The Evolution of the Flying Disc
Good, Clean, Green Fun.
Moving on from the age of petroleum, the handcrafted Frisboo flying disc is 99% bamboo and biodegradable. Steeped in regenerative philosophy, after three years of R&D we have a mind-blowing innovation that out performs its plastic step-cousin.
I love to play disc. I love to make things. But I am not a fan of plastic. These three play parameters have set me off on a long journey of innovation. For the last few years, I’ve been working with weavers from around South East Asia to create what I feel is the essential evolution of the plastic disc. Currently, we make and sell individual discs, but my grand dream is to take this to the next level, of mandalic collaboration: an open source, organic disc that anyone can make anywhere. We are on the way!
Two to three times a week I am throwing a disc around with my friends, so you can bet I’ve worked hard on the Frisboos aerodynamics. After tons of testing and refinement the discs fly beautifully and last long. Because of bamboo’s texture, the grip is better than plastic– your throws are more accurate and consistent. Because the disc is less rigid than plastic, it is more friendly to catch. Because of the whiffles in the weave, the disc hangs and floats longer in the air than plastic. And because they are organic, they fit back into the cycles of life than a dead-end plastic disc could ever dream!
There are three inadvertent consequences of plastic discs: One, countless used and discarded plastic discs that become pollution. Second, the continued use of plastic discs encourages the unconscious consumption and continuation of other disposable plastic products. Third, since the plastic disc paradigm originates in the affluent eras of petroleum cultures, the paradigm has not clicked in with other cultures and regions around the world. In humbler areas of the world the plastic disc has remained a prohibitively expensive product reserved for tourists on the beach. Disc sports haven’t caught on, while football, baseball, and cricket (all played with wooden or leather accessories) have thrived. The Frisboo would remedy this– enabling enthusiasts to create their own disc from bamboo and from a standardized and optimized design that is available online to anyone anywhere.
Players of frisbee and disc sports tend to be liberal, open minded and environmental enthusiasts. Paradoxically, this demographic is conscious of the problem of plastic pollution (which all Frisbees eventually become) more than any other. Our field tests (literally) have shown a remarkable emotional enthusiasm to the core concept of the Frisboo.
The inspiration for the development of the Frisboo begins when I was living in the Northern Philippines, in a small village, far from the city, and far from any sport shops. My friend Shane, had made the long journey up from Manila to Sagada, and had gifted me with his MEC frisbee. I am a great lover of playing disc, so it quickly became one of my prized possessions. I would play every Sunday with my friends on one of the few flat fields near St. Mary’s school.
Then, one fateful evening, I set about making popcorn. As the kernels started to pop, I looked around in panic for the lid to his frying pan. All I could see near me was the plastic frisbee– which at first glance seemed to be the perfect size to cover the now frantically popping kernels. Then, in a cloud of melting plastic fumes, I was hit by a profound realization…
Staring at my half melted disk, I also realized, there was no place to discard a trashed frisbee in the remote mountain village where I was living. In my small rural community there are no recycling facilities or trash collectors. Here, there were no illusions of where the plastic would have to go– back into our environment. In my village waste was either burned or dumped in the river. I have since come to realize that whether you live in a city or in a village, the reality for plastic disposal is shrouded in various levels of illusions. Whether it’s recycled a few times or dumped in a “waste disposal site”, that means inevitably it headed to the rivers, fields, forests and oceans.
Frisbees are fantastic fun. Alas, frisbees are made from plastic. There is no getting around it: Plastic is going to last a lot longer than our fun.
I was deeply inspired by the Igorot culture of the community where I was living. The Igorot people of the Northern Philippines, one of the few unconquered indigenous people on the planet, have been living in deep harmony with their environment for centuries. After harvesting the rice from the myriad of green terraces surrounding their villages, they would use a thin basket to shake off the husks from their rice.
My beloved frisbee destroyed, I noticed how the amazing rice-winnower weaving tradition of the Igorots shared a remarkable resemblance to my dead disc. Profoundly excited at the potential of crafting a truly organic frisbee, I set to work with weavers in several villages, working in various styles, to develop the prototype woven frisbees featured here.
The Frisboo journey had begun! I could see it! A flying disc made from woven bamboo. A disc that flew so well that it was on the same level as plastic. A disc, that one day, would be straightforward to weave– so that it’s open source design could be copied and improved around the world. I sought out the remaining weavers in the villages around me. Often that meant biking up mountain tops to find them. To start I would bring them my destroyed plastic disc and they would copy it. Soon, the prototypes were flying so good, it was about improving the design.
That journey continues to this day…
My Blog Posts on Frisboos
Introducing the Frisoo
Inspired by the ancestral weaving traditions of the Igorots in the Cordilleras of the Philippines, the resilient design endures play in sun, sleet and snow. And, it throws and catches even better than plastic! The wiffles of the weave allow it to hang longer. The organic texture is more friendly to grip. The flexible structure makes catches softer. Your throws just naturally fly better. Whether you take it to the beach or the field, the Frisboo is a blast for beginners and guaranteed to amaze the pros