Oct 25

We posted about our sponsorship for this event in September, and we’ve rounded up video from the event to share with you! Enjoy! :)

Ivan, you can see, traveled to the event from Penn State University in Pennsylvania.  Ivan’s video footage is pretty much entirely from Saturday, the first day of the event.  It is a nice mix of footage from competition, casual shredding, and just the general scenery and crowd.

 

Molson Hart did a bunch of filming on the 2nd day, Sunday.  His footage is pretty much entirely of the competitive events, and its pretty much unedited, except that he broke the videos out into different videos of different events, or, videos of individuals performing their solo competitive routines.  He has a whole bunch of videos on his YouTube channel. Here are a couple of the videos of the individual freestyle routines from Sunday:

 

 

 

 

The Kikbo Company which was also there promoting the Chinese sport of Shuttlecock also has a ton of videos from the event, as well as some very exciting videos of their hybrid shuttlecocks in action!

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheKikboCompany

Oct 25

This is a ReBlog of a newspaper article about the Cleveland Circus:

 

Cleveland jugglers attend flip fest at Case

EnlargeThomas Ondrey, The Plain DealerJuggler Chris Moran concentrates on his club passing while attending The Cleveland Circus, a juggling convention hosted by Case Western Reserve University on Sat. Oct. 20, 2012. (Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

Without a trace of anger, Owen Smith and Lynn Hay spent part of Saturday resolutely hurling clubs at each other.

They were surrounded by others tossing large rings, cigar boxes, clubs and balls of various sizes toward the ceiling of Adelbert Gym on the Case Western Reserve University campus.

It was all part of a free event called the Cleveland Circus, which continues today until 3 p.m. The CWRU Juggling Club organized the weekend, drawing around 60 jugglers from around the country.

Jonathan Duff, the club’s president, said it will be back next year.

Mid afternoon, Jessica Rutsky of Solon gave a tutorial on cigar boxes. The idea is to manipulate three or more as one might move books on a shelf. But the only thing holding them aloft are a pair hands, one at each end of a horizontal stack.

“I’m going to be a juggling doctor,” she said, very much in earnest. She will enter medical school next year, but does not know which one yet. Some of her inspiration came from a pediatric neurosurgeon at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, whom she shadowed while still in high school.

“He was also an Elvis impersonator,” she said. That didn’t inspire the juggling, but influenced her career choice and demonstrated that there are many forms of bedside manner.

Rutsky took up juggling at Solon High School and pursued it with more vigor while majoring in biology and Spanish at Vanderbilt University.

Aaron Bonk, a former Cuyahoga County resident, taught Devil sticks late Saturday morning. Two are held much as one would grasp a pair of drumsticks. A third stick is tossed, spun, twirled and otherwise kept in constant motion by manipulating the hand-held sticks.

He’s gone pro, lives in Clearwater, Fla., and his repertoire includes balls, sticks, clubs, knives, a chainsaw, fire, and whip cracking.

There were actually two skill sets on display at the gym, those of the jugglers, and also of a small group of vendors who cater to them.

Gregory Poche of Detroit had a range of juggling balls on display, in various sizes and colors. They are covered in a synthetic product called ultraleather that is more durable than the real thing. Some are filled with millet, a kind of birdseed, and others with plastic pellets.

He gave up a career in information technology and now sells his balls worldwide, he said. But he will not reveal his construction methods and never lets anybody watch him on the factory floor, which is wherever he happens to be sitting in his house.

Mitch Silver also made a career switch, abandoning a law practice to open a store in Erie, Pa. the specializes in juggling equipment. He makes some, has some specially made and also carries the products of other producers.

One of the more unusual products is wrought by the hands of Matthew Ray, a Bowling Green State University student. The juggling balls are made out of chain mail, originally a kind of medieval body armor composed of interlocking chain links. Ray’s are filled with a kind of gel and are big hits at Renaissance fairs.

Later in the day, Bonk did a workshop on hat tricks, which have nothing to do with three hockey goals. He showed how to pick up a hat with one foot and toss it onto your head, to flip a hat off the head and let it roll down the arm, and other feats that he associated with what he called gentlemen jugglers and debonair dance men, including Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.

Someone asked him how long it took to master the skill.

