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
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
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!!
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
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.
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!
Lately he’s been pioneering the new art and skill of Hands and Feet Juggling, and he’s getting quite good! This new sport is gaining traction fast in the juggling and footbag community, creating a new merging of two sports we have always served dutifully here at Flying Clipper! Hand and Feet Juggling is one step closer to being the next big thing with our brand new Plush Puppies and the revolutionary Tossaball Phat Tyre 32-Panel Juggle Balls exclusively sold by Flying Clipper.
Check out this video if you’re not familiar with the name: Peter Irish – Juggling Monk (Promo Vid 2007) (by Flipside Productions)
He can even juggle footbags with his feet!!!
“The Flying Clipper Plush Puppies are by far the best juggling balls on the market for hands and feet juggling. This is the ball I have been searching for for years. Once I got a hold of them, I immediately retired my old balls, and began using these full time.
“This is the ball I have been searching for for years”
They require virtually no break-in and are a great consistency for stalls and body catches yet they retain their roundness and don’t “pancake”. These balls are undoubtedly the best resource for any juggler who wants to integrate the hands and feet together in their juggling. The colors are some of the brightest and most beautiful of any juggling balls I’ve ever seen, which is so important for performing. I have used these balls in several shows and dozens of performances and have been completely satisfied.
As well as all this, they are FUN to juggle, and have a feel like no other ball. I am grateful to Flying Clipper (and amazed) for creating a ball that exceeds my expectations for exactly what I do. I completely recommend these balls for any type of juggling, and especially for my specialty of juggling with the hands and the feet at the same time. Huge thanks to Flying Clipper!”
You can learn more about Peter Irish and his amazing juggling skills by using the following link:
We love it when our awesome customers take the time to review our products! Here is a review of the all-new
best kept secret in juggling
This is going to be the first review of this product that i will submit i got a set of seven in the mail today about three his ago and wow as soon as i held one in my hand i was captivated the weight is perfect they manage to keep there shape very well the feel of them is UN like anything I’ve ever juggled before the ultra suede feels heavenly in your hand and when you squeeze them a fist full of marshmallows comes to mind.
I have juggled more variations of juggling balls than care to remember and this is the first one that feels like it was made to be juggled, this is as of right now the best juggling ball I’ve ever touched.
After a few hours of juggling with these i am very pleased when you drop one it doesn’t roll away from you, every time the ball lands in your hand it feels extremely stable.
On to of all of this i can fit all seven balls in one hand then violently shake my hand around with out one of them flying away.
There will be another review soon once i log some real practice time with them but right now i would ofbeen happy if these balls were selling@$20 a peice knowing that these are only $14 a peice blows my mind!
– Austin Carpenter
This is a customer review that was submitted to our website. We love it so much when we hear from our satisfied customers, so we’d like to share their great feedback with you as well! If you ever want to leave some feedback on a Flying Clipper product you purchased, feel free to do so using the “Submit A Review” link at the bottom of any product page on our website!
2 thumbs + 2 toes up
I got 7 of these in March 2012 and work with them 6 days a week. They are great. The only other juggling balls that I’ve juggled with are by Mister Babache. Though those are good bean bags as well, these ones are on a whole different level.
I still cant get over how they maintain their shape and the way they feel in my hands. They are an absolute pleasure to juggle with. I have been working on foot stalls and elbow stalls and these bags make it so easy because of their dead drop.I am much better juggler thanks to these ones.
I am from India and I wrote a million mails to Jim who was kind enough to promptly reply to each one them. It gave me a lot of confidence and made it very easy to buy these because of his commitment and experience in designing and making juggling balls. The only issue that I’ve faced is that one of the ball stared fading and giving off color(blue). Apart from this the remaining ones(6 red + 1 yellow) look brand new every time they come out of the drier.
I am going to buy from Flying Clipper again and already have my eyes fixed on the 3 inch Plush Puppy!
Flying clipper ki jai ho!!! – Ganesh Nayak
Really amazing review of our brand new 32-panel Tossaball. This is a version of our Phat Tyre footbag turned into a juggle ball! And it’s made with recycled materials just like our Phat Tyre, amazing!
The Juggle Monk, Peter Irish is a unique juggler who combines hands and feet when he juggles. He is approaching eight balls juggling three on his feet while maintaining five in the hands. No one on the planet can do what Peter Irish can do. If you want to find out how he does it, you should consider attending this years’ International Jugglers’ Convention July 16- 22 in Winston-Salem North Carolina.
Peter will be doing workshops teaching all who are interested in the fundamentals of hands and feet juggling. Being a long time friend of the Flying Clipper brothers, Peter has recently become involved in helping Flying Clipper design the perfect ball for hands and feet juggling. The ball that we came up with is the new Tossaball® Plush Puppy t.m.. Peter now uses them exclusively in all his performances. Flying Clipper and Peter will debut the new Plush Puppy at the convention later this month.
Be sure to look for them at flyingclipper.com by the middle of this month. Hats off to Peter Irish for all of his help in the design of yet another amazing handmade juggle ball in the Tossaball®line-up.
Keep in touch because Flying Clipper will soon debut the all new innovative and unique Tossaball® Phat Tyre t.m. juggle ball which we believe will be the best all around juggle ball we have ever produced.
Jim Fitzgerald – Hybrid Designer