After all the good things we heard about Catch & Flow, we decided to make the trip down this year to check out what the event was all about. Honestly, we did not know what to expect. But at the end of the day, we were absolutely blown away by the event, the skill level represented at the event and the people involved with the running of the event.
Such an amazing experience and we will be sure to be back at Catch & Flow again in the future. But first, let us take a look at how Catch & Flow 2015 went down.
The event kicked off at 4.30pm with the preliminary round. There were 60+ competitors vying for the 9 final spots up for grabs. With numerous contenders, there were going to be some big names that were not going to make it. The finals were made up of 16 competitors, but only 9 spots were going to the best in prelims. The other 7 spots were invited players that were given a seed straight to the finals.
The 7 seeded players were:
1) Rodney Ansell
2) Bonz Atron
3) Brandon Meyer
4) Wyatt Bray
5) Nic Stodd
6) Li Ho Cheung
7) Thorkild May
After an intense preliminary round, the 9 players that made it to the finals were:
1) Joshua Grove
2) Kaito Baba
3) Hiroki Iijima
4) Taku Hatanaka
5) Eiichiro Okawa
6) Philip Eldridge
7) Rolf Ganer
8) Takeshi Kodama
9) Dave Mateo
Some of the notable names that unfortunately did not make it through were:
- Akira Tajima
- Kristian Aynedter
- Jake Wiens
- 2 Bears
- The Void
- Alex Smith
So the Top 16 round kicked off with the following match ups:
1) Joshua Grove VS Rodney Ansell
2) Kaito Baba VS Bonz Atron
3) Hiroki Iijima VS Brandon Meyer
4) Taku Hatanaka VS Wyatt Bray
5) Eiichiro Okawa VS Nic Stodd
6) Philip Eldridge VS Li Ho Cheung
7) Rolf Ganer VS Takeshi Kodama
8) Dave Mateo VS Thorkild May
The match-ups pitted some of the best kendama players against each other and only the best moved on. Some eliminations were really tough calls and we were incredibly sad to see some of our favourite players eliminated early on but that is just how head-to-head battles work.
So moving on to the next round, and the Quarter Final matches were:
1) Rodney Ansell VS Bonz Atron
2) Hiroki Iijima VS Taku Hatanaka
3) Nic Stodd VS Li Ho Cheung
4) Rolf Ganer VS Thorkild May
The Quarter Final round was even more interesting (no surprises here) as it not only pitted friends against friends, but even teammate against teammate.
Definitely tough battles here in the Quarter Final round that could have gone either way, and after getting over the nerves and tension from the Top 16 round, the Quarter Final round had players more honed in and focused. Nonetheless, only the best progress.
Semi Final battles were:
Bonz Atron (Kendama Co / Bonzai Kendama) VS Taku Hatanaka (Sweets Kendama)
Nic Stodd (Grain Theory) VS Thorkild May (KROM Kendama)
As if our minds weren't blown from the Top 16 and Quarter Final rounds, the Semi Finals was just so intense, insane and just an incredible spectacle to watch. As audience members, we were so glad we were not judges for this Semi Final round. These 4 guys are definitely some of the very best Kendama players in the world, and to be able to watch them battle it out was just incredible!
No matter how tough the battles were, there can only be 2 Finalists and 1 Champion! With that, the 2 Finalists were: Bonz Atron VS Nic Stodd. Meaning that 3rd / 4th place battle pitted Taku Hatanaka against 2014 Catch & Flow Champion, Thorkild May.
3rd & 4th Place Battle: Taku Hatanaka VS Thorkild May
Final Battle: Bonz Atron VS Nic Stodd
Words just cannot describe how incredibly amazing and crazy the Final battle between Bonz and Nic was. The level of difficulty in hitting those tricks in a few tries is already incredibly high and these guys were hitting, and landing, these insane tricks first try! WHAT! Definitely the most epic battle we have seen in 2015, and maybe even of all time. Huge congrats to both Bonz and Nic for putting up an amazing Final battle. The champion title could have gone to either of those individuals and the judges had to make the toughest call all day.
In the end, Bonz Atron took home the title of 2015 Catch & Flow World Champion. What an event it was!
If you are ever in a spot, and considering whether you should make it out to Catch & Flow, drop what you have planned and make that trip. Catch & Flow is worth it!
Shoutouts to Nobu (Kendaman), Tamotsu (Gloken), Yuka (Gloken), Jake Wiens (KendamaUSA) and the organising team for Catch & Flow 2015. You guys are AWESOME!
For all the Catch & Flow 2015 Battles, check them out here: