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Open Singles Finals (Shults vs. Verdy)

These photos are from the Open Singles Net Finals at the '96 World Footbag Championships. In this match between Quebec's own Sébastien Verdy and veteran Kenny Shults (Portland, Oregon), the excitement and action were unparalleled. The bleachers were full, ESPN and Sports Illustrated were covering the event, and the weather was perfect. You couldn't ask for a better spotlight for the sport. This gallery has other related information; click here to see the related information.

Seba Twista
S?bastien Verdy twists into an unusual position (though he wouldn't say so!). This is the first in a series of photos taken during the open singles net finals at the 1996 Worlds. The camera on the sidelines is from ESPN -- they highlighted this match on their "Unbelievable Sports" program which aired in January, 1997. Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Kenny in Waiting
Seba powers one over as Kenny Shults prepares to defend his turf. Photo by Pierre Frigon.
This is the definition of the "shtataf!" reverse sole spike, executed by Montreal's Verdy in front of impressive crowds at La Ronde. Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Kenny's Kenny
Kenny Shults (who had never lost a singles final up to this point) puts one away with his crafty "Kenny" shot (also known as a "side-axe"). He's known for using this shot to place the footbag pretty much anywhere he wants. Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Shults Serves, Game Three
With throngs of crowds watching with anticipation, Kenny makes his last attempt to regain control in this, the 3rd game of the match. Sebastien is poised to receive and ultimately conquer the hitherto-unbeatable Shults. The silence during this moment was deafening. Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Where's the Bag?
Verdy is on his way up to pummel an overset by Shults. This overset was the gift Séba needed to put secure his first World Championship title. (Yes, the bag is in this shot!). Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Fait Accompli
Hometown boy Sébastien Verdy takes the title -- his first ever, and the first time anyone has defeated Kenny Shults in a World Championships singles match. Kenny, still recovering from the powerful spanking he received, humbly accepts defeat, only to return to the finals court in the '97 championships. Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Congrats from Mr. Hacky Sack ?
Under the watchful eye of the ESPN cameras, John Stalberger (the co-inventor of the Hacky Sack ? footbag that started it all) congratulates Verdy on his win. Doubles partner Emmanuël Bouchard stands in line. (Can you name all the Big-Add Posse members in the background? This shot was taken just before their famous demo and tribute to Kenny Shults.). Photo by Pierre Frigon.
Glowing Verdy
Young freestyle shredder Tu Vu congratulates Séba on his win. If Verdy looks tired to you, you haven't seen anything yet -- he still had to play the open doubles final right after this match. Yes, he and partner Bouchard won that one, too. Quebec reigned supreme. Photo by Pierre Frigon.

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