“I’ll let you know when I do,” he said with a self-deprecating laugh.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/10/post_63.html

Oct 25

Dirtbag®14-Panel Footbag

Our Dirtbag® 14-panel footbag is a unique design and was given a patent by the U.S Patent Office. This hacky sack combines squares and truncated hexagons in a unique way to produce the visual of a soccer ball. Diameter: 2.25″ Weight: 40-45 grams

 

Dirtbag® 14-Panel Footbag

Love this bag  Love this bag

It’s tough, well made, fun to play with but slightly different than a plastic or metal filled bag (not better or worse, but different). Fantastic bag. My biggest challenge will be not losing it, other than that these things last forever. — Ethan

Oct 22

Tossaball® Hybrid 2.45″ Ultra Suede Soft Juggle Ball

 

Tossaball® Hybrid 2.45″ Ultra Suede Soft Juggle Ball

Too good to toss  Too good to toss

They feel so good in your hands, you almost hate to toss ‘em, but when ya do…………you can’t wait to catch ‘em. — Grayson Gifford

Oct 16

This is another one of those amazing posts that we love so much:

Our fans test our products in amazing situations and report back to us on how they stand up in all kinds of weather and every season around the world. This time we’re hearing from Rhys Thomas in Abu Dhabi! Wow that’s a long way from our home here in Eugene, OR!! He says the balls are doing great in the heat and….well, just read it for yourself!!

 

Tossaball Phat Tyre 32-Panel Juggle Ball

All weather wonder balls  All weather wonder balls

I’m testing these at 113 Fahrenheit in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and they rock the casbah! My other props are suffering texture problems from the sweat, heat and humidity, but these invitingly soft Phat Tyre Tossaballs feel fab. I got my first Flying Clipper balls decades ago and they’re still whole and hearty. These new puppies arrived feeling like old friends and are surviving show after show after show. – Rhys Thomas

Oct 11

We were going through some old emails and found this amazing review one of our avid customers made a few years back. We haven’t changed our hybrid Tossaballs a bit since those days and we’re proud to say this review is still valid today as it ever was :)

Over the past couple of months I have had the privilege of testing and juggling of Flying Clipper’s
Tossaballs. The specific model I was using was their Hybrid 2.55” inch Orange Balls.

Flying Clipper can be found here: http://www.flyingclipper.com/

The specific ball I was using: http://www.flyingclipper.com/home/fly/page_752_87/tossaball_hybrid_2.55_tx_juggle_ball.html

I figure that rather than giving a typical review, I would present this as only I can, as a Behind the Juggler
interview with Jim Fitzgerald, President of Flying Clipper. So, “Behind the Juggler” proudly presents:

Behind the Balls: An Interview with Flying Clipper

Interviewer: It seems that Flying Clipper has a huge focus on footbagging, and understandably so from reading through your “About Us” and FAQ sections. When did the company start moving towards incorporating Juggling Bags as well?

Jim Fitzgerald: We have been making juggle balls since the very beginning. All if our footbag designs were enlarged to make juggle balls. As you have read, we (the partners) followed the footbag sport and competed at the world championship level but we have also been jugglers for fun. Most footbaggers juggle. Check out Peter Irish. He is doing the kind of movement that footbaggers have dreamed about for years. Using hands and feet together is what is fueling our latest line of products, the Hybrids.

Interviewer: How many workers does the company employ for the actual assembly of the bags?

Jim Fitzgerald:Right now about 20 people, the partners being retired from production sewing for a few years now, sewing more than 100,000 footbags and 50,000 juggle balls between them.

Interviewer: Obviously your bags have a high number of panels in comparison with other Juggling props on the market, what advantages do you see the extra panels give your bags?

Jim Fitzgerald:We have made juggle balls from four panel construction to sixty two panel construction. The roundest pattern we have found is the pentagonal dodecca hedron.. We also are designing a rhomboidal dodecca hedron for a near future release.

Interviewer: How do you find the process of designing and making juggling bags compares to footbags?

Jim Fitzgerald:Designing is the fun part, coming up with new ideas to make a better “mouse trap”. All of our products are hand made and therefore labor intensive. Juggle balls are as easy or difficult to design as footbags, but of course the parameters for each are different.

Interviewer: Explain about your concept of “hybrid” juggling balls, what makes them “hybrid”?

