Thoughts on Santa Cruz Being Awarded FPAW2013

I applaud the FPA Board’s decision to award the 2013 FPA World Championships to Skippy Jammer and Santa Cruz, California. The debate about Santa Cruz vs. Medellin was far more complex than it needed to be. Santa Cruz’s bid was from an experienced tournament director and competitor. The Medellin bid was from a club that had never hosted a freestyle tournament of any size and had no members who had ever attended, let alone competed in a freestyle world championship. It was a no brainer that got muddied by factors beyond the sport’s need for a well-run world championships with conditions that showcase freestyle at its best.

For nearly 20 years, I have been fortunate to work with other freestylers to build structures into competition and the FPA toward a more consistent and freestyle experience for everyone. We worked to embrace both elite play and the vast potential for freestyle to be enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.

The freestyle community has gotten much better at presenting tournaments with consistency for the players, but we really haven’t hit a world championship standard yet. Too often, experienced organizers are taken away from prepping for their competition rounds to save the day. The FPAW2013 choice had the potential to set back our progress on the competition side. We need to both lean toward our most experienced tournament directors for the FPA’s premier event and work to raise the level of all tournament directors.

Parallel to the FPAW2013 conversation, some interesting concepts were discussed around how to certify tournament directors who could then be brought to important tournaments. I think this is an important concept that expands the number of cities that could present major championships. There is still work to be done on training and testing prospective tournament directors and finding money in our small sport to bring them on site. When there is little prize money and tournament teams find it very difficult to break even on events, finding additional funds for tournament direction is a challenge. Let’s get started with traininga nd certification anyway and figure out the money later.

Below are two messages from the FPA Board. The first is the announcement of the FPAW2013 decision. The second gives insight into the decision making. If I still were still serving on the Board, two factors would have made the difference for me: experience and motivation.

If there was a track record of presenting freestyle tournaments in Colombia, I think the decision would have favored them. Unfortunately, they don’t have any experience participating in or running freestyle events. Though they are small, freestyle events have many unique moving parts. It’s almost impossible to run a tournament to spec on the first try, and to attempt it with the world championships is not only more difficult but potentially damaging to the sport.

For me, motivation was as troubling. The intentions of Medellin are pure and without question. They love freestyle and want it to be popular. Their enthusiasm is infectious, but their motivation to do the work necessary for success was questionable. The Medellin club did not seem willing to gain experience running freestyle events until being awarded worlds. They bid for FPAW2012, and their inexperience was pointed out as a challenge to overcome. In the year between that bid and their FPAW2013 bid, they hosted no events, not even club events. The foundation wasn’t there for the lead up, hosting, or follow-through on the wonderful things they envisioned. There was still homework to do.

I didn’t buy into the premise that FPAW2013 would be a springboard for a freestyle craze in South America because FPAW is not a spectator-focused event. It’s a player event with some spectator opportunities. It’s much more compelling to have the freedom to shape events to the needs of a locale rather than having to fit the specs of an FPAW.

I do buy into the premise of great possibilities in South America – and Asia for that matter. I support working with Medellin and other clubs to cultivate more participation in freestyle at all levels, and I’m glad the FPA Board has committed to participating in those efforts.


1. The official FPA Board announcement that FPAW2013 will be in Santa Cruz, as shared on the Jammers on the Net and Eurofreestyle listservs:

Aloha FPA jamming community!

This is the announcement many of you have been waiting for.

The FPA Board of Directors has met twice regarding the FPA world championship bids for 2013, and shared many email conversations. Our last meeting was on Saturday, October 1. As you probably already know, this decision was not simple. In addition, Skippy (Santa Cruz, CA; USA) and Alfonso (Medellin, Colombia; S. America) both provided bids that not only were enticing, but forced our membership to consider important issues regarding the growth of freestyle disc sports. I would like to thank both Skippy and Alfonso for their thoroughness, professionalism, and patience during this process.

I also would like to thank all of the FPA members who took time to provide their insights, feedback, and input over the past two months regarding both of the bids. The board members read every single one of your postings and we found this information very helpful. We took this process very seriously.

Decision: The FPA world championships in 2013 will be hosted by Skippy Jammer (Kevin Givens) in Santa Cruz, California.

As a supplement to this decision, the FPA Board has spoken to Skippy and we will be extending additional resources for marketing and publicity for the 2013 event. We will be working very closely with him over the next two years in order to maximize spectator presence at the tournament, as well as develop opportunities for freestyle outreach within the Santa Cruz region through demonstrations and educational efforts. Congratulations to Skippy and his tournament staff!

In regard to Alfonsoís bid to host FPA World Championships in Medellin: we want to acknowledge the excitement generated by Alfonsoís plans, his enthusiasm, and the efforts that many made to encourage his bid. Alfonso and the Medellin community have clearly caught our attention, and the FPA Board looks forward to fostering future development of freestyle disc in South America. The FPA Board has spoken with Alfonso and we have offered him significant support and mentoring opportunities for increasing his experience with – and knowledge of – competitive freestyle over the next few years. We will work closely with Alfonso, not only through his Spread the Jam educational clinics, but also consult with him in regard to running freestyle events.

