Footbag

Published on December 16th, 2015 | by Daniel Boyle

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Footbag Joulukalenteri 2015 – Day 16 – Sipa Sipa Promo

Thanks to Allan Haggett and Dennis Jones for unearthing this piece of footbag history and sharing it with us for Joulukalenteri Day 16.

Sipa Sipa Footbag Promotional Video from 1985

This is the earliest known promotional video for the sport of footbag, representing the SIpa Sipa brand from The Wright Life. From 1985, this video contains rare, early footage of Kenny Shults and the origins of modern freestyle footbag. This video is attributed to the rise of Rippin’ Rick Reese, as this video served as his introduction to the sport.

Allan Haggett has added his own words about this classic video. 

 

 

There are too few things that can make a person feel profound gratitude, but being trusted and privileged enough to become a custodian for something this important to the foundations of the sport I truly love? This certainly qualifies as one of those things; it’s been a humbling experience. When I extended an invitation for old-school players to send me their ancient videotapes, I was definitely hoping to unearth a gem like this, and … wow, is this one dazzling. Edited from a Footbag/Frisbee Freestyle event in San Diego in 1985, this is a truly historical video for a number of reasons; I simply can’t understate the importance of these 6.5 minutes.

This is one of the earliest, professionally edited promotional videos for footbag. Produced by the The Wright Life, the VHS tape played in their store in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado and in trade show booths across North America for years during the mid-1980s, promoting the Sipa Sipa brand of footbag. The original tape had this 6 minute 30 second video recorded to it 4 times in a row, so that it could play on a loop without needing to be rewound very much (you youngsters will never know the hassle). As I captured the whole tape, watching it really evokes the experience of being in some midwest sports stadium on a 1985 summer afternoon, next to a table stacked high with the brilliantly-colored Sipa Sipa footbags encased in those sturdy clear plastic containers.

We can all thank Dennis Jones for physically going to The Wright Life store only a few months ago and talking them into digging the tape out of their archives to give it to him. They were reluctant and had to dig deep, but they were able to find it, and Dennis, in turn, sent it to me; now the intarweb is sending it to you. As you watch this, keep in mind a couple of other things about this video:

This is the earliest footage of Kenny Shults that has ever been published. His parents have some earlier footage on home video, but this was made by pros. Among a few other fundamental tricks, there are some of the very first osis ever hit in this video. This is truly significant, and marks the birth of modern freestyle footbag. Throughout the video, every time they show Kenny, you can compare and contrast what he’s doing with the style and technical aspects of the players around him. You can truly see him branching away from the mainstream to create something fundamentally unique and technically superior. This video gives us a glimpse at the very beginnings of our history.

This video also had an enormous impact of none other than Rippin’ Rick Reese. Shortly after meeting Kenny and his freestyle partner Pat Beiber for the first time in July of 1985, Mr. Reese went to The Wright Life storefront. The shop is one of the first Alternative Sports store, selling frisbees and footbags and other fun things since 1981. It was here that Mr. Reese saw this video and it started something in him. He masteredd the tricks he saw on the video and went to 1986 Worlds to showcase his new skills, thus beginning some of the most innovative years footbag has ever known. The importance of the concepts and inventions that Rick Reese created cannot be exaggerated, and we’d all be many years behind where we are now if it weren’t for his perspective. Without this video, it’s possible we’d not have him.

Rippin’ Rick Reese, part 2

Rick Reese, one of the top freestyle footbag players in the world, at his prime at the 1993 Western Regional Footbag Championships, just before the creation of the Big-Add Posse. In the background are two of the main influencers on the sport of freestyle footbag, but often unknown to modern players: Jeremy Nevin (background left) and Dimitri Kavouras (brighter teal shorts in background).

 

As you can hopefully now see, this video has a lot going for it. It’s not just old and therefore meaningful, but it is actually one the earliest touchstones that footbag sports has, reaching back to a time when stalling tricks were barely being performed at all and the pillars of our game were just developing the concepts that would lead to the technical revolution that it footbag freestyle today. Thanks again to Dennis Jones for remembering that this existed, and for his efforts to obtain it for us, here, now.

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About the Author

Founder of @sportslashlife. Australian living in Chile. Freestyle footbag player and passionate sports fan.



One Response to Footbag Joulukalenteri 2015 – Day 16 – Sipa Sipa Promo

  1. Scott Cleere says:

    Daniel, thank you for taking the time and making the effort to bring this part of some many of our lives back. It is an honor to have been among the earliest wave of freestylers seen in this video. I worked at the Wright Life in 1985 and remember Rick Reese coming into the store and having me empty out the container of Sipa Sipa footbags to select just the right one or ones. This is truly vintage tape, the following year this event was held again at the same location and provided some of the most powerful times in my life as an athlete. The Colorado Foot-Boltz modeled our routines after the Coloradicals, it was magic. Poof, magic and now it reappears. Thank you, Scott Cleere

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