This year marks my 10th anniversary of playing freestyle footbag.
I was first exposed to footbag through my older cousin Andrew, an old school freestyler that had played throughout the late 90s and early 2000s primarily in our local Edmonton hack circle scene. He had all his basic stalls and kicks down and could link around the worlds, clippers, mirages, legovers, and osis with ease. During my late teen years Andrew started bring me out to kick with him every once and a while, but I didn’t get into freestyle until later. My first footbag was a twisted Hacky Sack brand footbag that my mom bought me and my kicking record plateaued at about 30 for a few years. Our favorite kicking location was West Edmonton Mall (at one time the largest mall in the world). Our most frequent spot in the mall was a large indoor stage, but we often moved from one spot to another to avoid getting kicked out by security.
After watching Tricks of the Trade 2 and Vasek’s 2003 world finals routine it finally clicked for me that I might be able to learn stalls and tricks too. My cousin helped me buy some leather lavers (actually available in a local SportChek!) and a dirty juice facile footbag. The leather lavers were okay to start with, but I didn’t know how to modify them and I quickly plateaued with toe and inside stalls.
By this time I was mad hooked and needed to find more people to play with. I was stoked to find on the club section of footbag.org that Edmonton already had a club called EdShred. According to my email records I had my first session with Kevin Regamey (toe shuffler extraordinaire) and Jared Adam (tiltless/guiltless sandal player) on Jan 19th, 2004. At the time I was only able to hit basic stalls (toe, inside, neck) and a few basic tricks (around the world and legover). My biggest trick at the time was a humongous midtime illusion. They quickly pointed out that I should switch to mesh lavers and after ordering some navy blue ones from worldfootbag.com my game quickly took off:
My first footbag video from Spring 2004 with commentary.
Shortly after that video we decided to rename the club to something catchier and that’s how ShrEdmonton was born. 10 years later I am the only active player left in Edmonton, but as long as I keep playing the club will live on.
There have been many changes in Footbag and the community over the years, but I can’t emphasize enough the impact the early content creators such as Eli Piltz (Flipsider.com), Sam Colclough (Summer Falling series), and Erik Chan (Hackrifice) had on myself and other new players in the early 2000s. They made Footbag look cool and provided resources to make it accessible to beginners such as myself. As a measure of appreciation and in the hopes of inspiring new players I plan to contribute to the community with the following types of content:
- History of Footbag in Edmonton and prairies
- Reposting older videos that many current players probably have never seen
- Equipment and DIY tutorials
- Guide to building training programs and use of training software
- Tournament write-ups
- Concept and style videos
A cutout from my grade 12 high school year book.
Written by Rory Dawson