this time with a humorous spin (how did they utilize that squirrel?) All in all, this professionally shot video takes the cake in terms of production values, and easily wins our award for Best Edited Footbag Video for 2009. We can’t wait for the next one Jere!
2009 Event of the Year
The 2009 World Footbag Championships
Hosted by the FC Footstar Berlin Footbag Club, these guys went all out to produce a memorable and professionally run tournament. They have garnered nothing but great reviews for their ability to tightly manage the event. The organizers were able to pull off that tricky balancing act of catering to both the players and to the public during their tournament. Finals for freestyle were held in front of a massive cheering audience in the middle of a popular music festival in Berlin. While the competitors performed on stage, the event was Ustreamed across the web. Attendance was strong and the shred was good throughout the week, leading many players to proclaim the 2009 Worlds as one of the best events they had attended yet. We are entitled to agree, our own correspondents Jay Boychuk and Nick Landes both gave rave reviews of the event. For this, we are happy to give this year’s World Footbag Championships the title of 2009 Event of the Year. Our hats off to the Berlin footbag group; many thanks for continuing this great event with style and professionalism!
Watch Vasek Klouda’s winning performance routine at the 2009 World Footbag Championships
Read Jay Boychuk’s write up on Worlds here;
2009 Moment of the Year
Vasek Klouda’s 166 Contact Run at Worlds
This Vasek clip I like to refer to as ‘The Reminder’. 2008 wasn’t the greatest footbag year for Mr. Klouda, but in 2009, he managed to make the statement that he is still in it and kicking. Vasek dominated the 2009 Worlds Circle competition with many great runs. This combo in particular seemed like a walk in the park to him, but to everyone else it was in fact a reminder of the greatness of Klouda. After 2008, the public was not sure what Vasek’s level of interest was in footbag, or if he was even practicing to any degree. As many freestylers know, your ability to execute a great routine and your ability bring a high level of circle shred can be two completely different things. Everyone is aware Vasek can pull out an amazing routine if so inclined, but this year people had wondered if he would be up for the task of the Circle competition. Just like that he answered, and with this combo the community was reassured that the great Vasek Klouda can still crank it out as he wishes. Thankfully the epic moment was filmed, and the community is better off for having seen it. It’s still inspiring to see how effortless it can be for one individual to play freestyle footbag. There are a few players that can execute such long combos, but fewer yet that can perform them with the ease that Klouda does. For this and the attention the moment garnered, we are happy to award Moment of the Year for 2009 to Vasek Klouda’s 166 contact run, AKA ‘The Reminder’.
2009 Freestyle Footbag Career Achievement Award
Who better to start this award category off with than the man who shaped the game to what it is today? Without going into the vast laundry list of Mr. Shults’ achievements, we instead choose to sum up some of his ‘greatest hits’ in the sport. Here are just a few:
-Multiple Time World Footbag Champion (6 times for freestyle), 45 times in all categories
-Over 100 event titles won
-Pioneer of pushing the combo system in freestyle footbag
-Inventor of countless freestyle tricks and fundamental components
-One of the first Big Add Posse Members
-Footbag Hall of Fame Member
-Creator of the Tricks of the Trade instructional videos
-Footbag career spanning more than thirty years
The sport simply would not be where it is without the groundbreaking work of Kenny Shults. Footbag took a leap forward with his achievements; every freestyle footbag player has elements in their game that can be traced back to Kenny’s advancements. Much respect to Mr. Shults for being a true athlete and Pioneer. Kenny is also Fourkast’s choice of Greatest Freestyle Footbag Player of All Time! It is an honor to award Kenny Shults the Freestyle Footbag Career Achievement Award for 2009.
You can read more about Mr. Shults in this article;
Player of the Decade (2000’s)
Like Kenny Shults, Vasek Klouda’s influence on the game of freestyle footbag is undeniable. There certainly are similarities between the two regarding freestyle advancement. In both cases, (Kenny in the 1980’s, Klouda in the 2000’s) freestyle footbag was amazingly pushed forward with their accomplishments. Just as one would conclude Kenny Shults and Peter Irish to be the quintessential players of the 1980’s and 1990’s, there is no doubt that Klouda has earned the title for this era. Starting in 2000, Vasek’s rise to fame was meteoric; by the time he won his first Worlds title in 2002, he was still only 15 years old. From there Klouda set an unprecedented run as six time consecutive World Footbag Champion. Vasek has broken countless freestyle records; his advancement of tripless, fearless, and beastly combinations is legendary. Vasek has also received the greatest amount of exposure for freestyle footbag since Kenny, having shown up in more than a few commercials, videos, and television performances. Klouda has been so iconic that many of the newer freestyle players couldn’t imagine a world before him; for almost a solid decade Vasek has simply dominated the game. For being a source of inspiration to countless freestyle footbag players over the last ten years, Mr. Klouda easily earns the title of Freestyle Player of the Decade. Many thanks Vasek; you are truly one of the greatest stars freestyle footbag has ever known!
Here are some of Vasek’s greatest hits in video:
2009 Player of the Year
There were a lot of breakout freestylers this last year, possibly a sign of the changing times in footbag. One player in particular has had an explosive year in terms of freestyle advancements, exposure, and contributions to the community. That player is the inspiring Anssi Sundberg. Heralding from Finland (which is reputed for churning out great players), Mr. Sundberg has been known for a few years as a rising star in footbag. In 2009, much of his hard work earned the recognition it deserved. Consistently throughout the past year, the footbag community has been served up with video after video of impressive ‘Anz’ shred. These videos acted as inspiration to the community, reminiscent of Jorden Moir’s video work in 2005. As many could only speculate on the status of other top players, Anssi was kind enough to keep the community updated with his progress. Aside from the continuous shred videos that have been released over the year, the popular Anz’ Trikz instructional videos have acted as inspiration to many players getting into the sport. Along with this ‘freestyle video soul food’ for the community, Anssi also has worked to promote the sport, and stayed active behind the scenes helping to further the footbag cause. At Fourkast, we were lucky enough to publish some of his upcoming work, truly a precursor of things to come. In terms of exposure, Sundberg certainly takes the cake. As many of the other top freestylers were less prominent in 2009, Anssi was a light that kept the community excited to stay tuned into the forums, footbag.org, youtube, and even Fourkast. Though Mr. Sundberg had a high profile status this year, there certainly wasn’t any undeserved hype. This Finnish player has continued to elevate his technical abilities, hitting some of the most impressive moves and combinations this year. With clarity and confidence, Sundberg represented his country and the sport at the 2009 World Footbag Championships in Berlin, taking sixth in the open singles freestyle division. Along with two other newer freestyle sensations (Milan Benda and Nick Landes), Anssi was appropriately inducted into the Big Add Posse as well. It’s been a great year for Mr. Sundberg, and though it seems this quality freestyler is everywhere these days, it’s our belief at Fourkast that he is just getting started. Expect great things from this young lad in the next year, both in terms of his freestyle game and commitment to promotion. A shining example of the new school at it’s best; our hats off to Anssi Sundberg, who is now awarded the title of 2009 Player of the Year. Keep up the great work Anz!
Anssi Sundberg at the 2009 World Footbag Championships
Here are just a few of the many, many videos of Anssi Sundberg from this year. We have also attached a few articles published earlier this year regarding Mr. Sundberg.
Thanks to all of the people in the footbag community for helping to promote the sport. Much appreciation to the people who contibuted media to this article, as well as the Fourkast staff for their continued dedication. We are excited to see what 2010 has to offer!