Freestyle is one of the events in the Hyperflite Skyhoundz Classic Championships (Local Championships, State Championships, Classic Open Qualifiers, Classic International Qualifiers, Classic European Championship, and the Classic World Championship). Freestyle is also one of the events in the Hyperflite Skyhoundz DiscDogathon Qualifiers, DiscDogathon International Qualifiers, DiscDogathon European Championship, and the DiscDogathon World Championship.
To get an idea of what Freestyle is all about, the video shown below is one of the top performances from the '10 Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship. Chris Perondi & Flashy Ferrari scored 38 out of a possible 40 points in this Freestyle round.
Pairs Freestyle is one of the events in the Hyperflite Skyhoundz Classic Championships (Classic Open Qualifiers, Classic International Qualifiers, Classic European Championship, and the Classic World Championship).
As the name implies, Pairs Freestyle is essentially choreographed Freestyle employing two throwers and one canine.
With the safety of the canine always in mind, Pairs Freestyle teams demonstrate interesting variations on multiples, simultaneous throws, cross-feeding (i.e., alternating) throws to a canine, etc. Always exciting to watch, Pairs Freestyle offers endless possibilities for innovation and teamwork and doubles the fun for competing canines.
We believe that Pairs Freestyle is safer than an event in which two teams, each with a canine, are simultaneously working on a field. It has been our experience that canines, especially in the hands of inexperienced novice teams, are injured this way in greater frequency than in any other disc related activity. With Pairs Freestyle, the possibility of a canine-to-canine entanglement is eliminated.
That said, even though an additional thrower is involved, Pairs Freestyle routines should feature the substantial involvement of the canine. In other words, the judges are looking for routines that aren’t merely human Freestyle routines with an occasional throw to the canine team member.
Throwing from human-to-human, though regarded as a transfer, could potentially impact the various applicable scoring categories. In other words, if a transfer is executed cleanly and adds to the routine, it could positively impact a team’s score. A miss might have the opposite impact. Although transfers not involving the competing canine certainly could be an interesting and exciting component of a pairs routine, human-to-human throwing interaction should be balanced so as to highlight the significant involvement of the canine. Always, the emphasis will be on the canine.
Skyhoundz has selected Hyperflite flying discs as the official flying discs of Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship Series. As such, at all Skyhoundz competitions (including, but not limited to, Local Championships, State Championships, DiscDogathon Qualifiers, Skyhoundz Classic Qualifiers, Xtreme Distance Qualifiers, DiscDogathon World Championship, Skyhoundz Classic World Championship, and Xtreme Distance World Championship), competitors are required to use Hyperflite discs.
MicroDog Division competitors must use the Hyperflite Competition Standard Pup, FrostBite Pup, SofFlite Pup disc, Jawz Pup, or Jawz HyperFlex Pup discs.
Competitors who bring their own music should present it to contest officials when called to the on-deck area. Music should be on a CD that is marked with the competitor’s name and desired track number. This information should also be noted on the outside of the CD case. Some competition hosts will also accept music on phones, tablets, and thumb drives. Check with the competition host in advance to avoid disappointment. The sound system operator should briefly test the music (to make sure it plays Ok and is the correct song) while the judges are scoring the last dog.
Competitors, in the on-deck area, should let the sound system operator know when to start playing the music. A team can choose for music to commence as the team enters the field, or when a signal is given by the team while on the field, in the discretion of the competing team. However, once 20 seconds have elapsed from the time in which the competitor enters the field, music and timing will begin automatically.
The Mickey Rule
The Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship Series is family entertainment at its finest. Families with young children attend many Skyhoundz events as competitors and spectators. A Youth Division is now part of the Skyhoundz Series. Accordingly, any musical selection, choreography, or costumes chosen by a competitor, to be used in conjunction with a Skyhoundz Freestyle routine, should be free of offensive, suggestive, or inappropriate language or themes. If you wouldn't expect to see or hear it at Disney World, you shouldn't include it in your routine at a Skyhoundz event. Please note that this rule also applies to international competitors competing with music that is in a language other than that of the Skyhoundz host country.
Competitors are responsible for previewing their music to prevent any inappropriate or profane language (even the milder words) from being played. International competitors competing at the Skyhoundz World Championship, for whom English is not a first language, should have their English-language musical selection previewed by a trusted English-speaking individual to ensure adherence to the requirements of this rule. Please do not assume that song tracks not marked as explicit, if purchased from an online music source, will be acceptable. Listen to your selection carefully. When in doubt, leave it out!
Failure to adhere to the Mickey rule, in the sole discretion of Skyhoundz, will result in administrative actions up to and including immediate disqualification, suspension from future competitions, and/or vacation of any award or qualification slot earned at an event where the competitor's conduct violates the spirit of this rule.
Freestyle is a free-form, choreographed, routine scored by judges using the Skyhoundz PAWS judging system with an emphasis on success, variety, innovation, and the athletic skills of the canine and thrower. Competitors can use up to five discs in their Freestyle routine.
