WFD World's Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming - New Era

New Era

Beginning in 2002 WFD world championships became a biannual affair (winter and summer), and were permanently stationed at National Association of Music Merchants conventions beginning in 2003. With the retirements of Rabb and others from active competition, the sport continued to witness successful runs by New Jersey website personality "Tiger" Bill Meligari and North Carolina percussion instructor Eric Okamoto, who holds 3 World Records in Double Strokes (1744), Paradiddles(1279), and Double Paradiddles (1198). Recent champions include Matt Smith who at 16 became the youngest WFD champion and the harbinger of a new youth movement within the sport, and two bass drum competitors Tim Yeung and Mike "Machine" Mallais. Yeung (a star of metal drumming) was instrumental in popularizing the sport within that genre, while Mallais decimated most of the existing bass drum world records formerly held by Waterson and Mangini at the Winter 2007 world championships. After the retirement of Waterson, Yeung and Mallais helped usher a newfound popularity in the bass drum division.

By every indication, the hands competition becomes more difficult each year, with the best competitors now representing a much younger core demographic. On July, 2007 in Austin, Texas, WFD hands champion Thomas Grosset (age 16) performed 1156 single strokes in 1 minute matched grip, the highest score ever recorded in the final championship round. Grosset's top preliminary run of 1194 made him the new WFD 16 and under World Record Holder and third in the world rankings just behind Afanador. Shortly after losing his 16 and under record, Matt Smith set a new world hands endurance record, and was followed closely by 18 year old Daniel Rice, scoring 1108 in the preliminaries. On June 2008, Smith returned to break Mangini's traditional grip record of 1126, with a score of 1132, leaving the sport almost entirely in the hands of younger competitors. Mangini's former dominance of WFD has recently been deemphasized. Still he holds the single stroke overall hand record, 1203 achieved with matched grip, considered WFD's most coveted accolade.

WFD competitors now exhibit a more international flavor as opposed to what once was an American/Canadian dominance. In 2006 British drummer Rees Bridges became the first European to win a world's title, sparking greater interest in a WFD UK division, managed by drummer entrepreneur Ed Freitas. Later in 2006 WFD staged an elaborate national competition in Australia with smaller events held in Hong Kong and elsewhere, while the first official WFD China Championship is scheduled for 2012. After an extended hiatus WFD Championships returned to NAMM Conventions July 2011 with Australian Joey Moujalli and American Kevin Bernardy taking hands and feet titles respectively.

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