The German Freestyle Disc Championships took place last weekend (May 26-27) in Karlsruhe and it's clear that Germany is challenging Italy as the fastest growing nation of freestylers on the planet. Not only are there many new players but the overall level of existing players has skyrocketed since last years worlds in Berlin.
About 60 freestylers were in attendance at the event which used 3 US judges - Jake Gauthier, Lori Daniels and me - allowing the players to have more time to jam and work on routines. The Championships also had 2 Italian players - Fabio Sanna and Matteo Feller join in...although their teams were not eligible to become German freestyle champs if they had won.
On Saturday the weather was very hot as was the freestyle and 24 open pairs competed in the prelims. The event took place at a wonderful sportcenter similar to the one where the worlds were held in Berlin last year. There was a gym available for free sleeping accomodation, a restaurant and a beer garden all a short frisbee throws distance from the jam field.
On Sunday the weather turned windy and a bit rainy so we moved the pairs semi indoors and later decided to do all the finals there as well since a decent crowd had gathered and the energy and crowd noise in the gym was so high. Some highlights of the co-op final were local favorites Rainer, Domy and Jochen playing very well - with Domy going for the Mikey Ried style big air and Rainer hitting some incredible kick passes. It was great to see the multi-national team of Bianca from Berlin, Matteo from Milan and Ot from Thailand hook up and have a nice spontaneous jam.
Harmut, Bo and Enrique (from Dortmund and Cologne) had some nice co-ops but a few too many drops to challenge for the title placing 5th. Berlin-stylers Philipp, Anton and Markus Hein had a very solid round placing 4th. In 3rd place Heiko, Markus Goetz and Fabio showed a very cool, choregraphed routine which fired up the crowd earning them 3rd place. Daniel, Kolja and Jan were one of the first teams to play and got so hot they almost won the division...All three of these jammers have improved by leaps and bounds this year.
Finally, the last team in the co-op round took the floor and the anticipation was very high as the Karlsruhe based trio of Flo, Christian and Carsten - who were also the event organizers began their routine. They hit co-op after co-op and indy after indy and at one point Christian set up Carsten for a big flying gitis that hit off Carsten's leg - alertly Flo dove head long on the floor to catch the disc to huge ovation from the crowd. By the time they hit their last co-op the crowd had worked istelf into a frenzy. They made it easy for the judges as they hit the routine of the tournament and won the co-op final. I overheard their new team name is going to be the Karlsu-radicals.
In the pairs final Philipp and Markus H. and Fabio and Matteo tied for 4th place just behind Kolja and Carsten who redeemed themselves after a lack luster semis performance placing 3rd in the finals. Daniel and Bianca totally shredded hitting one of the best routines of the weekend placing 2nd. Once again the top seed came through as the last routine of the event, featuring Bo and Hartmut came onto the floor decked out in suits and ties. They hit their well choreographed routine with very few errors and won the German Freestyle Championship pairs division for the 3rd consecutive year. Hartmut was last seen drinking Hefeweisen out of the 1 meter high trophy - I hope he made it home ok ;-)
The finals also featured a mixed pairs demo which allowed some local girls who are playing really well to show their stuff - Watch out for Judith and Julia in Amsterdam!
There was also a judges jam, dog demos and gymnastics and cheerleading demos to keep the crowd interested between rounds.
See photos here
See a short video here
Congratulations to all the winners and to everybody who took part in Karlsruhe, and a special big thanks to Flo, Carsten and Christian and their staff on working so hard to make this event happen!