I encourage all FPA members to be a part of this outreach and support of freestyle disc growth in South America. Alfonso will also let us know about his upcoming freestyle tournaments in Medellin; and, we look forward to meeting Alfonso and other Medellin jammers at one of the next FPA Worlds. I wish to congratulate and commend Alfonso on his proactive and visionary work toward bringing freestyle disc to his country!

The FPAW selection process we just completed was enlightening and thought-provoking. In the months ahead, we look forward to working with you, the membership, to solicit everyoneís input about your priorities for our sport, and to use that input to inform our processes for future decision-making.

As the sport of freestyle disc continues to grow across the planet, our process of selecting sites for the freestyle world championships will likely not get easier. However, this is also indicative of the world-wide expansion of our beloved sport and the prospect of more and more different countries and continents being part of our Spreading the Jam! Thank you, FPA members – for everything youíre doing as a part of that goal!

– Lori Daniels
Executive Director ñ Freestyle Players Association (FPA)

On behalf of the FPA Board: Amy Schiller (Marketing Director), Bethany Sanchez (Treasurer), Brian Boate (Member at Large), Claudio Cigna (Competition Director), Craig Simon (Membership Director), James Wiseman (Education Director), Lisa Hunrichs (Member at Large), Philipp Lenarz (Judging Director), Z Weyand (Member at Large).

2. Additional background about the decision: (October 5, 2011)

Thank you, FPA members, for the support of the FPA Board throughout the decision-making process for choosing a site for FPAW 2013.

This message provides additional information for those who would like to learn more about how the decision was made.

As you may know the FPAW 2013 site decision was neither simple nor without careful consideration. Each member of the FPA Board considered a variety of criteria for how the location of the event might most positively affect the growth and health of our sport, in addition to the specific responses received by the two tournament directors. Some of the factors (in no particular order) included:
potential quality and/or professionalism of event (i.e., competitor experience)
potential for spectator presence
potential for competitor presence
tournament organization staff preparation/readiness/experience
potential for outreach to community prior to the event
location preferences expressed by FPA members (and non-members) via email, jammers listserve, and by show of hands at FPAW in Prague
costs incurred by competitors
safety for players
Both Skippy and Alfonso were asked by the FPA Board for additional information after each had submitted their original bids.

Skippy emailed back responses to questions regarding expansion of freestyle to the community and methods of spreading the jam, spreading the word about the FPAW event, and outreach ideas. The fields at University of California ñ Santa Cruz are lovely and playable, but also somewhat isolated from the wider community. Based upon Skippyís responses to our questions, it appeared evident that he had been thinking about these concerns and has enthusiastically agreed to work closely with Amy Schiller (Marketing Director) and the FPA Board to maximize spectators and/or providing freestyle demos in various different venues. Skippy, Amy, and I spoke at length about this during our call Sunday night informing him about our decision.

Alfonso was asked questions via a Skype call with me regarding the overall freestyle situation in Medellin, the level of support by the Medellin community, level of community support by Medellin in future years (if the bid was not awarded in 2013), the number of freestylers who could assist with a large-scale tournament, the perception of Colombia as less safe than other locations, and his previous flying disc tournament experience. Alfonso responded to each of these issues and also recommitted to working at an upcoming FPAW. Based upon his responses to these issues, it appeared that Alfonso was anticipating continued growth of freestyle in his community and that he is open to learning about the nuances of hosting a competitive freestyle tournament. Alfonso also stated that the city of Medellin would welcome a world-class freestyle tournament in subsequent years beyond 2013.

With this additional input by both Alfonso and Skippy ñ as well as the input provided by numerous postings through the Jammers and Eurojammer email lists, the Board majority decision was for Santa Cruz for 2013.

As many of you indicated in your email posts, both bids had strengths and both bids lacked something important in regards to FPA Worlds. No matter the decision outcome, the Board was committed to provide additional attention and time with which to fill in the gaps by the bids. For Skippy: Marketing and outreach efforts; for Alfonso: continued education and added mentoring for competition preparedness and execution. Without hesitation, the FPA Board agreed to reach out to South America in order to continue their freestyle growth. Our commitment to him, coupled with Alfonsoís commitment to develop his own freestyle tournament experience, will hopefully result in a future bid by Alfonso/Medellin that will have all the pieces necessary to have FPA members feeling confident that they will be traveling to a premier freestyle event at “The City of Eternal Spring” = Medellin.

Now you know a bit of the behind-the-scenes work going on with the FPA! 🙂

– Lori Daniels, Executive Director – FPA; On Behalf of the FPA Board of Directors

2 Replies to “Thoughts on Santa Cruz Being Awarded FPAW2013”

  1. Logically it was clear, emotionally not so simple. Great thoughts AC…

    Beauty and
    Emotional Expression

  2. Nice article, Arthur. Spells things out in a way that were not being discussed on jammers.
    I second your thoughts about continuing to shape and hone the systems already in place for FPAWorlds to ensure a quality event no matter where the tournament is held.

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