Jim Fitzgerald:Hybrids are our attempt to “crossover” as it were, and bridge the gap between hands and feet. Also hybrid juggle balls/footbags are an attempt to add heavy and light filler on the interior of the ball in an innovative way. The concept isolates heavy filler on the outside rim of the ball while light filler material on the interior gives the ball volume. Heavy filler material is trapped between two layers of fabric leaving most of the balls weight on the outside of the rim. The physics of such a design, we believe,gives the ball several advantages over all other hand made balls.

1. true flight
2. double durability (two layers of material)
3. rolls like a contact juggle ball
4. easy to stall
5. complete washability
6. keeps its shape

Interviewer: In my experience a lot of bags are filled with millet or a similar material, what fillings do the Tossaballs® use?

Footbags are filled with plastic pellets or sand. Our juggle balls traditionally have been filled with millet (seed) or plastic pellets. Millet never has set well with us because organic material breaks down, especially if it gets wet and also some people are allergic to millet, etc.. On the other hand plastic pellets usually do not give the juggle ball enough weight. Adding crushed rock adds enough weight to make a superior juggle ball.

Interviewer: Where did the name “Flying Clipper” originate?

Jim Fitzgerald: Our home town of Eugene, Oregon is the birth place of footbag freestyle. As far as anyone knows, the first footbag trick ever done was the flying clipper and that is how we took our name.

Interviewer: Tossaballs®”?

Jim Fitzgerald: Tossaball® is our registered trade name for our line of juggle balls and they are very “Tossable”. We considered other names but felt Tossaball® was the most playful.

Interviewer: I know your products have a lot of history behind them, so tell us about the history as well as awards and competitions that your products have won.

Jim Fitzgerald: As far as competitions or awards for our products, I cannot say, however we have been producing footbags and juggle balls for more than 26 years now. Approximately 20 years ago an article was sent to us that showed the results of several different manufacturers’ juggle balls being dropped from a ten
story building onto the street in Chicago. Ours was stated as the only one that survived the impact. We build our products to last. Rhys Thomas of the Portland (Oregon) jugglers has Flying Clipper juggle balls he has juggled that are more than 15 years old and are still going strong. Many pro jugglers and footbaggers come to our products because of our quality standards and our commitment to service. I guess that is more of a reward than an award but it keeps us going.

End of Interview

Needless to say, Flying Clipper creates incredibly durable and well made balls.

I might as well tell a little about my personal juggling ability so that anyone reading this can know where my opinions are originating. Juggling wise, I can juggle 7 balls, but I spend the vast majority of my time working on 3-5. I am particularly proud of some of my three ball work, but find no pattern more relaxing then a 5 ball cascade. As many jugglers know, the bulk of my time contributing to the juggling world is spent working on the Synergy Projects, as well as with my Behind the Juggler interviews.

As far as balls go, I have juggled my fair share since I started juggling. Originally I used “klutz” bags, and then moved on to lacrosse balls. I can most likely attribute the cleanness of my 5 ball pattern to the use of lacrosse balls and their tendency to fly away if even the slightest collision is made. After that I started
to make my own which was quite an experience unto itself. I made everything from 4 -8 paneled bags, though they were hardly ever spherical. I currently am using 6 panel fergie-like bags.

These hybrid Tossaballs are certainly bags that I could not even dream of making on my own. The intricate design patterns detailed above are simply a wonder to behold. Flying Clipper creates a bag that no other juggling company can, because they have the knowledge of footbaggers. I have had the privilege of watching Peter Irish perform and there is nothing quite like the kind of manipulation that footbaggers can accomplish when mixing juggling and footbagging. That is  exactly the idea that Flying Clipper is attempting to capture with their hybrid products. It is the fusion of footbags and juggling bags.

I personally do not footbag, and I so I bring a different perspective. I did wonder at first how these neon orange bags were going to hold up and handle. The first thing that of course deserves note is the fantastic color. I really needed something that would show up against both sky and gym, and these balls definitely do the trick. Of course the shape is another aspect that cannot be understated. The 12 panel hybrid design creates a near perfect sphere. Thanks to the unique “hybrid” design, they do not lose their shape or “sag” while they are in the air. At the same time they are able to come to a stop after being dropped without rolling away. They accomplish this much better than my set of MMX balls.

