Powerball®, Usain Bolt and our World Championships
Unfortunately we have not been able to afford to sponsor Usain Bolt (we have been informed unreliably that he uses Powerball® on a daily basis!) however, in the past we have had our own astonishing world champion Akis Kritsinelis who dominated his competitors for years.
Powerball® has been successfully used and loved by a diverse group of individuals for almost two decades. Whether used for rehabilitation, sport, strength, music or gaming etc. Powerball® has changed lives in small or sometimes life changing ways. On a weekly basis we receive feedback on how customers have been allowed to continue their passions they thought were cut short due to pain. Most of our customers should be aware of the benefits of Powerball® (I Hope); however, you may or may not have been aware that we also have had World Record Holders and a long history of competition associated with our products. Since 2003 we have recorded the world’s fastest male and female Powerballers.
In order to understand how the Powerballs league came about I interviewed CEO Rory Mcloughney to explain the origins.
What is this Plastic Ball?
‘At first we were targeting Powerball as a sport and fitness product, Padraig Harrington endorsed it in 1998 just after he won the world cup of golf. We thought this was the direction to go, however, at first people didn’t take them seriously. A little small plastic ball, no one knew what a hand gyroscope was. We slowly started getting the product out there. The First place to come on board was Firebox.com; it was one of the first Gadget shops online and they started buying more and more and more. We realised then it was also seen as a gadget not just a sports product. As the product allows you hit the ball further and is great for wrist and arm strengthening we sent it to around 100 golf professionals in Ireland. They were either too lazy or didn’t take the product seriously still! However at this point it had really taken off online.’
What is a Good Score?
‘People had started to send in their scores into us. They were emailing saying ‘I got 10,000 is this a good score?’, ‘I got 12,000 is this a good score?’ and so on. We decided to put up a top 100 scoreboard and it grew from there. It took a while to fill the first 100 slots and then it became very popular and for the first six months anyone who got over 14,000RPM’s was a Powerball God!! 14,000 then became nearly the norm to enter the top 100. I think the top 300 hundred positions were all over 14,000 which is seriously hard to do. In the end we had to give a prize for the top score and the highest improver in a month.’
Please put that Drill away!
‘The scores were coming in thick and fast and we had to moderate them eventually. People had to send in videos showing them doing it when they were getting up to the Top 100. People could use Photoshop and people were getting magnets and attaching them to electric drills and spinning it around at high speeds fooling the counter giving them a high score and winning a prize. If you were in contention you had to submit a video showing you doing a score within 5% of what you were submitting. So if you were submitting 16,000 you had to show the score and then video yourself doing a score within 5% which should be no problem as you always get faster.’
World Championship Fever!
‘People were really engaged and this was before Facebook had become what is today and where everyone can just take a video with their camera phone. Maplin sponsored the first Powerball Spin Championships.’
These were held in Kidderminster (UK) in Oct 2007. Competitors and shoppers had a chance to win up to £15,000. A grand prize of £10,000 was offered to anyone who could break the world record with a £5000 prize for the overall winner.
‘We went over to Telford in conjunction with the World Snooker Championships and we had a gathering of Powerball Anoraks and enthusiasts! Akis came over from Greece and there were a couple of other characters as well. Another year Amazon sponsored the World Championships in Manchester in the Trafford centre surrounded by thousands of people on a Saturday afternoon. It was a huge big thing; there was a massive arena in the middle of the shopping centre with a huge big screen. We had the balls connected to a computer so we could see the score live as it was happening. It was really good fun over there.’
‘It then kind of died off a bit as it got too hard for people to get on the boards as the scores were so high for anyone who was starting off. We decided to get rid of the boards but we feel now it is the time to bring them back. We have to have a think about the best way to do it but they will be back. New and Improved! We might have an apocalyptic type restart where the boards are back to zero. Hopefully we’ll get some new people and some of the old competitors will come back.’
No Hulk’s necessary!
‘While it is a rehabilitation or sports product people still want to see how they compare to others. It’s not advisable for people who have bad wrists or who are in rehab to be competing obviously! But if you have strong wrists with good fast twist muscles, with a bit of training for a while with a Powerball you can get a good score. You do not need to be some sort of serious body builder to compete.’
Being hulk however would probably help!
‘When Akis started off he was able to get around 13,000. Over the years he managed to get this up to an astonishing 17,000RPM’s. ‘
For the uninitiated Powerballer who can’t imagine what 17,000RPM’s inside your hand feels like what is the equivalent?
‘It’s like having a Ferrari engine inside your hand or having a Formula one engine inside a tennis ball spinning at 283 revolutions a second powered by your hand. There’s a lot going on in there basically! Only Akis can answer that question.’
As you can see from our Powerball top ten competitors they come from different countries and have very varied interests from harpoon gunning to extreme mouse clicking and everything in between.
Male Powerball Record Holders
The Male record set by our very own World Champion Akis Kritsinelis (Greece) at an unbelievable 17,015 RPM’s. If you want to watch what it takes to get a Powerball to that speed watch the world record been broken in the video below.
Our Female Champion Nadine De Fortier (South Africa) set the female record at a sensational 13,491.
Female Powerball Record Holders
Thanks for reading a short history of how the Power Leagues came about and keep an eye out for their return and join our varied lists of competitors!