PAWS Freestyle Scoring System
Competing teams will receive scores ranging from 1-10, in half-point increments, for each of the following four categories:
Presentation: The team’s presentation of a crowd-pleasing routine with exciting choreography, continuous flow, good disc management and smooth transitions.
Athleticism: Intensity and athleticism in completing catches, tricks or maneuvers together with a dog’s speed, quickness, leaping ability relative to its size and control over his/her body while competing.
Wow!Factor: Ability to successfully complete challenging tricks or moves, including successful catches of throws with varied spins or releases. Also, the presentation of completely new moves, or a novel or unique presentation of a previously performed move, will result in higher scores in this category.
Success: The team’s ability to successfully execute a routine with specific consideration given for the difficulty of the throws/catches and tricks. A team's overall success score will affect, positively or negatively, the scores in all PAWS categories. In this category, it is entirely possible for a team with a few misses to score higher than a team with no misses if the team having the misses completes a more difficult routine.
In Pairs Freestyle, all the same rules for Freestyle apply with two exceptions. Competitors are allowed up to 10 discs and the category Teamwork (1-10 points) is added to the PAWS Freestyle scoring categories.
Teamwork: Teamwork takes into consideration the relationship, choreography, field use, and fluidity of movement of the team during the routine.
Judges will disregard tricks that do not begin or conclude with a disc in flight except roller throws. Takes — moves in which a disc is handed off to the dog – will not be scored.
Under the Skyhoundz PAWS scoring system, judges will evaluate each team’s ability to cleanly execute a challenging, varied and exciting routine within the time allotted. Although there are specific categories that focus on execution (Success) and difficulty (Wow!Factor), a failure to score well in either of these categories may impact a competitor’s scores in all of the PAWS categories. This is because the judges must account for differences between the routines of the competitors that are competing on a given day.
For example, even if two competitors have perfect rounds they will not necessarily each receive a score of 10 in the Success category. Instead, the more difficult routine will typically receive a higher score in Success than the simpler routine. Similarly, if two competitors have equally difficult rounds, it is likely that the competitor with fewer misses will receive the higher score in the Wow!Factor category.
Vaults, utilizing the trainer’s body as a launch pad, should be minimized or excluded from routines altogether. If attempted, vaults should be performed in a controlled and safe manner. Excessive height, or frequent repetition of vaults, will not increase the likelihood of a higher score. Vaults are not required for success in Hyperflite Skyhoundz competitions. A vault is to be valued no differently than any other trick of similar difficulty. Many World Championship titles have been won with vault-free routines or with vaults minimized.
Judging Consistency and Emergency Substitutions
With respect to the judging of Freestyle and Pairs Freestyle rounds, Skyhoundz Hosts should strive to utilize a separate judge for each Freestyle scoring category whenever possible.
Additionally, the same judging team should judge the same categories for all competitive teams for the entire competition. While substitutions may be made in emergency situations, this should be the exception, rather than the rule.
If there is a tie for first, or second place, the tie will be broken by the following criteria, as necessary: 1) The team with the highest combined scores in the Athleticism and Wow!Factor categories from the Freestyle Round(s), 2) A Snapshot round will take place with each team alternating turns and receiving ten seconds in which to demonstrate their strongest trick or cluster of tricks. Order of competition will be determined by a coin toss. The timekeeper will announce the start of Snapshot when each competitor signals his or her readiness to begin. The judges will then declare a winner based on their impressions of the overall quality of the Snapshot performances.
Freestyle rounds are a maximum of 90 seconds in duration, with a minimum of 60 seconds timed human/canine/disc interaction necessary to be scored in any Skyhoundz competition (Classic, DiscDogathon, Locals, etc.).
Freestyle teams should not enter the field until the judges are ready and are advised by the announcer to take the field. This will allow the previous team to leash the competing canine, collect discs, and depart the competition field, as well as allow judges to complete the scoring process for that team.
Freestyle teams "on-deck" and "in-the-hole” will queue up in the location specified by the competition host and will enter the competition field from the specified location determined by the competition host.
Once the team (human[s] and dog must enter at the same time) enters the field they will have 20 seconds in which to begin their routine or time will begin automatically.
Timing begins when a disc is placed in flight; or the canine attempts to catch or pick-up a disc placed on the ground and makes contact with the disc; or takes the disc from any part of a thrower's or canine's body; or 20 seconds have elapsed, whichever occurs first.
Throwers may use their 20 seconds to set discs out on the field, position a canine for their first throw, or do a pre-routine. Until time begins, any interaction between human and canine will not be judged or scored.
Once the Freestyle team's time has expired, no further throws should be made, and the team should leash the canine team member, rapidly collect their discs, and leave the field via the specified pathway or point of egress determined by the competition host. For safety, competitors are not permitted to throw discs to spectators during, or after, a competitive round.
Countdown of time remaining will be uniform for all competitors: 60 seconds remaining, 30 seconds remaining, 10 seconds remaining, and time! Competitors should keep track of their own time while competing and not rely solely on official time callouts which might be interrupted should technical problems occur.