On friday all of Denmark celebrated solstice. In Denmark, the solstitial celebration is called Sankt Hans or Sankt Hans Aften (“St. John’s Eve”). It is tradition to have bonfires on the beach and have speeches, picnics and songs. A tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth is also common. FootbagDenmark was hired to entertain the kids with some footbag before the bonfire in a big park in Copenhagen.
Kim, Nis, Frederik and me did the job. We were playing on gravel and it was pretty much raining the whole time. Not the best conditions. But a bunch of kids and teens tried footbag for the first time and we were able to enjoy it.
By chance the entertainment after us was a rap group for children called “Hip Som Hap“. My old friend Anna is one half of that group and they had a really fun show that the kids loved. A bunch of other old friends showed up to watch Anna do her thaaang and we all ended going out getting beers afterwards. Good times
Once a month I am gonna take you down memory lane and tell my story in footbag. Each post is gonna focus on a different year in chronological order. You can read all the previous posts here.
Fjellerad Footbag Camp
My second year in footbag started with the first annual Fjellerad Footbag Camp. Fjellerad is the city where Mathias, Søren and Nikolai are all from. This was a time where footbag was really going in Denmark – In 2004 the European Championships was in Copenhagen, the Danish Championships later that year had seen a lot of new players (me included) showing up, Lise was one of the best female footbaggers in the world and there was even a footbag magazine in print in Denmark.The footbag camp was a great experience. If I remember correctly there was more than 20 players there. I learned a lot and got to know everybody better.
Video by Lise Thygesen
First Breath After A Coma
This video was the first time I saw myself play footbag. I didn’t realize that I took long breaks after each stall before seeing this. It took me a while to fix it.
Around this time I was also lucky that I convinced a couple of guys to start kicking with me in our hometime. We would sneak into the gym at our school after classes and work our asses off. Everything was so new and exciting. With called our little group “Svendborg Barbies”, which in hindsight is pretty dumb but we were only 14/15 after all..
I designed a logo for us (one of my first attempts at graphic design)
That summer I went to California and Nevada with my family. As soon as I got out of the airplane in San Francisco, some guy stepped up to me and said “nice shoes” and threw a footbag at me. We kicked for a few minutes, but I was so baffled I didn’t even get his name. I still don’t know who he was.
Later on the trip I managed to set up a footbag session in Las Vegas with some players I had gotten in touch with through (you guessed it) modified. First we met up and played at the hotel where we were staying. After a while the guys suggested we wen’t to Loren Baum’s place. Luckily my mom let a young Asmus run away with some Americans he had never met before.
We played for hours while watching old footbag VHS tapes. Pretty sure a young Evan Gatesman even made an appearance and attempted Nemesis. Finally one of the guys gave me a ride home to my hotel and I didn’t get drugged or raped or anything. What a night for a young footbagger.
Me and Loren Baum AKA Happy Om on a Las Vegas rooftop.
Danish Footbag Open
For the first and only time DFO took place outside of Copenhagen. The reigning Danish champion at the time Nikolai Lorenzen arranged a big tournament in the third biggest city in Denmark Aalborg. He had booked a cool old theater for the event and hired one of Denmark’s greatest turntablist DJ STATIC for the afterparty.
Special guest was the hottest thing in footbag that year Jorden Moir. I was a massive fan of Jorden at the time and his solo videos from his room made me believe I could get good without having good players around me. It was a huge experience for me to get to play in a 2 man circle with Jorden. Dylan Fry was travelling around Europe at the time and also joined event.
I stayed with Søren Nøhr in Fjellerad and every morning we took the bus into Aalborg with Mathias Blau and the other active youngsters to join the fun.
For the second year in a row I got last place in intermediate. This year I felt like I should have ranked one spot higher, but I was happy with my routine.
Nikolai ended up defending his title in fron of a huge and excited crowd.
Mads Hole’s awesome videos from the event.
This was also the year I finished primary school and decided to take a year in boarding school instead of going straight to high school. There is a big tradition for boarding schools in Denmark with over 250 schools all over the country. Many of my friends absolutely loved going to boarding school. I wasn’t that convinced about it’s greatness but it did definitely shape me in many ways and matured me a lot. I did not play a lot of footbag during the time but me and couple of friends did have a lot of illegal late night hacky sack circles going down.
