Even a malfunctioning truck could not keep Carl Dobson from destiny. Despite never being able to exceed third gear, Carl Dobson traveled an hour and a half to the Best Damn Freestyle Tournament Period and pulled off the huge upset, defeating Arthur Coddington in the finals of this turboshred individual shred competition.
Dobson’s skills have been obvious since he returned to the competitive scene a few years ago. He is one of only a few players who includes triple spinning catches as a regular part of his game, and he mixes up his catches with solid variety. He has not made an impact in freestyle’s traditional formats mostly because he does not have a regular teammate.
Sunday’s event was a test of the new turboshred format, in which players are judged on their individual combinations while playing with others in a jam setting. An enthusiastic contingent of nine Bay Area freestylers turned out to freestyle and try out the format.
On Sunday, Dobson battled through two elimination rounds to reach the final against Coddington. On paper, Coddington was the favorite, but Dobson had scored a very close second in the semifinals so anything could happen. In the turboshred format, that’s even more true because only the player’s two best combinations count. All it takes are two big combinations to win.
Coddington hit consistently big throughout the four minute final, scoring four 80 point (out of 100) combinations on one judge’s sheet with a variety of styles, from technical turnovers to multiple spinning pulls to tumbles. Dobson was less consistent, but when he scored he scored big. The combination that put him over the top ended with a double spinning phlaud catch. The judges saw a close battle, with one judge scoring a tie, and the other giving a slight ten point edge to Dobson. The final score was 320 to 310, a well-earned victory for Dobson that reinforces what many had already seen, that Dobson is a formidable, dangerous competitor in any competition.
One of the unique features of the Best Damn Freestyle Tournament Period was that no player was eliminated. Every player had a chance to play three times. Something was at stake in each round. Placing high in a jam kept a player in the running for a high finishing position. Placing lower meant the player was relegated to battling for one of the lower finishing positions.
The nine competitors were divided into two jam groups. The top two finishers would advance to the Semifinals, and the rest of the players would move on to the Consolation Semifinals.
The first jam was a sign that the turboshred format creates a different kind of competitive atmosphere. Players were relaxed and rooted each other to hit bigger combinations. The players caught something like six catches in a row to start the jam. Arthur Coddington won the first jam, hitting combinations that included a spinning skid, tumbling catches, Pandora (a legover saturn pull) and several aerial phlauds. Greg Riley’s signature standing gitis was dialed in, and he finished second. Mike Esterbrook and Tam Wolfe each played solid for third and fourth places, respectively.
The second jam had a totally different flavor. Whereas the first jam was about individual combinations, the second jam featured lots of passing and co-oping. From the judges’ perspective, the scores may have suffered from the co-oping, but as the players exited the field it was undeniable that they had a good time. Within the five person mob-op, Carl Dobson came out on fire. His first move was a double spinning behind the back pull. He ended up winning the jam with Mark Regalbuti in second. Both advanced to the Semifinals. Mark Blakemore, Doug Korns and Chris Phelan moved on to the Consolation Semis.
Mark Blakemore got his bearings in the first round then dominated the Consolation Semifinals. Doug Korns didn’t get enough good throws in the first round. He got what he needed in this round and hit big enough moves to put him in second place. Mike Esterbrook would have been a favorite to place high in the semifinals, but a cut hand between the first round and semis threw his game off, allowing Chris Phelen to find his game and nab third place. Tam Wolfe has made breakthroughs this year by playing patiently, letting her combinations develope and giving herself time to complete moves. In the semis, her new level of poise bumped her above Mike Esterbrook into fourth place.
The main semifinal was a close contest among Arthur Coddington, Carl Dobson and Greg Riley. Mark Regalbuti was off his game, and didn’t make the impact he wanted. Arthur, Carl and Greg each hit huge combinations throughout the eight minute jam. Arthur kept missing his most ambitious sequences and was unable to gain a clear lead. In the seventh minute of the jam, any of the three could have won, and any of the three could have placed third. Arthur and Carl made the most of their last possessions to up their scores and secure places in the finals. Arthur won narrowly over Carl, with Greg in third and Buti in fourth.
Placement in the semifinals set up a series of one-on-one playoffs.
Seventh Place Playoff: The first match featured three players instead of two due to an uneven number of entrants. Chris Phelan, Tam Wolfe and Mike Esterbrook battled for seventh, eighth and ninth places. The pain in Mike Esterbrook’s hand had died down, and he hit an skid sequence early in the round that gave him a comfortable lead and seventh place. Chris and Tam jammed closely and ended up tied for eighth place.
Fifth Place Playoff: Mark Blakemore and Doug Korns poked fun at the cooperative spirit of the first round by faking some passes to begin their playoff. It was a close match, and Mark edged Doug 439-406 in the end.
Third Place Playoff: Mark Regalbuti rebounded from a bad semifinal and found his game again, but it wasn’t enough to outscore Greg Riley, who hit even more gitises and his new money move – the spinning scarecrow.
Finals: A close battle as detailed above, with Carl Dobson upsetting Arthur Coddington by a narrow margin.
1. Carl Dobson
2. Arthur Coddington
3. Greg Riley
4. Mark Regalbuti
5. Mark Blakemore
6. Doug Korns
7. Mike Esterbrook
8-tie. Tam Wolfe and Chris Phelan
(Top two finishers in each pool advance to Semifinals. All other players advance to Consolation Semifinals.)
Pool A (four judges)
1. Arthur Coddington 375 points
2. Greg Riley 331
3. Mike Esterbrook 252
4. Tam Wolfe 182
Pool B (five judges)
1. Carl Dobson 728
2. Mark Regalbuti 627
3. Mark Blakemore 533
4. Doug Korns 491
5. Chris Phelan 353
CONSOLATION SEMIFINALS (four judges)
(Top two finishers advance to fifth place playoff. All other players advance to 7th place playoff.)
1. Mark Blakemore 705
2. Doug Korns 635
3. Chris Phelan 600
4. Tam Wolfe 590
5. Mike Esterbrook 560
SEMIFINALS (six judges)
(Top two finishers advance to Championship Final. Third and fourth place finishers advance to third place playoff.)
1. Arthur Coddington 953
2. Carl Dobson 920
3. Greg Riley 879
4. Mark Regalbuti 627
7th PLACE PLAYOFF – judged by Carl Dobson and Arthur Coddington
7th – Mike Esterbrook 215
8th (tie) – Tam Wolfe & Chris Phelan 185
5th PLACE PLAYOFF – judged by Mike Esterbrook, Tam Wolfe and Chris Phelan
5th – Mark Blakemore 439
6th – Doug Korns 406
3RD PLACE PLAYOFF – judged by Mark Blakemore and Doug Korns
3rd – Greg Riley 287
4th – Mark Regalbuti 223
CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL – judged by Greg Riley and Mark Regalbuti
1st – Carl Dobson 320
2nd – Arthur Coddington 310