The Story of Flying Clipper Footbags & Juggle Equipment

Posted Jim Fitzgerald Flying Clipper, Footbag, Juggling

Welcome to our brand new blog! We just got it up and running, so expect to see lots of interesting posts about Footbag, Juggling, and the various events we sponsor featuring those two sports :)

Many people wonder what the story behind Flying Clipper is all about, so this introductory post is about just that. If you’re in a hurry, immediately below a quick timeline of the history of the company. Further below is the long version, as told by Jim Fitzgerald, president and co-founder of Flying Clipper.

Flying Clipper History

1. Business est. 1983
2. All three partners avid kickers and jugglers
3. All three partners former World Footbag Champions
4. All three partners inducted into Footbag Hall Of Fame
(1998-Jim, 1999-Reed, 2000-Dennis)
5. All three partners collectively sewn more than 125,000
footbags and juggle balls
6. Flying Clipper introduces the first high quality mass
produced multi-panel footbag available on the open
market (1992)
7. Flying Clipper introduces the Dirtbag line of footbags
8. Flying Clipper designs are known the world over and
are the most copied footbag designs on the planet
9. Flying Clipper invents the “Hybrid” series of juggle
balls and a new line of high quality footbags (2006)
10. Flying Clipper invents the “Phat Tyre” series of footbags
made of a revolutionary new suede material and rubber/metal filling


A quote from Flying Clipper co-founder Jim Fitzgerald – “What attracted you to the game of footbag?”

“In the mid-1980’s, there was nothing quite as good as entering into what we called “the zone,” when everyone in the circle was intent on only one thing–keeping the footbag aloft. The circle would move with the footbag, not vice versa. I mean to say that no one person tried to control the flow of the footbag and the person next to you was always there to cover your possible drop with their own “save.” In this kind of play and movement, trust could be developed within the circle which could elevate the play to something greater than what one individual could accomplish. It was like being transported to a higher level of play. That is what I experienced in footbag, a co-operative form of play adequate for a new age of sport and that is why I made footbag my game, my sport and my living. See if you can ‘catch the magic!'”

JimballsJim Fitzgerald

Flying Clipper’s roots reach deep into Footbag history. It’s founders are all long-time kickers, who have kicked for both fun and competition. All three partners are former World Footbag Champions and have each successively been inducted into the Footbag Hall Of Fame. They understand footbags from the inside out and pride themselves on creating top-quality, tested bags that fly. Because all three partners are also avid jugglers, Flying Clipper also enlarged its footbag designs to accommodate juggle balls.

Reed Gray, Jim Fitzgerald, and Dennis Ross created Flying Clipper in 1983 to handcraft a complete line of superb play, exceptional quality footbags and juggle balls. Breaking into the market with three innovative designs: the Tangent, The Octoe and the Footpet, handcrafted in cowhide and chamois.

Named after one of the first official trick kicks, Flying Clipper also evokes the speed and genius of legendary Clipper Ships of the 1800s. The innovative, sleek design of these wooden vessels revolutionized the world of shipping with grace, beauty and astonishing speed. Cutting edge design is a hallmark at Flying Clipper Footbags. We introduced the first multi-panel footbags and juggle balls, and we were the first to use durable, washable synthetic suede.

We revolutionized freestyle competion with the Juice Facile, our extra soft synthetic suede footbag. At the Footbag World Championships in 1985 as Ken Shults was accepting his all-around footbag honors, he took out his new Juice Facile Footbag, rolled it in his hands and said: “This is the Juiciest footbag I have ever kicked”. The crowd all started chanting “JUICE, JUICE, JUICE, JUICE.” Not stopping there Flying Clipper went on to create the Legend and Juice Netbags which have forever left their mark on the game of footbag net.

In touch with the changing world of footbags, we listen to the players and they told us they wanted a sand-filled bag. When we realized that nothing of quality was available on the market, we designed the first hand sewn sand filled footbag. After achieving a “no-leak” hand sewn footbag, Flying Clippers’ Dirtbag® quickly became the standard for new kickers…see for yourself, check out our catalog!

Jim Fitzgerald
Jim Fitzgerald

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