Last week was Distortion. So no footbag but lots of drinking and partying in the streets. Distortion is a celebration of Copenhagen street life and international club culture, “A week of Emerging Dance Music and Orchestrated Chaos”. With an estimated 100,000 guests per day, it is one of the largest annual gatherings in Europe. Distortion is a mobile festival: the week starts in the streets of Copenhagen – in the Nørrebro and Vesterbro district – and with the Distortion Ø festival, with 8-10 stages per day by the Copenhagen harbor. It was good times. Partying a lot with Lise the Legend. That is always a blast. Maybe I should start calling her that? Just Lise Legend.
I did not get to see many shows but I did finally get a chance to experience Madlib live. A personal hero of mine. He played a 2½ hour DJ set on a sunny afternoon and it was amazing.
Meeting & Session
Yesterday the weather was classic Danish summer weather- a lot of rain. So we decided to take the shred inside. Before playing the royal family of FD (Kim, Nis and I) had a quick meeting of the board. Nothing worth sharing here was discussed.
One of the OGs Tobias showed and then Frederik showed up and we started playing. I played for the first half of the session with Kim. Then Frederik moved from the other circle to our circle. The first half was rough second half was better. Quantum and Steps was on.
A couple of highlights:
Gyro Mirage > Toe Sidewalk (hit good side footed flip)
Tripwalk > Blurry Legover [b2b]
Pixie Tripwalk > Run
Here is a digital painting experiment I did this week:
Summer has somehow already arrived in Copenhagen, so we moved over weekly thursday session outside yesterday. I as usually arrived right on time and Mathias Blau was there waiting. FootbagDenmark is not good at being on time. After playing 15 minutes Verena showed up and joined our circle. 15 minutes later Nis showed up and him and Verena made their own circle. I played really bad especially in the beginning – at the end I found my groove a little bit. Mathias was also not having his best day. I liked this drill from him though: Pixie Muted Swirl > Gyro Mirage [rpt]. I did not have any highlights worth mentioning.
There is only one week left on my t-shirt campaign. You should buy one – maybe even two. They will never be printed again after the campaign ends. You can buy them here.
We had a big turnout to yesterday’s session since today is a national holiday in Denmark. Verena, Jan, Frederik, Nis, Kim, Peder, Mathias Blau and I all played. Jasper, Rasmus and even Mads Hole came on rollerblades and hung out.
I had the pleasure of playing for an hour just with Mathias Blau and he was really going hard. Apparently his last session had been bad, so he wanted to go all in. I saw him do a bunch of furious and downtime double dex stuff and gave him two challenges that he hit. The first one was Blink > Terrage > Pixie Muted Swirl [bsos] and the second one was Phasing Gyro Mirage.
I did not play well and had no real highlights, but it still was a lot of fun.
Here is a terrible group photo. Jasper didn’t make it in time and you can’t see Nis in the back. There is a long and proud tradition of group photos in FootbagDenmark.
Afterwards about half of us went to a local bar called “Stjernen” (The Star) and had too many beers and the legendary FootbagDenmark shot. In every bar in Denmark you can buy a shot made from pomegranate flavored liquorice and vodka. The FootbagDenmark way is to add a few dashes of tabasco on top. Since you probably can’t buy pomegranate flavored liquorice and vodka where you are at, here is a simple recipe to make it at home:
Crush up between 300 and 500 grams of hard strong salty liquorice
Add the crushed up liquorice to a bottle of vodka and let it stand overnight in your fridge
Add 100% pomegranate juice to the mixture (I have no idea how much. Taste it and find out how you like it). Shake the bottle and let it stand for one more night.
Shake the bottle again and filter it if you feel it is necessary.
Fill a shot glass with the mixture and add from two drops to a few dashes of tabasco.
I have decided that I will not be going to Worlds. I could maybe find the money, but when you have your own apartment and live alone, you need to have some money as a buffer if something unexpected happens. It simply wouldn’t be responsible of me to do it as this point. It sucks but it is what it is.
This summer I will instead visit the homies in Berlin (Matthias Lino Schmidt, Angelo Rendon etc.) and afterwards me and Matthias will go to some electronic music festival in the north of Germany. Should be good times.
Angelo, Matze and me in Frankfurt during Euros last year.
Next international footbag tournament I will go to will probably be Swiss Open in late October. I have a great relationship with a lot of the Swiss players, but I have never been to Switzerland. So this seem like an obvious choice.
Once a month I am gonna take you down memory lane and tell my story in footbag. Each post is gonna focus on a different year in chronological order. Here is the first one.
It’s 2004 and I am sitting in my room in my parents basement in a small town in the south of Denmark. A message pops up on MSN Messenger. It is from a boy in Copenhagen, I have never met him but we have messaged back and forth on a danish youth site. He sends me a link to a video and tells me that what they do in the video is called footbag.
The video was Kampa Park, named after where the video takes place – The legendary Kampa Park in Prague. It was filmed in 2003 and edited by Mads Hole and Mads Neuhard. I watch the video in awe and when I saw Vasek do Neutron Smasher > Toe Barrage > Toe Symp Whirl > Rev Swirl > Pincher I knew I had to start playing. I got my first footbag soon after that.
My first footbag was a Dirtbag. I hit my first ATW with that and then I lost it. I was heartbroken. My next footbag I bought from the legend Torben Wigger. My third bag was an actual professional 32 panel made by Mads Neuhard. Here is a photo of how it looks today:
I loved that bag
My First Danish Champs
Later that year I went to my first Danish Footbag Championships. Me, Mathias Blau, Søren Nøhr and two other young cats Kevin and Thomas all stayed at the boy (Phillip) who showed me footbags place. I also met the rest of FootbagDenmark for the first time. The first one I met other than Phillip was Frederik Mens. I went into a small shop to get some candy on the way to the event site and this grown ass man stopped me and was really excited to finally meet me. That felt really cool for a young boy traveling to Copenhagen for the first time on his own. I still think about this every time I bike by the shop.
Phillip and Me
I still remember many things from this weekend quite clearly. I remember hitting my first Legover, just before I did my routine and hitting one during it. I remember Søren Nøhr (14 years old at the time) beating Jan Birkel (35 at the time) in the “Intermediate” division. I remember walking along the train tracks to Phillip’s stepdads place, where we were gonna sleep. I remember the Chili Con Carne on saturday night. I remember Nikolai Lorenzen becoming Danish Champion.
I don’t think I would have stayed around as long as I have, if it wasn’t was this weekend in Copenhagen. So a big shout out to the FootbagDenmark family.
Yesterday I played footbag with Nis. I didn’t play that well but even though he complained about hurting a bit and having heavy legs I think he played really well. I saw him hit Toe Blur b2b, which I don’t think I have seen him before.
In the middle of the session Kim showed up. He was jetlagged from traveling to Florida and Cuba with his family and he still had some problems with his ankle, so he only hung out. It was great to see him though.
When the session was ending the O.G. Mads Hole even showed up to juggle clubs. He challenged me to hit Gyro Symp Butterfly Swirl, which I obviously couldn’t. But I did manage to hit Gyro Symp Butterfly and Gyro Symple Legover.
I designed a shirt that you can buy from a company called Everpress. You have 28 days to order it from now on, then they will be printed, sent out and never return. All proceeds will go to going to footbag tournaments.
My name is Asmus Helms. I live in Copenhagen, Denmark and I am 27 years old. I work as a system- and project consultant for an e-learning company. When I am not doing stuff related to footbag I like to express myself creatively.
Some footbag info:
How long have you played footbag?: Since 2004
What is your preferred footbag to play with?: Bearbags
If you could play footbag with one shredder you haven`t played with yet, who would it be? Kevin Crowley or Kevin Hogan
Footbag achievement of which you are most proud: Being one of the main organizers of Worlds 2015 in Copenhagen, Denmark
What are your best 2/3/4 dex tricks? Frontside Toe Blur /Enterrage, Pixie Tripwalk, Phasing Twirl / Phasing Revup
What trick do you most want to hit, right now?: 100 Titless and 30 Guitless
If you could take one component (spins, double overs, ducks) from any footbag player in the world, what would it be, and from whom? Consistency from Mathias Blau
If you could visit one footbag city in the world, where would you go?: New York
What is the best tournament you have ever attended? Worlds 2009 in Berlin.
Name one really good friend you have made through footbag: My footbag family FootbagDenmark