An understandable worry regarding any set of bags is how they will break in over time. Tossaballs not only break in to a comfortable and relaxing feel, but they do not lose their shape. No doubt due to their “hybrid” design and mixed filling, the bags consistently keep their roundness. In fact one comment I got about these bags were that the person thought they were oranges. In this case that is a definite compliment to Flying Clipper for creating great looking bags. [Trust me, I know about citrus comments because my personally handmade yellow bags were once called “lemons” and that’s how I know I did a bad job sewing them]

In terms of normal wear and tear, I would say that these bags hold up equally if not better than most that I have juggled. Simple soap and water will clean up scuffs and marks. Cleaning also brings back a bit of the luster of the color which understandably will begin to fade over time.

At first I only used these bags for my 4 + work because I did not like the feel that they had with my 3 ball patterns. Over time as they began to break in, I found them a solid substitute for some of my lower patterns. These balls have a unique property in that they almost seem to “float” through the air. Physics tells me that this isn’t the case, but be that as it may I still feel as though they have a great ability to hang. For this reason I really enjoy using these bags for my juggling with more than three objects. They really give patterns a great solid look and feel that cannot be found in “saggy” or “rock hard” bags.

Tossaballs look great, feel great, and juggle great; I have no qualms about slapping my seal of approval on these bags!

-David Stephens
jugglernextdoorATgmail.com

Oct 11

Derrick Fogle is a member of the Footbag Hall of Fame and a very good friend and former competitor with Jim Fitzgerald, or Toes, the President of Flying Clipper ! We chat with him a bit back and forth with our Twitter accounts and his  @h4x354x0r Twitter account as well. We feel like he’s a real pal :)

Recently Derrick got an inspired idea to run a series of posts called The Footbag Gospel. You can catch  most of the action over at his personal blog , but he’s decided to write a guest post just for our blog here at Flying Clipper. Thanks Derrick!

 

 

Today, something new related to footbag happened. That’s a bit unusual, considering I’ve been playing and promoting for over 30 years, and I’ve experienced just about everything by now.

But today, something new happened. Since joining Twitter, I’ve used it as a ‘gerilla’ marketing tool. First, I just tweeted out sessions and links to blogs and videos. Then, I started searching Twitter after each session, retweeting, favoriting, and replying to everyone’s tweets about the old, shirtless Hack Man (me!) in Speakers Circle. Last fall, I was excited to get 6 new followers in a week.

This week, I’ve snagged about 50 followers; almost all students. Since the start of semester, the interaction I’ve gotten there has been incredible. I’ve been catapulted well over the 1,000 follower mark.

But more importantly, I finally “connected” in a way that has expanded my vision. I’m following enough students now, that my twitter stream almost always has a couple tweets from local students on the screen. The majority, just bitching about school (including sometimes valid criticism), but… almost always funny. This entire school has a PhD in sarcasm. I love it!

For the first time today, I read enough tweets from students that I got a glimpse, a feel, an real understanding, of what the day was like out there for them. It was really cool, and I even got a couple chances to engage. I always try to tweet back some encouragement when I see a student mention an upcoming test.

So yes, today, once again, something new and cool happened, because I took a lifetime of footbag, shook with a bag full of Twitter, and baked in a campus full of students. Turns out to be a delicious recipe!

~@h4x354x0r
————-

Oct 5

This is a short and sweet review and we just love it:

The 50-panel Dirtbag® combines twenty four squares, eight truncated hexagons and eighteen octagons, making this multi- panel footbag a dream to kick. Add multi-panel construction to a sand filler and this one will stay true to every kick.
Diameter: 2.25″
Weight: 45 grams

Awesome  Awesome

ive had this bag for two years now and its still great. i have put it to the test and its still practically new. — Roland

 

Roland gave us a 5-Star Rating on our Dirtbag 50-Panel Footbag, thanks Roland!! :D :D

Oct 3

What a HIT!

Flying Clipper President, Jim Fitzgerald or “Toes,” attended both days of the Portland Juggling Festival! He  had a great time checking out the local juggling scene and selling some of our brand new Tossaball Phat Tyre 32-Panel Juggle Balls! Check out his  pictures of day 2: