So the first WFA Grand Slam for 2017 The Hard Flair Finals, Helsinki, is over. The results are in and we have our winner…
This Year’s Winner…
This year’s winner of the WFA Grand Slam Hard Flair Finals in Helsinki, Finals was: Luca Valentin! With another Grand Slam victory for Luca, it looks like he is continuing where he left off in 2016 – winning the final Grand Slam of the year, and being crowned WFA Grand Slam World Champion 2016. The full results of the Hard Flair Finals are below:
We spoke to judge and co-founder of the WFA, @andycollinson to get his thoughts on the winning routine:
“I think it was clear how the new WFA scoring system, which we recently brought in, affected the competition and Luca’s routine. The new scoring system puts more of an emphasis on a number of areas, one of those areas is drops or mistakes. We are certain that if flair is to be transformed to the next level and shared with more than just the enthusiasts and the bar industry, then the performances need to be as clean as possible – this is where Luca really excels. You can see Luca has put hours and hours of practice into this routine in order to achieve perfection, which of course has led to a victory for Luca and a nice little prize pot for his trouble. It is great to see someone reach the top of this profession and maintain that focus, and hunger – he refuses to get complacent and that really shines through in his routines. Sure Luca’s flair may not be the highest scoring but it has flow, his routine is always very well balanced and it he always demonstrates impressive levels of consistency”.
Andy’s thoughts on The Hard Flair Finals 2017
“This was the first Grand Slam at the Hard Rock Cafe in Helsinki and it went fantastically well! The Hard Rock Cafe has always been involved in cocktails and flair and has held competitions on their stage in Helsinki before, however this was the first WFA Grand Slam. Between the Hard Rock Cafe management and ‘our man on the ground’, Timppa at VIP Bartenders, the organisation and preparation for Hard Flair was immaculate. We were particularly impressed by the live stream that was not only going out live on the web around the world, but also via local Finnish news and media – this was great for raising awareness around flair bartending and introducing what we do to the masses! The production levels for the whole event were fantastic.”
“The heats were hard fought and in the end we were left with 8 bartenders in the finals. What I really loved about the 8 that made it through to the finals were that each of them had a completely different style. Each and every bartender brought something different and it was clear to see these differences too – even to the untrained eye it was clear to see the variety in the performances. Seeing flair bartending become more universal like this is surreal, it is a dream of ours and a real target for the World Flair Association”
Memorable moment or trick?
“It was a great competition with some really high levels of flair, but for me the most memorable moment had to be one of Alexander Shtifanov’s new moves, the chest spin. This is where the bartender leans back, using his chest to support and balance the bottle and the rest I am sure is obvious. It is not an easy move to pull off and it is quite original, but what I really liked about it was how visual it was. Everyone can understand how hard that skill is to pull off and when the crowd can see and understand the difficulty in what you have just done – the reaction usually tends to be greater!”
What’s in store for the WFA for 2017?
“The WFA is certainly going from strength to strength as time goes by, with more and more competitors stepping up to take part in professional competitions and events – as well as so many new faces getting involved in the grass roots level of Flair Bartending, starting out on their WFA Grading journey at bartender schools all around the world! For us a big focus this year is expanding the Grand Slam offering and improving the WFA website.
We are adding a new Grand Slam in Belgium – Solid Flair – and hopefully The Warsaw Flair Challenge will also be returning as well as return of the World Series, which is in the pipeline. We are focussing most of our efforts currently on transforming the WFA website into a community and business hub for all bartenders around the world. A great place to advertise yourself and your abilities, your skills and WFA achievements, and so much more. Watch this space…”